Saturday, June 19, 2021

Thanks Dad! (Connecting Childhood Memories to Adult Careers)


Father's Day is a meaningful day for me, not only because I have four great kids, but because it gives me time to think about my father, Orlando Orselli, who died in 2001.  My dad certainly helped set many of my ideas about work and parenthood, and I'm thankful for that.

My dad worked most of his adult life for The Ford Motor Company, first at the Rouge Plant, and then at the World Headquarters building (The "Glass House") in Dearborn, Michigan.  He was a Stationary Steam Engineer, which basically means he worked with BIG boiler systems.

Even though he didn't go to college, my dad instilled a love for books and learning, and the importance of education, upon myself and my two younger brothers while we were growing up in Detroit.

Because he worked the midnight shift, he made time to go on school (or scout or Boys Club) field trips during the day and then take a nap before he would drive to work later that night. He thought it was important that my brothers and I helped him fix things around the house and knew the names and uses of the tools in his basement "workshop".

When people ask me how I got into the museum business, I am sure memories of the day when my father took me when I was little (by myself, without my mom and brothers, for some reason) to Detroit's "Cultural Center" to visit the Historical Museum (the streets of "Old Detroit"!) and the Children's Museum (things I could touch!) and the Institute of Arts (Mummies!) all in one long afternoon may have something to do with it.  Many, many family trips involved museums, or zoos, or nature centers.

Even though my career choice in museums might have puzzled my father a little bit, he always told me, and other people, how proud he was of the work I was doing.

Please never underestimate how important museums can be to people, especially kids and the adults they will become.

Thanks Dad!


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Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

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Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Exhibit Cheapbooks are now FREE!



The four Exhibit Cheapbooks are now available for FREE online!  

That's right -- nearly 100 free exhibit "recipes" contributed by museum colleagues from all over the world are now available to download as PDFs from the POW! website.  (Did I mention that they're FREE?)

A little history --the idea for the Exhibit Cheapbooks started during sessions at the annual Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) Conference with the purpose of sharing "cheap" exhibit ideas and creating a written record of how to replicate these simple and successful exhibit components.

The very first "Cheapbook" was compiled and edited by Paul Orselli and published by ASTC in 1995. Subsequent volumes appeared in 1999, 2004, and 2014.

The Exhibit Cheapbooks have always celebrated the "sharing" nature of museums. You will find varied exhibit ideas from museum colleagues from around the world inside each volume. 

Sincere thanks to everyone who has shared their ideas and expertise by contributing ideas over the years! And special thanks to ASTC for allowing all the Exhibit Cheapbooks material to now be shared freely online.

Think of all these Exhibit Cheapbooks entries not as detailed shop drawings, but rather as creative jumping-off points for your own exhibit building.

So what are you waiting for?  Click on over to the Exhibits Cheapbooks Download Page and start making cheap exhibits!


Have fun!



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Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

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Sunday, June 6, 2021

Creative Inspiration: The Physics Videos of Julius Sumner Miller


"I'm Julius Sumner Miller, and physics is my business!"

So starts every short video in this wonderful series (now on YouTube) that strives to show and explain different aspects of physics.  

"Demonstrations in Physics" was an educational science series produced in Australia by ABC Television in 1969. The series was hosted by American scientist Julius Sumner Miller, who demonstrated experiments involving a wide range of physics topics.  

Despite the deliberately "old school" approach, and the rudimentary production techniques, the videos are tremendously engaging -- and yes, educational!

Professor Miller is a perfect teacher -- filled with enthusiasm, and with an array of clever homespun gizmos designed to illustrate the points of physics he discusses.

You can see an example of Professor Miller at work in the embedded video below, or by clicking over to YouTube.  Highly recommended!




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Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

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Friday, May 28, 2021

Two Projects (Red Dress and REDress)


I'd like to commend to your attention two different RED projects that use art to address important social issues.


The first, The Red Dress Project, conceived by British artist Kirstie Macleod, provides an artistic platform for women to tell their personal stories through embroidery.

From The Red Dress Project website:

"During 11 years, from 2009 to 2020, the Red Dress traveled the globe being continuously embroidered. It has been embroidered on by 200 women and 2 men, from 28 countries, with all 111 commissioned artisans paid for their work (the rest of the embroidery was added by willing participants/audience at various exhibitions/events). 

Embroiderers include women refugees in Palestine; victims of civil war in Kosovo, Rwanda, and DR Congo; impoverished women in South Africa, Mexico, and Egypt; women in Kenya, Japan, Paris, Sweden, Peru, Czech Republic, Dubai, Afghanistan, Australia, Argentina, Switzerland, Canada, Tobago, USA, Russia, Pakistan, Wales, Colombia, and the UK, as well as upmarket embroidery studios in India and Saudi Arabia.

Most of the women are established master embroiderers, a few are artists turned first-time embroiderers. They were encouraged to tell a personal story they would like to share through embroidery, expressing their own identities, adding their own cultural and traditional experience. Some chose to create using a specific style of embroidery practiced for hundreds of years in their family, village, or town."

