27 October 2014,
The pop-up museum was created over two days at the Wales Millennium Centre as part of the Welsh Museums Festival and the Museums Association conference between 9-10 October 2014.
We set up the cases, table, boxes, screen and various cardboard structures on the Thursday before the conference.
It looked great, but we were all quite nervous. Would anyone turn up? Would people bring an object in response to our call outs on social media? Would people participate and share their Cardiff stories and memories? Would the huge table at its centre attract visitors or put them off?
Would Billy the Seal arrive safely?
We were about to find out if our experiment would work…….and thankfully it did!
- 1. The stuff we had already collected.
We were all really glad that we already had some material for the pop-up that provided hooks to show people how they could contribute. The story cards collected at previous workshops kicked things off. They gave people an idea of how they could contribute, and made the Cardiff theme obvious. The voxpops also provided people with another focus and showed that people had already shared their Cardiff story. This encouraged participants to be filmed sharing their story at the pop-up.
- 2. Taking photographs of participants
We took a photograph of all participants with an instant camera and pinned them to their story cards. This emphasised the personal aspect and made stories easier to find
- 3. The big table in the middle with plenty of chairs.
This space really worked. It became a social space where people came together and shared their Cardiff story and a space where strangers started talking to each other. We piled Perspex boxes on top of each other along the middle and gradually filled them with objects over the two days. We encouraged people to write their comments about other people’s stories on post-its and stick them on the boxes. This added another layer to the interpretation.
- 4. Using iPads to show social media content
We had built up interest around the pop-up on social media in the lead up to the pop-up itself, so it was good to continue this momentum. We used two iPads on the table as live labels that showed all tweets with the #popupmuseum #fflachamgueddfa hashtag. We used this as a way of highlighting interesting stories and providing information about what was happening at the pop-up over the 2 days. We also experimented with iBeacons and placed content about some of the objects on that so that people could access it using their hand held devices.
- 5. We invited the Media and the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism!
To keep the buzz around the pop-up museum going, we managed to generate press interest in the pop-up. The experience was filmed by s4C for Heno and by Cardiff TV. Deputy Minister Ken Skates also came to the pop-up and contributed his Cardiff story. He was really interested in the fact that we had created a museum in 48 hours that anyone could contributed to.
- 6. Billy the Seal made it!
Thanks to the huge effort of conservation staff across Amgueddfa Cymru, Billy made it to the pop-up. Billy generated lots of interest and was definitely a big pull to the pop-up. It was useful to have one star object that attracted the curious. Those who knew about Billy’s story couldn’t believe that she was actually there and that it was part of the museum’s collections. And those who didn’t know the story were…confused but intrigued.
- 7. Working with Cardiff Story, HLF, and Youth Forum members
You can’t set up a pop-up museum without a team. The input from our Youth Forum members was invaluable, making sure that the processes of the pop-up ran smoothly and making sure that participants knew what to do. Staff members form the Heritage Lottery Fund provided guidance and support throughout the pop-up process. Working with Arran Rees and Lucy Connors from the Cardiff Story and was a great experience and we are already planning to create a pop-up together again in the future.
6 October 2014,
Well, the week has finally arrived. After months of planning and discussing, later this week the #popupmuseum will become a reality. Whilst we already have some stories ready to share as part of the #popupmuseum and some museum objects to showcase, such as Billy the Seal, the truth is, we have no idea what it will become as it relies completely on people coming to the Wales Millennium Centre on Thursday and Friday (9th and 10th October) with their stories and/or objects that relate to or remind them of Cardiff.
This is how it will work. The #popupmuseum will be in the foyer of the Wales Millennium Centre, and manned from 9am to 5:30pm on both days. You can either donate an object and leave it with us, with a written or audio description of what it is, or you can have your picture taken with the object. If you choose to leave anything with us, it will be returned to you after the #popupmuseum comes to an end! Alternatively, if you have a story, you can either write it down or be filmed telling us the story, and it will be displayed as part of the #popupmuseum.
Still with me? Good...
All will be well if people turn up. Hence why we need your help. Please spread the word, by talking about the projects to friends and family and helping us promote via social media. Objects don’t have to be valuable or typical museum objects. They can be funny, quirky, strange, serious, surprising – in fact, anything goes as long as they have a Cardiff story. They can mean something to you personally or can be part of the story of a Cardiff institution or organisation. This really is your opportunity to create a different kind of museum.
For further information, please email email@example.com or @heleddfychan
22 September 2014,
Here’s an update on our pop up museum project.
We’re creating a pop up museum about Cardiff with the Cardiff Story, helped by the HLF, for the Welsh Museums Festival and the Museums Association Conference at the Wales Millennium Centre on 9-10 October. Before we set it up, we’ve asked the people of Cardiff and beyond to help us collect stories and objects to get it up and running.
So far, we’ve held 3 workshops at The Cardiff Story. We’ve collected over 30 Cardiff stories on film and story cards and seen weird and wonderful objects that all say something about Cardiff in their own unique way! The process has brought people together in conversation by sharing their Cardiff story.
The latest workshop was held at the Cardiff Story between 6-8pm on 11 September. Cheese, wine and soft drinks were on offer to add to the social feel of the evening. By the end of the session 20 people had popped in to share their stories. We also took a video camera out on to the streets and filmed 20 voxpops from a very diverse range of passers-by! Some of them are hilariously funny and will be shown at the pop up museum at Wales Millennium Centre.
