At my first stop at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, I was faced with a historical marker at the entrance to the parking lot. A unexpected location but far more accessible than on the side of a busy highway. All of the recent conversations about decolonization has me always take a closer look at these markers but more interestingly, I’ve encountered several different types of markers so far on my road trip that have me thinking more about their value, veracity, authenticity, and permanence by being “cast in bronze”.
As you’ll see, location matters as much as the text. Some are intentional efforts to deceive, some are not. Some are historical, some artistic, some a bit of both. They are all designed to be inspirational, some more deeply than others. Do any of them matter? Do they have any impact? What do you think?
San Diego’s Comic-Con, the international conference “dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular artforms,” has morphed into one of the biggest events in the nation with attendance topping 130,000 people. It’s also spawned local versions around the country, including Indianapolis at the end of this month.
The Indiana Historical Society has cleverly combined its mission to connect “people to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing the state’s history” with the interests of the Comic Con audience by creating “Comic CONservation.” Participants will “learn how professionals use science and technology to restore and care for comic books” plus they get to play vintage arcade games and see original Ray Bradbury cover art from the nearby Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI. Wow! IHS collections consists primarily of documents and photographs, plus they have a team of conservators working in a state-of-the-art paper conservation lab (The forceps are strong with this one), so they are drawing on their strengths to reach a new audience. Can’t wait to hear how this turns out (especially if people can dress as their favorite comic book character!).
Do you have a clever idea for using conservation or preservation to reach a new audience? Please share it in the comments below.
While I’m in Indianapolis for the Seminar for Historical Administration, I had a chance to view the “The Power of Poison“, a traveling exhibition at the Indiana State Museum. Organized by the American Museum of Natural History, it includes a wide variety of exhibition techniques but one I’ve never seen before is a “Harry Potter”-style interactive book that features moving images activated by touch as well as pages that can be turned. It’s best explained in a short video, so watch as these two girls look at the book to see what happens (and whose father told me it was their fourth visit to the exhibition).
The Indiana Historical Society recently produced History is Essential, a 5:08 video that explains the value of history through interviews with teachers, business CEOs, and community leaders intercut with historic photos and films. Thanks to John Herbst, President and CEO at the Indiana Historical Society, for sharing this at the recent History Relevance Campaign workshop in Washington, DC.
Indiana Landmarks‘ “Moveable Feasts” are three summer evening events that each feature a different place in Indiana through a multi-course progressive dinner at several historic sites, along with walking tours, presentations, and films. This 2:00 video provides an overview of the June 13, 2014 Moveable Feast in Aurora, Indiana on the banks of the Ohio River. Cost is $50; $45 for members.
Ronald Mack. Photo courtesy of Indiana Plein Air Painters Association.
Indiana Landmarks, one of the most active statewide historic preservation organizations in the nation, has an innovative program that brings together local artists and historic sites. To preserve the tradition of plein air painting and focus artists on capturing historic places, Indiana Landmarks is partnering with the Indiana Plein Air Painters Association (IPAPA) on the third volume of the coffee-table book series, Painting Indiana.
“Plein air painting is an important tradition, famously practiced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by T. C. Steele, William Forsyth, Ottis Adams and other noted Hoosier artists,” says Indiana Landmarks’ president Marsh Davis. “When places are captured in paintings, it increases the public’s Continue reading →