Science Snapshot: Artifact Experiences

Recently I proposed, planned, and implemented a new visitor experience program at the museum, “Artifact Experiences.” In an effort to interpret our collection (of +1,500 objects!), “Artifact Experiences” seeks to curate temporary, facilitated displays of artifacts from the museum’s collection that connect with a temporary exhibition, special event, or program. Since becoming a more hands-on science center, the museum’s collection is largely otherwise uninterpreted to the public. Combining my museum collections and education background, this program seeks to safely and carefully interpret the collection as appropriate. I created temporary object labels to specifically connect with the new exhibit, Tech City. I also placed the objects on muslin cloth during their temporary display. 

At all times carefully facilitated by museum staff, interested visitors had the opportunity to don gloves for a careful hands-on exploration. I also provided mini-magnifying glasses for curious eyes to get a closer inspection. The display offered visitors an entirely new opportunity to connect with the museum’s collection and mission, and I had a lot of great questions and enthusiasm from visitors. 

This Friday, February 7th I kicked off the new program with a small display connecting to the new exhibtion in our WOW Gallery, Tech City. Focused on themes of industrialization, manufacturing, and communication (all key elements to a modern city, eh?), the temporary display highlighted a small sample of our truly awesome collection. 

Curated pieces included: 

  • An Automatic Fire Alarm Repeater (c.1899) 

  • Hallicrafters Model 505 Television (1948) 

  • Wooden Planer (c. 1850) 

  • Dalton Adding Machine (1912) 

    Image

    An Artifact Experience

     

    Any suggestions for this program as it continues to grow and evolve? I’m eager to continue to safely highlight our collection while continuing best practices. 

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2 thoughts on “Science Snapshot: Artifact Experiences

  1. Mary Anderson says:

    Amazed that a Hallicrafters TV is in a museum! I didn’t learn to read until 1956 or so and remember that one of the first words I sounded out was ‘hallicrafters’ from the front of our TV. Saw it up close every time I turned the channel dial, remotes not invented yet, or certainly not common if they were. My sister and I used to get yelled at for turning the channel dial too fast, Dad said we were going to break it.

    • samantha says:

      Weird, right? Legend has it that this 1948 model is one of the first television sets that Little Rock families saw the Memphis news on. Was your screen a bit larger than this 7″? The dials on this model are still pretty intact – though I guarded them carefully from enthusiastic visitors… : )

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