No, seriously: wow. Last Saturday was the kind of amazing event I needed a few days to recover from! Every time I tried to sit down and write about the exhibition launch, I didn’t know where to start. Thank you to Rupert at APG Works for hosting the exhibition and accommodating my every need, The Rutland Arms and Blue Bee Brewery for the beer, the hosting and the technical support, and everyone who attended in person or joined in from afar – from old friends and new friends, to local artists, and people who saw the sign outside, popped in to see what the fuss was about, and stayed.
The exhibition itself is still up, and I’ll be back again this Saturday 1 – 5 to host and hang out before I take it down. You can take a look during the gallery’s opening hours every day, but last Saturday I was live curating it so hard I almost became an exhibit!
When the main room got too full, I invited smaller groups to come into the parlour-like room at the back and look at old photos, census data from ancestry.com, and to try on some of my grandma’s awesome costume jewelry.
My mom and my friends outside Sheffield want to know what the launch was like, so here are a few highlights. I started out by putting up a number of interactive displays in the main room. The first one allows you to enter my mental Slinky of Time and experience 1913 in chronological order.
You can read about and comment on events using post-its and sharpies.
I planned to do a lot of the live notes myself, as if I were editing one of my fanzines (the timeline is laid out like the first draft of flats for a zine) but then a lot of people came! (I had to keep being reminded not to look surprised, but I was genuinely touched that so many people were interested.)
Then there were all the interactive bits which I’ll talk about in future blog posts, but here’s a round-up:
Peer reviewing marriage advice from 1913 went down well and sparked a lot of debate.
The centenary of the zip (or zipper, staying true to my Brooklyn roots and the US patent) took a lot of people by surprise. (Come down this Saturday or check back next week to find out what the dress reveals!)
Visitors enjoyed plotting their zips and ages on the graph.
The zippiest couple had 16 zips when they added up jackets, clothing and bags. They were very proud.
The return of the stolen Mona Lisa inspired some high quality psychedelic replacement art.
You can also try to solve the first ever crossword puzzle or write your own, or redefine planets with the National Museum of Scotland’s Sendtner Orrery.
The evening programme turned into a quite sad and sentimental group storytelling session. I think we were all surprised at how serious we got, but it was really moving and lovely. We finished the night on a cheerier note when some late arrivals bought one last round of 1913 beer.
(Yep. The word alcoholiday was coined in 1913.)
If you’d like to come down this Saturday between 1 and 5, I’ll be there with tea, coffee, and stories about 1913. I’ve got a bunch of online interactive ways to get involved that I’ll tweet on the day for those outside Sheffield. Thanks again for your interest in 1913!