The City Reliquary

The City Reliquary

Their website.

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  • What do you think is the exhibition’s main idea or purported purpose?

To provide a unique look at New York through comparison of memorabilia and artifacts found throughout the city.

  • How well does the exhibition’s design convey that main idea or purpose?

The charm of the ‘non’ design worked well in the space.

  • Decipher and write down the exhibition’s basic content outline as you walk through it.

The artifacts were grouped by type and not chronologically. There were hundreds of Statue of Liberty souvenir statues followed by hundreds of Worlds Fair pieces followed by groupings of preserved NYC tap water, among many other questions.

  • How do you think the designers interpreted the content you outlined?

The designers acted more as collectors. The style was quirky and allowed the viewer to associate their own meaning by discovering the items of each collection. The quantity of artifacts was impressive.

  • Did the design contribute to an enhanced perspective on the topic of the exhibition? Did the exhibition reveal new information or insights for you? Were you incented to learn more afterward?

The design was very ‘rough.’ The labels were handmade in many different styles. Some with a typewriter, some hand written some with a demo label. This variety added a home grown feel to the exhibit that was very successful. If the labels had been more professional or well constructed, the look and feel would have been wrong for the content.

  • What was the exhibition’s “look & feel” and how did it contribute to the main ideas or purpose of the exhibition?

The self discovery aspect was amusing. There were artifacts in drawers and so much stuff in a small space that you may be in there for years and still find something new. The look and feel was cluttered but in this case it worked because I felt like I had happened upon a treasure. It felt like I was in a movie and I found a cave inhabited by people long ago that was now abandoned but filled with lost history.

  • How would you characterize the contributions of 3D, graphic, media, and lighting design? Were any of these design elements outstanding–or lacking?

There was a slide projector ( a real one , not digital ) that allowed for the viewer to manually look thru a show of barber shop photos. Because it was presented in this context, I felt obligated to imply meaning and learning from the show even though it was just old photos of people whom I have never met. And, somehow, I found it enjoyable. Also to feast our eyes on was the “history of burlesque” locker. This was a gym locker with a secret button that when pressed showed a dancing mannequin hidden in the back. Again, a cheep trick but fitting for the atmosphere of the museum.

  • How might you have approached interpreting the content differently through the design of this exhibition?

I would have liked to see better lighting- some of the cases seemed quite dark. This would accentuate the mundane collectors pieces into an even more superficial state of worth. I would place focused lights on the most important pieces and maybe have drawn up a story connecting them.

  • How would you characterize the role of design in this institution, based on this exhibition?

As a non-profit, I think they are vision centered. They want to bring these items to the public, and the focus is more on the artifacts than design.

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