Choose a Theme
The theme sets the tone for a Pop Up Museum. Once a theme is chosen, people bring
objects on that topic to share. Here are some questions to consider when brainstorming
Who’s your audience?
You want a theme that is appropriate and attractive to your intended audience. If it’s a
public Pop Up Museum, be mindful to different sensitivities.
Is the theme concrete? Can you picture something to bring?
Because Pop Up Museums focus on objects, it helps to have a concrete component to
the theme. Tools, Toys, Scrapbooks, or Collections are some examples. The more abstract
the theme, the more challenging it may be for a prospective participant to think of
something to bring.
Is the theme narrative?
The Pop Up Museum is a way of storytelling through objects. Does the theme prompt a
story? Themes like Objects of Conflict or Growth and Decay offer evocative possibilities
for different forms of participation.
Does the theme excite you?
One of the best ways to choose a theme is to think about what excites you. If you’re
passionate about a theme, others will most likely share your enthusiasm.
Need a Theme? How about one of these?
- Trash or Treasure
- Ordinary Miracles
- Taking Risks
- Lost and Found
Choose a time, date and location
The date and time of a Pop Up Museum will depend on your schedule, venue, and goals.
When are people most likely to participate? Is there a time when a community is already
ready to engage? It’s often easiest to plan a Pop Up Museum for a time and place when
people are already naturally congregating.
When thinking about a location, ask yourself:
- Is it public or private?
- Who owns or manages the site?
- How many people can it accommodate?
- Is it accessible?
- If it is outdoor, what will weather be like?
- Can it accommodate food or music?
- Can it accommodate tables and chairs?
- Is there parking?
- Will it invite walk-in traffic, or will it be an intimate affair for people who already know to attend?
Work with a collaborator
You can host a Pop Up Museum on your own, but collaborating with another group can
be a way to reach new audiences, form new partnerships, and get extra hands to help
run the event.
It works well to meet with a collaborator first and then brainstorm a theme together.
How do you get the word out?
That mostly depends on the nature of your Pop Up
Museum and who you are trying to reach. In the best case scenario, you and any
collaborators have specific ideas in mind about who might participate and the forms of
communication that will work best for them.
If you are working with a collaborator, it is incredibly important to learn who their
community/audience is and how they communicate with them. Sometimes, a collaborator
goes into a Pop Up Museum expecting you to bring the people. It’s important for them
to understand that this is an event for and with them and their constituency, and that
everyone is part of getting the word out. That might mean different communication
platforms, languages, or approaches to promotion.
Here are some ways you can promote your Pop Up Museum:
Social media :facebook, instagram, twitter
Your institution’s website and newsletter (if you have one)
Blast a brief description of the event through your institutional website and/or newsletter.
Make sure your collaborator is prepared to do this as well.
Contact local press
Send a press release to local press and ask them to write a story or blurb on the event.
Flyers and signs
Make and distribute flyers around town. It helps to have an indicating mark, like an A-frame
sign, outside of the event.
Word of mouth
There’s nothing more simple than good ol’ word of mouth. Tell your friends. Tell your
friends to tell their friends.
Host the Event
Now that you’ve picked a theme, found a
location, set the date, and advertised the event,
it’s time to pop!
You'll find a full guide to facilitation on the day and some resources and materials to help you out in the PDF Guide