You can see many more images of The Red Dress Project by clicking over to their website or by watching the video embedded below or via YouTube.




The second project, The REDress Project, although similar in name, pursues different aesthetic and social goals, namely to create an installation art project that draws attention to the more than 1000 missing or murdered Aboriginal women across Canada.  Artist Jaime Black uses hanging red dresses installed in various indoor and outdoor spaces to mark the absence of these missing and murdered women.



From the artist's statement:

"The REDress Project focuses around the issue of missing or murdered Aboriginal women across Canada. It is an installation art project based on an aesthetic response to this critical national issue. The project has been installed in public spaces throughout Canada and the United States as a visual reminder of the staggering number of women who are no longer with us. Through the installation I hope to draw attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Aboriginal women and to evoke a presence through the marking of absence."


You can find out more about the REDress Project by visiting Jaime Black's website or by viewing the video embedded below or on YouTube.




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Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Animal Crossing and International Museum Day!


Today's Guest Post about Animal Crossing and International Museum Day is by Tom Gille.


Today is International Museum Day, and although it might seem odd, I was reminded of this by a video game!

You may be familiar with Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) it's a very popular game for the Nintendo Switch. With 32 million copies sold worldwide and an award for Best Family Game of 2020, it has a huge and extremely loyal following among children and adults.

I began playing to have another way to spend time with my 5-year-old granddaughter. She loves it, as do her parents - they've also gotten aunts and uncles involved.

If you don’t know anything about ACNH, it’s a simulation game that allows players to move to a deserted island. Without going into greater detail, it's a real-time game that is tied to your time zone and season. The sun rises and sets as it does at your real home, and it snows in winter, etc. You can gather and craft items, customize the island, and form it into a community of anthropomorphic animals. 

One of the items you get to work on is the island museum:


 
You build the collection yourself by digging fossils or collecting insects:


 and buying famous works of art:


Just be careful who you buy the art from - the museum doesn’t accept fakes, and a knowledge of the actual art can help you spot them before you buy.

Since it's a real-time game, international holidays are celebrated with special events - things like Easter and Christmas (called Egg Day and Toy Day) and many others - and for today they have a Stamp Station event at the Animal Crossing Museum. (You can see some stamp stations in the pictures above.) Once you visit each of the stations in the museum halls you receive a special plaque for that hall.

 
Visitors are even greeted with a speech by the museum director:

“May 18th is International Museum Day, and to honor it, we’re holding a stamp rally! International Museum Day is a day to understand the wonder that only museums can provide. As a collecting place for all types of knowledge, museums are a critical resource for learners far and wide. Indeed, they can spark imaginations, making difficult ideas easier - and perhaps even more fun - to grasp. But to put it simply, International Museum Day is a day for getting to know your local museum!”

 


The grey-haired guy with the beard and glasses is my character, named Grumpdalf by my granddaughter. The museum director is a funny character named Blathers, a wise owl who gets carried away by his topics and talks a lot. He's also terrified of bugs, though he will accept them and tell you a lot of interesting information about them, and anything else you bring in. (It may be throwing a little shade to call him Blathers but it does fit many museum folks I know. It certainly fits me!)

Whether you play Animal Crossing: New Horizons or not (the event runs through the end of the month) take Blathers’ speech to heart and celebrate the wonder your local museum can provide. I couldn’t have blathered it better myself.


And just in case you think ACNH doesn't truly take museums seriously, here's a picture of the back of a fossil  -- what other video games use accession numbers?!?




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Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Design Inspiration: Real-Time Data Sites


I love real-time data visualization websites!  In addition to being a perfect blend of science, art, and technology, the web-sights provide a soothing thrum of information that I find mesmerizing and relaxing.  I also think these sites are great inspirations for museum/exhibit/design ideas.

Some of my favorite real-time data sites are listed below:


Wind Map  gives a real-time visualization of wind speeds in the U.S. It's like a giant video infographic!  A more three-dimensional view of wind around the entire globe is available on the earth website (pictured at the top of this post.)



Line of Sight provides a way for you to track satellites and other human-created space materials flying over your current location.


While you are up in the air, check out planefinder.net  a site that lets you pick out the location of commercial aircraft during their flights.



Coming back to Earth, you can track tectonic activity by seeing the geographic locations of active earthquakes and volcanoes at this site, or view National Weather Service satellite data, including infrared, visible light, and water vapor views.



Finishing up on the terrestrial side, EarthCam is a website that lets you easily choose and view real-time webcam feeds from interesting places around the world.



I'll finish out this post with a digital "eye candy" site. Google Trends Hot Searches gives you a constantly scrolling feed of current trending searches on their popular search site.



I hope clicking on these sites gives you some inspiration and enjoyment!  Did we miss any of your favorite real-time data sites? Let us know about them in the "Comments" section below!



Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

If you enjoy the blog, you can help keep it free to read and free from ads by supporting ExhibiTricks through our PayPal "Tip Jar"