This was a big project collaborating with Andrew and Sue Deakin from FON (Full of Noises) and John Hall. Based around the oral history of locals we created a week long People's Pop-Up Museum installation on and about Duke Street in Barrow and ended up welcoming and chatting to 1908 visitors!
The stories recorded coalesed around the Old Barrow Museum, the Public Hall and Pass's Department Store. Our aim was to recreate a curiousity shop with the feeling of the old museum, jam-packed with collections, art installations and memories.
We worked with Charlotte Hawley from the Dock Museum to bring treasured items from storage, including "THE MOOSE", Blackshaw's Bear, the Penny Fathing and 100 year old taxidermy birds.
The aim was to promote engagement in local social history through shared recollections and conversations, and to open a discussion about the future of the street and the role of artists, museums and the wider community in deciding what that future should be.
And boy oh boy was it popular!
We met and chatted with nearly 2000 people over the week, heard so many stories, saw people's collections, and found out for sure that this type of thing is needed and wanted in Barrow.
We were on all on hand throughout the exhibition week, which meant we could talk with our visitors, and listen to their stories, comments and suggestions. We made it clear that photography, chat, and handling of many exhibits was part of the experience, and this, along with the enthusiasm and energy of our visitors, created a warm and inclusive atmosphere from the moment we opened the doors.
Common suggestions were "Make this permanent" and "Find a bigger space." We could argue in favour and against both. A rolling exhibition in a permanent site could work well and following on from the success of this week Charlotte's keen to do something along these lines.