The Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center

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A Museum Outside of the Museum

The Pop Up Museum exists within a paradox: it’s a museum outside of a museum, a room without walls so to speak. Last week’s Pop Up Museum, done in collaboration with The Fabrica, was our first time popping up beyond MAH’s walls. And it was fantastic.

Sewing collective, The Fabrica, and MAH throw a Pop Up Museum

We held the Pop Up Museum at downtown sewing collective, The Fabrica, and bike and tool cooperative, the Bike Church. We originally planned to pop up outside the Fabrica— though perfectly cozy, the Fabrica is dinky, a Thumbelina of a room— but with the relentless rainstorm, we moved the museum inside.

The Bike Church’s bike-racked walls made an awesome background for the Pop Up Museum

Luckily, the folks at the Bike Church literally opened their doors to the Pop Up Museum. We set tables, laid out tablecloths, displayed frames, and VIOLA, the museum was popping.

In the Fabrica, people enjoyed tea and donated cookies from the Pacific Cookie Company.

Unlike previous pop ups, this Pop Up Museum was thematic to its space. One of the benefits of having a museum outside of a museum, is the ability to unite location and theme. The theme for this Pop Up Museum was “Homemade,” and it couldn’t have been in a more fitting location.

One boy brought his homemade “Shilelaghi,” an old Irish Weapon

For those of you unaware, both the Fabrica and the Bike Church help people make things. Lending tools, providing space, offering assistance, and running workshops, these collectives not only encourage, but also enable creativity. You have a project? They’ll help you make it. You’ve got a problem? They’ll help you fix it. From flat tires to torn sweaters, they’re true making spaces, a do-it-yourself paradise.

And there was no shortage of ingenious craft: homemade quilts, clothing, toys, weapons, hats, tools, ornaments, purses, and more spilled out of frames picked up at the thrift store. Displayed in casual salon style, framing the objects added a nice museum touch without disabling an intimate interaction between visitor and exhibit.

Frames add a nice museum touch

Visitors still felt comfortable reaching inside the frame to touch the objects. Exhibitors picked their frame of choice and wrote their own labels, allowing them to be at once exhibitor and curator.

The Pop Up Museum is ultimately an abstract space made real by the people who show up to participate. Thank you to The Fabrica, the Bike Church, and the visitors and exhibitors who popped in. It was a colorful patchwork quilt in itself, a stunning collage of objects and stories.

As we keep popping, here are some take-aways from the first Pop Up Museum outside of the museum:

When you take the museum outside, the sky becomes your ceiling.

Sometimes your ceiling will rain.

The Bike Church and The Fabrica are awesome.

Because the Pop Up Museum travels, its location can be incorporated into its given theme.

“Homemade” is an inspiring theme. People love to share the things they’ve made, and the Pop Up Museum loves to share their stories.


To see more pics from this Pop Up, click here.

To share your comments, and learn about future Pop Up Museums, “like” MAH’s facebook page.