From the initial proposal, which is moving along splendidly:
RIME is a way to bring disparate communities together and foster learning about one another through an exchange of traveling exhibits. The idea is modeled on the practice of many larger museums, who use traveling shows to promote awareness of their institutions and their missions outside the local community, and to draw local museum-goers back by exhibiting work from other communities.
Earthbound Moon (EbM) believes that hosting such an exchange between smaller local museums – those that enliven communities across America and the world – will benefit the missions of the participating museums and increase the impact of our own mission: to create connections between disparate communities, to inspire deep time thinking; to participate in creating a global perspective; and to create common spaces for discussion worldwide. Traveling exhibits from smaller museums can foster connections between diverse peoples and varied historical eras, through the shared language of visual history, oral history, traditional and contemporary art, and personal passion.
Such traveling exhibits, however, make incredible demands on institutions: they must invest in logistics, packing, and shipping; and they must provide space and insurance. For these reasons, it is generally only larger museums that participate in this practice.
EbM is engaging five institutions in an initial one-year program which will serve as the proof-of-concept for growing RIME. Each institution will create a traveling exhibit to share with the other four institutions. These will include not just photos and text and small objects framed and vitrined, but at least one tablet device with headphones, so that slideshows, videos, audio, and other media may be exhibited. We hope to eventually engage larger institutions and galleries (such as the Smithsonian, The Met, and universities) in this process, creating an avenue for discussions of history and culture across communities.
To make this feasible for participating organizations, EbM will create five small museum-quality crates which will be hinged inside so that they can open out to become the exhibit. This will limit the space and time required of host museums in displaying them. To save on shipping, each institution will receive (or build if they have the resources) a crate which will remain on their premises. Shows will consist primarily of flatworks and small objects which can ship in stiff envelopes and small boxes from institution to institution.
EbM will work with participating institutions to photograph, photocopy, and present their exhibit with the crate. We will also help mount and secure the exhibit inside the crate in such a way that the works can be removed and shown outside the crate’s confines if an institution has the space and time to hang a show. In the first year one of the areas we are most curious to explore with the five participating institutions is how to minimize the space participants must make available for traveling exhibits while maximizing the amount of material and the quality of each show. In an ideal world each institution would be able to show each show in the chosen configuration of the creating institution. Space considerations make this unlikely. To that end it is likely we will ask institutions to be flexible in how their exhibition is shown.
There will be no cost to participating museums apart from providing exhibition space, and staff time to prepare exhibits and manage shipments. Eventually, EbM hopes to be able to cover our costs by charging larger organizations for participating in the exchange. To begin with, however, we are confident our budget can cover many years of participation for up to a thousand organizations.
EbM requests that for the initial year, participating museums agree to their exhibit traveling for the whole of the year. And that they show the other four exhibits over the course of the year, approximately one every third month, exhibiting each show for four weeks. No shows would be mandatory for institutions, of course, should they find any material objectionable. Amenable institutions will be asked to sign a non-binding contract stating the size of the show, the time to be displayed, and their intention to provide an exhibit of their own. The contract will specify that the non-profit organization, EbM, takes on liability and insurance costs.
We hope that the first shows will ship in march 02014 and install in April 02015. The shows will be de-installed and shipped anew in May 02015. In June they will be prepped and installed in their new site. They will open again in July 02015. This pattern will proceed with the shows proceeding around the country in a round robin with the third show opening in October 02015, the fourth in January 02016, and the fifth and final show of the series opening in April 02016.
As of this writing, we have three organizations signed up: two in America, one in Sicily. We are in negotiations with two other institutions, and expect to introduce you to the participating organizations in November.
In mid-02016, we hope to expand the program, and host a website where all participating museums may post those exhibits they have available to travel, and choose which exhibits they are interested in displaying at their institution. Exhibitions that have special space needs or presentation needs will be be able to participate in this way, without forcing uniformity on all participants in the program. Institutions will be able to cherry pick the shows that are best for them, be it for cultural or practical reasons. The goal is to have enough participating organizations by Fall 02016 that we can ask each participating museum to agree to host three exhibits a year, without excluding museums who have space or mission restrictions.
I think that will be about a million museums!!!