Tiny museums in Somerville, Massachusetts
Comparable to the "Little Free Library" where people set up a kiosk in their front yard (some institutions also participate) for books and other printed matter, where people are free to take or leave items, two kiosk-type exhibits, "museums," have been created in Somerville, Massachusetts, with the support of the Somerville Arts Coalition
The "Mµseum" created by Judith Klausner, aims to show art produced by New England artists who are under-represented in Greater Boston's fine arts museums ("Mµseum- The Tiny Museum," Atlas Obscura). From the article:
In 2010, Klausner noticed an alarming irregularity in the New England art community. Despite Boston’s having the second highest number of artists per capita of any city in the United States, art institutions in the greater Boston area were not showing exhibits from New England artists. The Mµseum’s first exhibit, “Invisible Cities,” contains pieces from local artists that speak to life in the urban environment and will run from August 15th, 2013 to October 11th, 2013.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe. Martha Friend spoke with passerby Joseph Sullivan about the tiny museum in front of her home on Highland Avenue in Somerville.
While The Mµseum may seem like an art gimmick, to Klausner, it is something far more important. By placing this gallery in an unused alley in a public square, she hopes to take fine art out of the basketball-court-sized institutions that can be so intimidating and give it back to the cities and the people who often find art inaccessible.
With the support of the Somerville Arts Council, Martha Friend has created the city's second tiny museum, "The Friend Smithsonian Museum," also to showcase local artists ("'Tiny Museum' adds to Somerville’s list of small attractions," Boston Globe).
But tiny museums could take different forms and exhibit other things, such as along the lines of the kind of scientific exhibits created by artist Mark Dion ("Mark Dion Reimagines a Pioneering Botanist's Lab," Hyperallergic; "Hidden Treasures: Exploring the work of artist-in-residence Mark Dion," UVA), community exhibits, etc.
DC's reordering of police and fire call boxes into public art installations, called Art on Call, Somerville has done something similar with deaccessioned pay phone boxes.
Twitter photo by Daniel A. Gross.
Still, there are some problems in terms of exhibiting ephemera and other materials--weather and the potential of damage to original artifacts.
So I can see a focus on creating displays, but not necessarily exhibiting original items.
Left: Mark DION Scala Naturae 1994. Stepped plinth, artefacts, specimens, taxidermic animals, bust 238 x 100 x 297 cm. Tanya Bonakdar Gallery.