Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's a Pop-up museum?

On Saturday 5th May we will be holding a pop-up museum - The Thing About me - to celebrate the launch of our new name and brand. Read more about the new name in our new leaflet here. The event runs from 11am - 4pm, on the lawn in front The Higgins.

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The idea of a pop-up museum has been around for a few years although interpretations of what one is have differed. Some pop-up museums use real museum artefacts but take them out to new locations. Other pop-up museums use objects brought along by the public – so the audience makes the museum. The inspiration for The Thing About Me came from a blog post by museum thinker, Nina Simon. The post highlighted the work of Michelle DelCarlo who has been deploying pop-up museums in America and since April 2011.  Michelle states ‘the mission of the Pop-Up Museum is to create conversations between people of all ages and walks of life.’

The idea of The Thing About Me is that you bring along an thing that means something to you. Maybe it is something that you've had on your desk or shelf for more years then you can remember, a gift from a loved one or a childhood toy. It doesn't matter what it is, just as long as it is something you love.

A pop-up museum is a museum that only lasts for one day, and it can't exist without you. We'd like you to write a museum style label for your thing, maybe have a go at writing a label for someone else's thing. Imagine all of the different stories that can be told about one simple object. Who made it? When? How? Why? How did it get here? Why do you like it? Why have you kept it? We want to encourage everyone to share their passion with others at the pop-up museum, and make it a day to remember.

Cllr Doug McMurdo, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, at Bedford Borough Council, said: “There are no rules for a pop-up museum; the simple aim is to start conversations with all sorts of people, about the things that individuals cherish. It will be a fascinating event, as no-one can know in advance what items will turn up!”

The Thing About Me is the first of 3 pop-up museums we'll be holding in the coming months. We're also going to be popping up for Refugee Week, Tuesday 19th June, 11am - 6pm, Harpur Square, Bedford.

And we'll be popping up again for the International Olympicnic and Pop-up Museum, Saturday 4th August, 12 - 4pm, International Athletics Stadium, Barkers Lane, Bedford.

We hope to see you there!


  1. really pleased you are doing a pop-up museum...have been following the u.s. ones and have been wanting to kickstart similar ones here....would love to hear and see how it goes on 5th May. do hope you will blog about your backstage prep. and how it all goes for you ....
    good luck

  2. We had a great day, and we've done a new blog post with some pics.http://thehigginsbedford.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/thethingaboutme-pop-up-museum.html It really helped us build relationships with our audiences and whilst we didn't have huge numbers, those that participated really got a lot out of it. We're doing two more pop-up museums over the summer, so there will be lots more pop-up news.