Monday, October 25, 2021

MIHS ‘I Remember Marco’ Exhibit Asks Community to Curate

What’s your Marco Island story?

The Marco Island Historical Society has invited the community to help curate their newest exhibit, “I Remember Marco” in the hopes of answering that question.

“I Remember Marco” will encourage museumgoers to share their own stories, memories, and experiences in an interactive way. By participating, the collective community will ultimately shape the exhibit.

“So often you have the museum side of things where you’re presenting certain stories and ideas to the audience,” Austin Bell, curator of collections for MIHS, said. “A lot of the time that can be presented in a way where the audience doesn’t get to talk back.”

The idea for an interactive, in-house exhibit came about last summer when graduate students from the University of Florida, Casey Wooster and Kristin Conwill, were interning at the museum. The interns, with the help of Bell and MIHS collections manager, Kaitlin Romey, began working on the concept. It’s the first exhibit at the museum that was developed and designed solely by MIHS curatorial staff. The exhibit was funded by a grant donated by the Island Country Club Charitable Foundation.

“We wanted to do an in house historical exhibit in the Sandlin Gallery and we wanted to make the community a part of it,” Bell said.

Using a sticker, participants placed what year they found Marco Island onto a timeline. Photos by Samantha Husted

So how exactly does the average museumgoer help curate an exhibit? Usually that type of thing is left to the professionals. According to Bell, it’s easy. All you have to do is show up and share your Marco Island story.

“We want you to write on the walls,” Bell said. “We want to hear the community’s voice.”

“I Remember Marco” consists of a variety of interactive stations, allowing participants to share a little bit about themselves with the museum. For instance, at one station you place on a timeline what year you came to Marco Island. At another, you answer questions by writing on a chalkboard wall.

MIHS Curator of Collections Austin Bell and Herb Savage hold up an Instagram-inspired cardboard frame.

In an effort to engage a younger demographic, the museum has also added a corner dedicated to social media. Using the hashtags #IRememberMarco, #MyMarcoStory and #MarcoHistory participants can post videos, pictures, and texts from anywhere in the world. Those images will be shown instantaneously on a live TV feed in the exhibit. There will also be a Snapchat filter available for anyone who visits the museum grounds.

“Any tweets, Instagram posts, Facebook posts, or Snapchats that people share through those three applications will show up live on the TV’s in the exhibit,” Bell said.

The historical museum is also giving away “flat Margo” fans, designed after the original Margo the Mermaid statue erected in 1966 at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. The MIHS is asking participants to take “flat Margo” with them on their travels and document their adventures with photos and videos. Using the hashtag #MyMarcoStory participants can upload their photos of “flat Margo” to the abovementioned social media websites. From there, they will automatically be entered into a drawing for a one-year membership to the museum, a signed copy of “Marco Island” by Austin Bell, and a Key Marco Cat pin.

“We hope that people come and check it out and most of all just have fun and remember that museums don’t have to be stuffy and boring and quiet,” Bell said.

Visit the “I Remember Marco” exhibit at the Marco Island Historical Museum, 180 S Heathwood Dr. through October 4th, 2018. For more information or 239-642-1440 or 239-389-6447.

Lisa Marciano and Herb Savage pose in the “Margo the Mermaid” cardboard cutout.

On a chalkboard wall, the participants were encouraged to write how they felt about Marco Island.

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