Pop Up for Preservation
Our C2C team recently coordinated a very successful and simple public program that any of you can R & D (rip off and duplicate) for your own heritage organization. In partnership with the Mecklenburg Historical Association, we hosted a “Pop-Up Museum of Damaged Treasures.” We’ve written about the potential of pop-ups and public programs on preservation before, and the enthusiastic participation at this event supports our previous contention that these events can be good ways to engage audiences.
Eighteen people participated in the program and populated the “museum” with 26 objects. Supply needs for hosting were minimal (tables for display + card stock and pencils for label-making) and directions for participants were easy to understand. Prior announcements emphasized that contributing to the pop-up museum was an optional part of the program and that attendees could participate without contributing. We invited those who wanted to contribute to follow a few simple steps:
- Find a family treasure in your house that shows signs of damage.
- Bring it to the location of the program.
- Use provided supplies (card stock to fold in tent form & pencils) to make a brief label for your object.
- View other contributions to the museum and learn more about what we can do to protect family treasures.
- Bring your object home with you at the end of the program.
The overall topic of preservation was an accessible theme for a pop-up museum. Most of us have objects at home that show some kind of damage. The trick is identifying the cause(s) of the damage, and that exercise encouraged participants to look more closely at each object in the pop-up museum and learn more. A brief slide presentation on 6 preservation dangers before the group activity helped give audience members specific information about each. Next, they paired off and had 2 objects to analyze and identify the causes of damage. When they decided, they left a small graphic representing each cause near the object. The six shown in this post are the ones we selected to print in grayscale for the activity. The group as a whole discussed each object together and often the owner/contributor chimed in with additional comments about provenance. One measure of the program’s success was that at the end of the allotted time, when the presenter suggested wrapping up, many participants insisted on staying and completing the object-by-object discussion.
Could this program work at your institution? Let us know if you try it or have other ideas to engage audiences with preservation.
Image credits for preservation danger icons:
- Light: http://eofdreams.com/photo/sun/05/
- Temperature: http://envirodailyadvisor.blr.com/2013/05/tips-for-safe-mercury-cleanup/
- Relative Humidity: this graphic and links to many other great preservation resources can be found here: http://ccaha.org/publications/technical-bulletins
- People: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand
- Pests: http://www.phillipspestmanagement.co.uk/domesticpests.html
- Pollutants: http://www.sciencescene.com/Environmental%20Science/05Atmosphere&Climate/SUPPORT/05_primary_pollutants.htm
Posted on April 22, 2014, in Connecting to Collections, Exhibitions, public programs, workshops and tagged Agents of Deterioration, Mecklenburg Historical Association. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.