JOHNSTOWN – You never know when a museum might pop up in the Glove Cities.
Fulton County Historian Samantha Hall-Saladino said she’s working with Gloversville Farmers Market Manager Brian Nellis to organize a “pop-up” museum at the market Aug. 23.
Depending on how that goes, she may offer the temporary display at other events and sites.
“I think it’s a good way to show people history is important,” she said.
The theme of the museum will be “growth,” which she said perfectly symbolizes products grown by farmers. For example, people can bring in their own plants to exhibit as part of the pop-up museum. Hall-Saladino said people also can bring in symbolic examples of growth in their lives, such as “how they’ve grown personally.”
“The purpose of the event is the experience,” she said.
She explained a pop-up museum is a temporary exhibit created by the public focusing on a theme. She said it usually only lasts a couple hours. People are invited to bring items related to the theme, write “exhibit” labels for their objects and display them. Hall-Saladino said people are encouraged to explore the other objects and have conversations with other participants.
Hall-Saladino said more information on pop-up museums can be found at a website for the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History at popupmuseum.org/category/past/. That is where she got the idea.
Examples of interactive pop-up museums in California have included the subjects of laughter, a river, boats, a wharf and African-American history.
“We’ve done this at our museum in Albany,” said Hall-Saladino, who is employed part time as Fulton County historian and also works as education coordinator at the Shaker Heritage Society in Albany.
“The best way is usually a person or group hosts the pop-up [museum], usually in a partnership with another organization,” Hall-Saladino said.
In the case of the Aug. 23 event, she said the Gloversville Farmers Market will be the host.
In addition to working with Nellis, Hall-Saladino said she has spoken to Fulton County Historical Society & Museum President Mark Pollak about working together for the Aug. 23 pop-up museum. She said three Fulton County Historical Society & Museum board members have agreed to participate in the collaborative event.
She said the Aug. 23 event will be a “test run” to see if the public is interested.
“It’s an idea that’s become more popular,” Hall-Saladino said. “I think it’s more of the experience of doing it.”
The head of the Fulton-Montgomery Farmers Market Association, which helps to organize markets in Gloversville, Johnstown and Amsterdam, said the pop-up museum idea is a welcome addition to the Gloversville market.
“I think it will be interesting for the customers coming to the farmers market,” said association President Pat Becker.
Depending on the success of this first event, Hall-Saladino said she and other historical officials will consider holding a pop-up museum once a month at the Gloversville Farmers Market next year.
The Gloversville market is conducted from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays from May through October at the Elm Street Pavilion, between Spring and Church streets behind Bleeker Square.
Hall-Saladino said she also might look into having pop-up museums at the Johnstown Farmers Market. The city of Johnstown market is conducted from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays from May through October in the downtown Sir William Johnson Park on West Main Street.
Hall-Saladino has been working with Fulton County Historical Society & Museum Recording Secretary Marion Viglione on the pop-up museum idea.
“I think it’s superb,” Viglione said. “Anything that gets the past and interactive history together is good. Any time you get people asking questions, the more the better.”
Since taking over as county historian in December, Hall-Saladino has been organizing and cataloging to upgrade her office in the basement of the Fulton County Office Building.
In February, she identified three goals for 2014, including creating a stronger presence for the county historian’s office through a Facebook page and updated webpage on the county’s website. She said she is working on regular updates and sharing information on programs, meetings, lectures, tours and historic photographs and stories.
As a secondary goal, she wants to update and reorganize the office to improve availability for researchers.
Third, Hall-Saladino said she wants to meet quarterly with town and city historians to provide support and work together to promote local history.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.