The Pop-Up Museum
Topic: Culture Subtopic: General
of an Exhibit
Published on June 20, 2012
Museum: Michelle DelCarlo, University of Washington Focus: Culture
People who worked on this: Ken Smith, Kris Morrissey
My role: I direct The Pop-Up Museum from Seattle, Washington.
Description and goals
The concept of The Pop-Up Museum is that, based on a theme, people are invited to exhibit their own objects and share their own stories. It is a traveling community event, the goal being to create conversation between people of all ages and walks of life. At each pop-up, participants write labels for their objects and then bring these objects home with them at the end of the day. Pop-ups last for approximately 1-2 hours at a time, and have been held in libraries, museums, university classrooms, and other non-museum locales. I started experimenting with this participatory pop-up museum model in March 2011. Since then, I have partnered with wonderful organizations and have inspired other museums to hold their own pop-ups.
As part of my Museology graduate program, I conducted research on pop-ups. Specifically, I looked at what social interactions are occurring at pop-ups, with the idea to examine the implications of conversations. Results of the study suggest that participants at pop-ups have conversations with each other that are based on objects, through facilitation, and being in the pop-up space. Results also suggest that participants learn more about one another and meet new people. Furthermore, results suggest that participants feel a sense of community with one another after attending pop-ups. This data indicates that The Pop-Up Museum concept is a model of creating conversation between visitors for those museums that desire to do so.
The full thesis project report is attached to this case study. I encourage you to read about how I view conversation and the in-depth interviews I conducted with pop-up participants. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments.
Exhibit Opened: January 2012
Location: Seattle, WA, United States
Estimated Cost: Less than $5,000 (US)
DelCarlo_ThesisProject_2012.pdf (PDF, 276.7 KB)