Green River, Utah
October 22-November 22, 2015
Host: Epicenter (as part of a Frontier Fellowship)
Additional sites: Pirate's Den Teen Center, Green River High School, Pyramid Youth Programs
This month, as part of a Frontier Fellowship at Epicenter, I took a break from collecting and exhibiting to do three programs with Green River Youth. On October 22 I set up at the Pirate's Den Teen Center for their Lights On night. A few of the kids jumped in as my security guards and docents, running the show for the night.
I led a four day creative writing and storytelling workshop at Green River High School, working with Mr. Gowan's 11th and 12th grade Language Arts classes. The workshop, called "A life in Objects: Creating fiction from fact with the help of an unusual museum collection," used the MMoAA collection to inspire creative writing prompts and create conversation about the elements of good storytelling. For their final assignment, students wrote fictional stories about some of the objects in the museum collection—the collection of flip phones, the lye soap, the Pool Boys, the melted glasses, and the lead. They didn't learn the true stories behind these artifacts until the final day of class, when for each object we read the aloud the fictional stories along with the true story, voting on which we believed to be real. For four out of six objects, students voted on one of their classmates stories rather than the true story as the most convincing. We discussed what makes a story convincing, what we expect in a story attached to an object in a museum, and how to create persuasive, descriptive writing and stories.
Pyramid Youth Programs hosted me for another two part workshop, this time with younger kids, age 6-9. Kids explored the mobile museum and then brought objects from home to create their own museum exhibit.
Thanks so much to Epicenter, Green River High School, and Pyramid Youth Programs.
October 17, 2015
Host: San Luis Valley Museum, with support from the San Luis Valley Museum Association and Colorado Creative Industries
Press: Pueblo Chieftan, October 22, 2015, "Yale grad finds amazing stories in ordinary objects"
Artifact Donations: 4 (handmade marble, South African police ID, drought figurine, love story)
October 14, 2015
Host: University of Colorado Boulder Art & Art History Department, with support from Colorado Creative Industries
Artifact Donations: 6 (physical memory, painted slides, lottery ticket, japanese good luck charm, Snowwhite memorial card, fish token)
October 13, 2015
Host: Byers General Store, with support from Colorado Creative Industries and help from M12 Collective
Press: Eastern Colorado News, November 13, 2015 "Museum of the present features personal items, their tales"
Artifact Donations: 3 (bullet casing, squirt gun, juice bottle)
October 10, 2015
Host: Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, with support from Colorado Creative Industries
Press: Westword, October 12, 2015, "Laurelin Kruse's Moving Collection of Artifacts Comes to Colorado"
Artifact Donations: 1 (paper bracelet with tape)
August 28-September 28, 2015
Sites: Rocky Neck Parking Lot, Fishermen's Memorial, Good Harbor Beach, Halibut Point State Park, Main Street, Lanesville Community Center for the Mayoral Debate, Cape Ann Farmer's Market
Press: Gloucester Times, September 11, 2015 "'Cabinet of curiosities': Rocky Neck playing home to traveling mini-museum"
Gloucester Times, September 11, 2015 "The Mobile Museum of American Artifacts Visits Gloucester" (video)
I spent a month at the Rocky Neck Art Colony for the Goetemann Artist Residency, arriving with few plans and little knowledge of the area. I spent the first two weeks distracted by the smell of the sea, going for long walks, worrying that no one would donate, and slowly meeting people. Then, halfway into the residency, one thing quickly spiraled to the next - I parked the MMoAA at Good Harbor Beach at sunrise, attracting over 90 visitors and five artifact donations (wax balls, a blown fuse, copy editing pencils, a silver quarter, arrowheads). The former president of the Lanesville Community Center stopped in while on his morning beach walk, and invited me to park at the Community Center for the mayoral debates the following Tuesday. And so it continued—people left artifacts on my car, showed up at my apartment door with an object in hand, found me walking on the street and delivered an artifact promised to me days prior. I parked at the Cape Ann Farmer's Market, the Fishermen's Memorial, and Halibut Point State Park. The museum spent a total of seven days out around town. The rest of the time, I researched and wrote while the museum rested in the Rocky Neck Parking lot and came to be a landmark for locals over the course of the month. MMoAA's time in Gloucester culminated in a closing talk and exhibit of the 21 artifacts and stories collected there. "Where is the museum??" I overheard a Rocky Neck resident ask her neighbor, just moments after I shipped it off to Colorado (its next stop) on an eighteen wheeler.
Artifact Donations: 21 (Painting in Gloucester, 1999, Silver Quarter, Blown Fuse, Soft-Lead "Copy" Pencils, Wax Balls, Eastern Woodland Arrowheads, Schooner Jib Hank, $1.91, Glass Bottle Caught at Sea, Leather Sachet, English Bookshop Ball Point Pen, Eye Splice with Thimble, Pink Velvet Wallpaper, T-Shirt with Encoded Message, Buffalo Shoulder Bone, Association Coin, Pipe Planters, Bandana, Spinning Top, Wooden Toy)
June 20, 2015
Sites: Union Square Farmer's Market, Davis Square Theater
Press: New England Media & Memory Coalition, September 21, 2015 "Ghost in the Artifact: Object Oriented Histories and the Archaeology of the Present"
MMoAA spent a few hours at the Union Square Farmer's Market and then moved to the Davis Square Theater for the SCATV Community Vault program.
Artifact Donations: 1
Providence, Rhode Island
May 11-16, 2015
Host: John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities at Brown University
MMoAA collaborated with four graduate students through the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities to do a week-long residency throughout Providence. Graduate students included Bárbara Elmudesi, MA Candidate Public Humanities '16, Caroline Stevens, MA Candidate Public Humanities '16, Kathleen Haughey, PhD Candidate Ethnomusicology ‘18, and Nico Larrondo, MA Candidate Public Humanities ‘16.