Friday, September 9, 2011

GHM Exhibit Visit

"Gate City"

     Walking into this space I wondered to myself, "What is the 'Gate City'?" The warm intimate spaces scattered throughout this exhibit, the interactive features and hidden treasures, along with the well portrayed 'town' scheme contribute to how I feel about this space.  I think for what it is and how it was designed the space works.  Repetitive features such as the buildings and rustic wood help gather all of the spaces together into a group.  There are some issues, but nothing that ruins the total experience.  Columns in awkward spots (blocking exhibits) and an odd second entry with a wonderful (but distracting) stain glass window.  As with the rest of the museum there is a deluge of information.  Items ranging from fire control, cinema, schools, hotels, and others.  Movement through the space isn't really guided once you are past the entrance.  It's almost a spoke with multiple directions to travel, but I think that adds some freedom because of what the exhibit is; a city with different venues to travel to.  The central unique tree helps to create that feeling and is a nice rest on the eyes from all of the man made forms (even though the tree is fake).  To help with that feeling it might be a good idea for them to incorporate some sort of natural light to the main space to achieve that outside feeling.  In conclusion I now know what "Gate City" means and how Greensboro once was.

"Down Home"

     The "Down Home" exhibit is a bit of a quandary in name, but shows more coordination in display then the curators probably intended.  What I mean by this is how the drab, almost unchanged floor, walls, and ceiling reflect some of the decades past within the displays.  Although this is obviously a poorly executed space (color and treatment wise) it is a little forgivable simply because it is temporary and the neutrality of the grey lets it adapt better to new exhibits.  The displays in the space are very informative and I greatly enjoyed the interactive additions.  In this space I started to notice how much new technologies are being incorporated into the exhibits.  Because of all the varieties of displays in this gallery it did seem that it would be hard to unify them in a permanent exhibit.  Moving through this small space is also a bit confusing.  There doesn't seem to be any order to it and there is a slight linear approach, but it becomes muddled toward the end.  Now that I think more about it, "Down Home" must be a unpersonalized title for how most of the exhibit focuses on the Jewish family and home dynamics.  I did enjoy this exhibit and the information expressed there, but I must say it was the least enjoyable visually.

Period Rooms & Pottery

     When searching for what was called the period rooms and pottery I almost walked right past the area.  The feel of the space presses people through it like a strainer.  The only thing keeping you from walking straight by is the blocking wall in the middle of this space.  The period rooms (the very few) are fairly well done in their decor.  The spaces and locations of them however are a bit lacking.  When you walk into the area three are located on the right and one on the left (in a dead end).  The exhibit viewing is different from room to room, but that may be out of an unknown necessity.  The darkness around the rooms does take away from their presence and the inherent importance.  The pottery is in fact very nice to look at and the instructional video adds to the exhibit.  It seems an odd space overall to be in.  Feeling as if it should be on the first floor as two separate stand alone exhibits in their own designed spaces instead of as a hallway in a sense.  Also there is a feeling as though these exhibits were placed here as a filler, almost a second thought.  This exhibit is both the closest in proximity and relation to the gift shop.  The shop, which reminds me of every other museum gift shop I have ever been to, is filled with books, pottery, and many other small items.  The sense I get from it isn't exciting, but is perhaps a little disjointed due to its location and scheme.


     "Visions" is by far my favorite of the exhibits.  The uniqueness of the spaces.  The interactive additions.  The linear directive, yet broken way of moving through the space.  All these things adds to the interest of "Voices".  The first major thing I noticed is theme.  Each room, or section has its own feel which helps guide you through that area.  The color coordination of the walls helps keep it interesting and engages the viewer to see the next room.  "Voices" is a great example of a timeline which can be interacted with and observed from all angles.  As for literally walking through the space there is a surprise element to it.  Walking through the purposefully half blocked passages there are hidden pieces of information and exhibits which also keep it interesting.  Visually my favorite pieces in this exhibit are the glowing pictures in the first room, the surprising large wagon, and the eye catching neon sign.  It could be argued that there is overly much in things to see, information, and pictures, but because the exhibit continues the multitude throughout all of the spaces it works.  And as far as the gift shop goes, I see reasons on both sides whether it should or shouldn't be there as it concerns this exhibit.

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