I curated a museum.
Not words I'll say everyday -- but, wow. It's true, and the end result is pretty impressive.
This May, the Connors State Development Foundation, a non-profit organization created solely to support and further the mission of Connors State College in Warner, Okla., opened the Ogdon Family Connors State College Museum.
Curated by Dr. Ryan Blanton and myself, and developed through the generosity of the Ken Ogdon family, the Museum features historical displays of Connors State College's rich history. Photos and memorabilia adorn the walls and cases, while two freestanding touch-screen kiosks allow visitors to read bios of hall of fame inductees and the college history, at their leisure.
With a previous marketing position at the National Cowboy Museum, and a Connors Agriculture Hall of Fame and historical display development under my belt, I was charged with designing a museum.
Thanks to grant monies and major donors, the space itself inside a former, offline dormitory, was a sleek, modern, clean slate with highly polished concrete floors, white walls, and industrial exposed vents and columns. A dream, really. The goal was to develop this open space into a historical story.
Looking at the floor plan, I knew we should create a flow for traffic through the space. To do so, we utilized freestanding display cases, strategically placed for grouping similar items, photos and memorabilia. I also envisioned an orange glass wall -- to direct traffic but not close off the space -- and found the vendor to make it come to life.
We printed (new) historic photos on archival quality paper. We created a home for the Alumni & Friends Hall of Fame and a new homage to employees who gave 10 or more years of distinguished service to the college -- plaques which were all-but-forgotten on a wall of an administration building and the library, respectively. We included two pieces by Native American artists, commissioned specifically for the college -- a mural and a mosaic feather.
We added bench seating for young and old to take in the art, or sit for a chat with an old college friend.
The campus has several historical displays in various buildings -- the McPeak Agriculture Hall of Fame at the Indoor Arena, the Athletic Hall of Fame in the Fieldhouse, Legacy Hall in the Library -- and several Halls of Fame (those mentioned previously, as well as the Alumni & Friends Hall of Fame.)
To keep the space clean, but offer a plethora of information at a visitor's fingertips, we chose to incorporate two freestanding, touch-screen, 55" kiosks. With that, I knew our best option for providing a wealth of information was to develop a website, linking all college halls of fame, historical displays and more. Connors State College has a rich history, as seen in these displays, but not one that was (previously) readily accessible online.
Enter Brooke, of Rural Gone Urban. We collaborated extensively to recreate digital versions of the respective Halls of Fame (Alumni & Friends, McPeak Agriculture Hall of Fame, and Athletic Hall of Fame) while highlighting the Connors Development Foundation, providing opportunities for online giving, and telling the college's rich history in a way that works when viewing both tiny, via mobile, and mega, at 55".
Hands down, this museum and website have been the most challenging and rewarding projects I've worked on, to date.