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Vermont Museums Banding Together on 2020 Tech Project

Tuesday, February 4, 2020   (0 Comments)

Source: Rutland Herald

Vermont’s museum curators are planning something new this year, a collaborative effort to draw more visitors and show them how technology impacts culture.

Museums and galleries across the state, 36 in all, will participate in the “2020 Vision: Seeing the World Through Technology” project, put together by the Vermont Curators Group. The group was founded in 2016 by Andrea Rosen, curator of the Fleming Museum of Art in Burlington, who got the idea for the group and the 2020 Vision project from a similar effort in Maine.

“Our museums and galleries are already doing great things, this just gives us a chance to show it,” said Rosen, in a Thursday interview.

A full list of what museums and galleries will participate, plus what they plan to offer, can be found at vermontcuratorsgroup.com.

Gillian Sewake, project coordinator for 2020 Vision, said Thursday each participating museum or gallery has created or tweaked an exhibit to fit the central theme of how technology has affected the world.

“I would say that I’ve been really impressed and pleased by how easy it’s been to get really broad engagement, and really what these curators have done to interpret the theme in their exhibitions has just been really creative,” said Sewake. “I will say we didn’t know at the outset how this would turn out. This is the first time we’ve done this sort of project. It was the first time most of the members of the group had heard something of this sort in terms of this statewide collaboration, and we were really leaving a lot of leeway for individual curators to interpret the theme however they wanted to.”

For example, the T.W. Wood Gallery in Montpelier will holding a juried exhibit on printmaking, showing how traditional techniques differ from more modern ones, according to gallery Exhibition Manager, Kate Ruddle.

She said the printmaking exhibit will tie into the gallery’s 125th anniversary plans, which involve other printmaking exhibits all over Montpelier.

“We weren’t sure how that was going to turn out, but it’s just been amazing to see the projects that have been coming in and how impactful a lot of them are and how the diversity of exhibitions on display really help with exploring all facets of the themes, so we’re not stuck with just one message,” said Sewake. “Everyone is really exploring that idea of seeing the world through technology in their own way.”

A key feature of the project is the Passport Program, which rewards people for visiting the museums and galleries.

“It’s not a physical passport, “ said Sewake. “Because our theme is focused on technology, we needed to have something that was relevant in the 21st century, so what people can do to participate in the Passport Program is take a photo or a selfie, tag that to one of our social media pages at Vermont Curators Group, and each exhibition you visit counts as one entry, and we have some really neat prizes lined up.”

The full prize package isn’t finalized yet, she said, but will include a few memberships to specific museums, a co-working space membership, “and the one I’m particularly excited about is membership in the North American Reciprocal Museum Association, which conveys free membership at thousands of different museums all over the world,” said Sewake.

She said the program is working with the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to promote itself and looks to draw out-of-state visitors from metro areas who’ve decided to come to Vermont, but are looking for something to do when they’re here.