Big TreeTopping Out

View of In the Big Treetop during the final stages of installation

Most museum work is planning, but every so often I get to do the business – actually mount an exhibition.  “In the Big Treetop” is an installation for children and adults to explore together; it doesn’t have valued objects like most exhibitions, but instead has large structures which have to be strong enough to survive six weeks of lively play. 

We used cake to lure our staff into the Big TreeTop before it opened . . .

Because this is an annual fixture, the process begins with the evaluation of last year’s exhibit.  The planning started seriously in December and our technician began constructing the design in May.  Then two weeks of building and painting in the gallery and finally the public arrive. 

What happens then is the “Death of the Author” moment – all our ideas are rendered unnecessary as the public reinterprets the space and invests it with their own meanings.    

For the first time this year we have chosen not to have an area for displaying visitors’ work, which has been a coincidental mechanism for communication between visitors – so the interpretations might be different every day.   It will be an interesting chance to explore how this might impact on the sense of community that can exist amongst our regular audience. 

Enough of this seriousness . . . we have a magical gallery full of very happy children and parents and that is all that matters! 

View more photos of In the Big Treetop on our Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/theherbert/sets/72157624411047559/ 

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Posted on 20/07/2010, in Exhibitions, Families and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. jamieaiperry

    Thanks for all your hardwork on this Jack.

    My boy spent two happy 1/2 day sessions making animals out of the craft items and using them around the spaces. Wilson is 2 and a half and enjoyed all elements of the space – particularly making a den in in the lightbox. Amber was the happiest I have ever seen her! She loved the lights and sounds and soft play area and especially liked playing peek a boo through the holes…

    … another great summer exhibition

    Great work

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