We spent some time at the National Building Museum today. It’s a gorgeous old structure with an interesting history, and we were privileged to some great views from the fourth floor, which is normally closed to visitors.
We went through the House & Home exhibit, which made me feel quite nostalgic. It was interesting to hear Cathy Frankel, Vice President for Exhibitions and Collections, talk about the process of pulling together the exhibit, how it deviated from the original plan, and what it’s like to buy exhibit objects from eBay. I also especially enjoyed seeing all the models that are part of the exhibit.
That said, I think the museum caused a little bit of stress for my group. We have a primary object and a big idea for our exhibit, and we’re all in the process now of finding our secondary objects. We all have some idea of which museum, of the many we’ll visit, we’ll find our individual objects in — and none of us are expecting it to be the National Building Museum.
Even so, we had some discussion around whether or not we should try to find a secondary object in the NBM, and I felt like we were really struggling with the inclusion of a museum that wasn’t speaking to any of us insofar as our big idea is concerned. I found this a little surprising, honestly — I’m not sure why we felt the pressure to consider a museum collection that just doesn’t seem to fit.
In the end, we came to the conclusion that we all have ideas about our secondary objects in other museums, and that the National Building Museum, as beautiful as it is, is just not a good fit for our big idea.