Label-writing for a pop-up Museum – Memorabilia of an interpreter
At INNZ, we’re not the kind of people that sit around letting others do all the talking at conferences. We like to get busy and creative – hands-on if you like. This year, at our Spring Conference in Nelson, we asked every conference attendee to bring along their own personal piece of memorabilia to include in a ‘Pop-up Museum’.
What’s a pop-up museum?
A Pop-up Museum is a temporary exhibit created by the people who show up to participate. It works by choosing a theme and venue and then inviting people to bring an object to share. Participants write a label for their object and leave it on display. The concept – and a how-to-kit – was created by Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH) – here’s their ‘how-to kit’.
Our INNZ pop-up museum – Memorabilia of an interpreter – was set up at our venue nice and early so that all attendees could add their piece of memorabilia as they arrived.
Black tablecloths and then white picture frames of various sizes were placed over a table so that each piece could be displayed. (A set of ten white picture frames in the Warehouse for $20 did the trick!)
Before we labelled our items we then explored the collection, while taking note if any partuclar questions occurred while looking at the objects.
A little label goes along way…
Then ably instructed by Michael Keith of Shearwater Associates, we had to write not one, but two labels for each object on display. You could choose to:
- Explain the object’s real meaning to you – its connection
- Fabricate a meaning or connection
- Project a meaning – looking back at the object from 100 years into the future.
There were rules of course. Each label had:
- A maximum of 100 words
- Three main points maximum
- Sentences no more than 16 words.
- Paragraphs no more than 50 words.
Michael explained that having written thousands of these sorts of labels throughout his career, these parameters seemed to be the most effective.
The room fell very quiet as we worked away at the exercise. The added challenge of course was the timeframe. We had about 30 minutes to craft our labels – a pressure that perhaps was more of challenge to those of us who strive for perfection rather than relying on sheer inspiration of the moment!
And just to make it even more interesting, we voted on our favourites – up for grabs was a lovely bottle of local wine!
The results made for fascinating reading. Lots of humour and human interest and a range of styles – some imaginative some more factual.
It was an exercise in story-telling, within the confines of a word count; a bit of ‘Brain Gym’ for interpreters. Simplicity, context and connection were what we strived for; whether we achieved it I’ll leave for you to decide.
P.S. Congratulations to the joint winners were Sue Hill of Auckland Council and Craig Wilson, our keynote speaker from Tourism NZ!