The First Object
A polystyrene corgi was the first object to make an entrance. It had been left out with the rubbish on a street in Roath – but was rescued, given a wash, and now lives happily with its new owners in a Cardiff living room.
Designing the pop up museum
As the number of Cardiff stories and objects grow, so too does the need to think about how we will display the material we’ve generated. The pop up museum will move to the Wales Millennium Centre on 9-10 October for the Museums Association Conference so it will have to be very flexible and easy to put up.
We’ve started rummaging around in the depths of National Museum Cardiff’s stores for cases, shelves, seats, anything! Here’s a selection of what we found:
- A lovely big table where people can sit and chat about their stories. One idea we had about displaying objects was to place them in Perspex boxes on this table and pile them on top of each other as the display grows over the two days.
- A couple of lovely cases currently in the contemporary art space at National Museum Cardiff. These will allow us to show objects from the Cardiff Story collections and national collections that reveal something about Cardiff at the Wales Millennium Centre.
- More seats! Some rather nice grey square fabric cubes.
- And finally…..Billy the Seal!
We’re not sure yet if Billy can come with us to the Wales Millennium Centre, but we’re looking into what’s possible. Billy’s skeleton has been part of National Museum Wales’ collections since the 1940s. Billy came to Cardiff in 1912, when fishermen aboard a trawler found him in their nets. He was given the name Billy and brought to Cardiff where he set up home in the Victoria Park Lake.
Billy apparently escaped during flooding and swam down Cowbridge Road. On the way he stopped at a local fish shop and ordered ‘no chips, just the haddock thanks.’ He then made his way to the Admiral Napier for a pint, ‘half a dark’ to be precise, but was captured and taken back to the lake.
We don’t know if these events actually happened, but many local residents swear the story is completely true.
Follow this blog to find out if Billy can escape again!
Next pop up museum workshop:
27 September 11.00-1.00pm, Cardiff Story
For more on setting up your own pop up museum follow this link:
2 September 2014,
Over the weekend, amidst the armed police and large NATO wall, the second pop-up museum workshop was held. The aim of these workshops is to find content for the pop-up museum being created at the Museums Association Conference in October and as part of the Welsh Museums Festival. The pop-up is being created with staff from the Cardiff Story Museum, Amgueddfa Cymru- National Museum Wales and the Heritage Lottery Fund with content coming from anyone who has a story to tell about Cardiff.
This time around we tried a different approach and held drop in sessions rather than a 2 hour workshop… Sadly it was a bit of a quiet day. Despite that, we did get some great stories. We heard from a busker who hadn’t been to Cardiff on a Saturday for 20 years but was back for a wedding, and from a man who remembered coming to Cardiff for work and ended up being a regular at the Vulcan pub.
The problem we found with the drop in session is that people did not have objects and if they did, they were not prepared to leave them. This meant that at the end of the 2 hours, we didn’t have a pop-up museum, just a collection of stories. You live and learn!
The next session is going to be on a Thursday evening, 11th September between 6 and 8pm at Cardiff Story Museum so you can come along and do some late night shopping or have a nice dinner afterwards. We’ll be holding it as a 2 hour workshop again so we have a great looking museum at the end of it.
We hope you can make it to one of our future sessions.
Contact Arran Rees on Cardiffstory@cardiff.gov.uk or 02920 788334 to find out more.
18 August 2014,
The first workshop to create content for the pop-up museum at the Museums Association Conference in October at the Wales Millennium Centre was held today at the Cardiff Story Museum. Staff from the Cardiff Story Museum, Amgueddfa Cymru- National Museum Wales and the Heritage Lottery Fund came together with a group made up of National Museum Wales and Cardiff Story Youth Forum members and volunteers to test the processes that are needed to create a pop-up museum.
Participants agreed that using Cardiff as a theme was a good idea. What is your Cardiff story? Or what does Cardiff mean to you? provides opportunities for people to give their opinion about Cardiff – the capital city of Wales, whether they’ve visited before or not. It includes those who are Cardiff born and bred and those who’ve stepped off the train for the first time; delegates at the Museum Association conference and families visiting the Wales Millennium Centre as part of the Welsh Museums Festival.
A conveyer belt of museum processes was set up with everyone taking turns to write text, photograph their object, be photographed themselves and be filmed talking about their Cardiff story.
In one hour, we created a mini museum in its most basic form. 12 objects, 8 stories, 7 voxpops, and 12 photographs all saying something different about Cardiff and what it means or has meant to the participants today or in the past.
Arran Rees, Curator of collections at Cardiff Story kicked off the session by showing his chosen object and sharing his Story.
Everyone joined in and within 30 minutes, a variety of different objects ranging from Welsh cakes to a fossil revealed something about Cardiff. One participant used Welsh cakes to show her fondness of the stall in Cardiff Market and how she identified with Cardiff and Wales by getting to like Welsh cakes even though she hated dried fruit. Another object was a ring that was a symbol of friendship and good times at Cardiff University. Another contributor told of her experience as a performer in the Cardiff Mardigras in 2013. Everyone wanted to read other people’s stories and the objects inspired discussion about Cardiff – good and bad, past and present.
The session was incredibly useful. The group confirmed that a broad theme is better, more inclusive and has more potential to inspire diverse responses than something too specific. Simple low tech methods work, and can be used to create interest and discussion – even when technology lets you down.
Now that the method has been tested and some ideas put into practise, we are ready for the next workshop. This will be an open workshop again at the Cardiff Story, 30 August 11am – 1pm. Come along and share what Cardiff means to you.
Contact Arran Rees at the Cardiff Story for more details: