Thursday, 13 November 2014

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE ON HOW TO CREATE A POP UP MUSEUM

MUSEUM INNOVATIONS

BY: JAIME CLIFTON-ROSS

Museum studies courses at the iSchool often explore the many forms in which museums take shape. Whether they’re traditional history museums—filled with pristine displays of artefacts and labels—or hands-on science centres loaded with 3D printers or Raspberry Pi’s, museums come in many shapes and sizes. One phenomenon sweeping the cultural sector is the POP UP MUSEUM! Sounds fun, huh?! But they’re more than just temporary displays of objects stationed outside museum walls. They’re fully realized participatory museums!

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & Design Pop Up Museum Label
Santa Cruz Museum of Art & Design Pop Up Museum Label from Organizer's Kit 

The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH), home of our beloved Nina Simon, created a wonderful step-by-step guide on how to plan your very own pop-up museum! This delightfully innovative concept invites the public to share their treasures in thematic temporary exhibitions that pop-up in random locales—including libraries, medical centres, harbour fronts, restaurants, shops, community centres, and even in the streets.


THE MAH’s HOW TO MAKE A POP MUSEUM: AN ORGANIZERS KIT, in a nutshell

* They've included detailed instructions as well as free labels and signs in this comprehensive document

1. CHOOSE A THEME:
Whose your audience?
Does the theme prompt a story?
Can you think of an object to bring?
Is it exciting? 

2. CHOOSE A TIME, DATE, AND LOCATION: 
Public or private space? Will be stumble upon it?
Whose in charge of the site?
Is it wheelchair accessible?
Will weather be a factor?
Can you set-up food, tables, and chairs?
Can you play music? 

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History Pop Up Museum Label
Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History Pop Up Museum Label from Organizer's Kit

3. WORK WITH COLLABORATORS:
Invite an organization to collaborate!

4. INVITE THE PEOPLE:
Share on social media
Advertise through museum website and newsletter
Contact your local press
Distribute flyers and signs
Tell your friends!


5. SET-UP: (Include the following):
Folding Tables & Chairs
Pop Up Tent
Tablecloths
Blank Labels
Pens & Pencils
Welcome and Instruction Sign
Share Some Sample Objects
Frames or Pedestals 

Pop Up Museum; Chinatown is in the Heart; Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History Pop Up Museum
Pop Up Museum; Chinatown is in the Heart; Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History 
6. FACILITATION:
Be ready to answer questions and explain the concept

7. TAKE PICTURES

8. TAKE NOTES

9. EVALUATE
How did it go?
Did it work well?
What could be improved?
Did participants enjoy themselves?

10. SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE
Through Social Media
Spread the Word
On the Pop Up Museum Website


Check out this archive of delightful pop up museums collaboratively organized by the MAH.

Pop Up Museum with the Santa Cruz Public Library
Pop Up Museum with the Santa Cruz Public Library

In sharing, exploring, and interpreting personal treasures, Pop Up Museums encourage communities to collaboratively explore their histories. Its thematic framework not only fosters spontaneous encounters between strangers, but also stimulates meaningful conversations and shares the cultural agency of museums with participants. Is this not what most museums are striving to achieve?!

If you would like to participate in a Toronto Pop Up Museum, here’s your chance! Historica Canada, The City of Toronto, York University, and the Multicultural History Society of Ontario are hosting two Pop Up Museum's for the “Toronto’s Great War Attic” project this week.  For more information, visit the City of Toronto's program page.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a fun idea! I love how the Santa Cruz MAH lays out the process in a step-by-step guide, which makes participation both easy and enticing.

    For whatever reason, when I read this post I kept thinking about how my sister and I used to make "pop-up" lemonade stands when we were kids. We didn't have to be entrepreneurs or know anything about business to do it, yet it felt somehow like we were taking part in something -- perhaps in our neighbourhood, in the greater lemonade industry, or just as a rite of passage for kids everywhere. (Who didn't go through childhood without making a lemonade stand?) In some ways the pop-up museum is similar: you don't have to be a museum curator to create something engaging, that simultaneously will spark the curiosity and engagement of others and be an "institution" (albeit brief) within a community. Great idea to feature this phenomenon!

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