Author Archive

I now think postcards are cool.

July 22, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve been here! Today marked the opening of the “Mailed from Maine: Vintage Postcards from the Kennebunks” exhibit. I’ve been working non-stop on this for about three weeks now, and not only do I know a whole lot more about the history of postcards, but I’m proud of how it turned out. Today was also the test run of how it actually looked to visitors, as an ElderHostel group tried out the interactives (and were also most interested in finding the bathrooms…).

The museum director, Tracy Baetz, gave me the chance to lead this exhibit. I chose the postcards; rearranged the gallery; took down the previous exhibit; researched postcard history; wrote labels and designed them; printed them all out and mounted them on mat board and then hung them; chose to enlarge certain graphics; figured out how to hang incredibly heavy double mat board with fishing line (the word here is frustration); built two interactive elements; and wrote the press release to the local newspapers about the exhibit. Today I had an interview with a writer for the Biddeford Journal-Tribune.

The interactives for the exhibit tests visitors’ knowledge of what they learned about postcard history by asking them to inspect a collection of six postcards and put them in order by print date; I developed an answer key that’s interactive in itself, three flip cards with mini- images of each postcard sits beside the timeline. The other interactive allows visitors to “pluck” postcards from a nest (because we’re suggesting that postcards were the early version of Twitter) and try their hand at reading the messages on the back of each postcard. No one panick! These postcards aren’t real – we’ve produced hi-resolution scans of every postcard (front and back) and laminated them. I think this interactive is great because it shows that this exhibit isn’t just about the decoration on the postcards…it’s about what’s on the back, and what people were saying.

The real adventure took place a couple days ago whilst hanging a seven foot strip of vinyl lettering for the title of the exhibit. It seems that it could be simple, but as I’ve learned, it’s not. It looks great after the fact though! To add another of the five senses to the exhibit (instead of just sight), a loop of big band swing music is playing throughout the room and really infuses a sense of fun into the exhibit. I’m loving my job here and appreciate all the experience the staff is giving me!

The vinyl lettering after about an hour of applying it. I chose this font because it mirrors font on the backs of many postcards.

The vinyl lettering after about an hour of applying it. I chose this font because it mirrors font on the backs of many postcards.

Cheers!

Up in the attic with George Bush

June 4, 2009

Greetings from Kennebunk! Upon arrival at the Brick Store Museum, I was immediately given my first exhibit to research and install…an 85th birthday “salute” to George H.W. Bush. The Bushes are patrons of the museum and live up the road in Kennebunkport during the summer. So, with my desk up in the attic collections area, I got started looking through the massive amount of presidential memorabilia to research: campaign pins, family photos, toys, even George and Barbara slippers (which are decidedly ruled OUT of the exhibit). I’ve had to get in contact with the Bush Library in TX as well as the collector who donated most of the Bush memorabilia. It’s pretty interesting, actually! A reporter from the local newspaper will be visiting tomorrow to write an article on the upcoming exhibit, which is kind of exciting! The only problem is that I have do get everything finished and mounted by next Friday, Bush’s birthday. So we’ll see what I can do there. Trying to make this exhibit about a former president “not political,” because the previous exhibit on Bush at the Brick Store inspired a few visitors to demand their money back due to political disagreement. So there’s plenty of work to do.

As for the rest of the summer, I’m looking forward to it. My boss, the director, just started at this museum four or five years ago, and is doing an amazing job getting it completely renovated(hammers and nails are flying everywhere) and has gotten the museum really invested in the community. The museum itself is comprised of four separate buildings that are connected, named for the first building of the row, the Brick Store of 1825…kept as a museum by Edith Barry, for which my internship is named. More exhibits I’ll work on include quilts, trolleys, historic district celebration, and postcards. Hopefully it will be busy!

As for being here in Maine, I’m glad to be back! Luckily I was here at the end of May, because my golden retriever Dino passed away a few days ago and I was glad to be with him before that happened. Also, beautiful beaches abound! I don’t believe I’ll see the light of day between the museum and restaurant work, but…

Until next time – Vote for Bush/Quayle in ’88.