When I speak with people about The Pop-Up Museum concept, I'm often asked why I'm so concerned with conversation. Why the heck do I care so much about getting people to talk to and listen to one another?
I guess it's not so much that I'm obsessed with introducing people and making connections, although I am convinced of the social value of that pursuit. I think it's more that I see how easy it is to amplify the natural human tendency to share stories.
Storytelling was the theme of this year's American Alliance of Museums' (AAM) Annual Meeting in Baltimore. As an Emerging Museum Professional Fellow last year, I was pretty bowled over by the whole Annual Meeting. This year, it was really great to observe more deeply and engage on another level.
I loved the structure they build in the registration area, which welcomed people to share their favorite museum experience in six words.
This actually reminded me of an experience I had in Fall 2012, which I've been meaning to write about for quite some time. I had just moved to DC, and as it happened, my grandfather's military reunion was in Baltimore, so I travelled to join in and visit. As a World War II vetern, my gramps is part of a tight-knit community, including his own unit and their families. When I walked into the reunion room, I was floored to see a pop-up museum style table full of memories on display.
Reunion attendees would talk over and talk about their friends who had passed, and shared stories about their previous reunions and their time together serving in the Pacific. I was particularly happy to share time with these men, and to hear stories of what my gramps was like when he was a young man.
|Talking with gentlemen of the Seahorse Marines - quite characters!|
I guess what this shows to me is that inside of museums and outside of museums, people are human beings who desire connection through stories. Let's support and amplify this. Let's create experiences where people can pull from history, art, objects, and activities to allow them to express who their are and share their perspectives. In this way, we're helping create meaningful, memorable experiences that people will treasure.