Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011
Dear Family and Friends of Michael’s Museum,
Here is a brief summary of the opening of MM at Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) on Navy Pier. If you were able to join us - it was wonderful sharing the magic and joy of the events with you. If you were unable to join us - we missed you and want to share the day with you in this brief summary. There is also a link to photographs of the events.
Having some 75 staff of CCM come through the two scheduled walk throughs on Thursday 5/12/11 was my first opportunity to witness the reaction of others than those involved with the exhibit and installation. Great fun to sit back and watch. The collections, miniature cup cakes, small glasses of milk, and party favors were enjoyed by all.
The Friday morning ribbon cutting ceremony was wonderful. It was attended by approximately 90 people. Being serenaded by the CCM Sometimes Band (Sometimes they are in tune, other times they are not.) was a first for me, the “Mouse Eye View of Michael's Museum” art piece commissioned for me by CCM to commemorate the day is hanging on my wall, and Jennifer Farrington's (CEO)  opening words were moving. 

I had the opportunity after the am ceremonies to spend several hours in Michael's Museum interacting with and observing the younger and older and even oldest visitors who arrived at CCM just to spend the day, not knowing it was opening day for MM. It was a joy for me to witness the magic that permeates the exhibit. 
At the risk of bragging, it seems to be an instant hit on so many levels, many of which I probably cannot even begin to perceive. I have enjoyed being a "big celebrity in a little room" and was asked many times to pose with children while the parents took a photograph.
The comments, thank you's, and pictures in the journal that lives on the curator's desk are touching and it is already half full. I have watched two and three year olds as well as seniors interact with the collections that are behind plexi as well as with the manipulatives which are strewn around the exhibit. Some people come and go, some return, others have lingered.
The "Coffee Table Seek and Find" has logged countless hours of involvement by young ones alone (magnifying glass in hand,) by adults, and by adults guiding their children through the activities. 
The Museum Mouse Entrance gets lots of attention with people of all ages lying on their belly to interact with the adorable rodent. 
The Smaller Entrance attracts people who can just walk in without ducking and those who have to crawl through (read adults.) I have seen some kids take knee dives and slide through the the Smaller Entrance into the exhibit (and out again.) 

Probably the most interesting phenomenon is that almost every time there have been visitors in the exhibit (which seems to be always) at least one little girl or boy has spent time with the feather duster cleaning the collections. Interesting that children so young even recognize what a feather duster is. More interesting is that they seem to be so involved in and thoroughly enjoying the cleaning opportunity.
At the celebration evening event on Friday over 300 people were in attendance and the "Joy and Magic Meter" needle was off the screen. The Great Hall was lit with a soft blue glow, conversation hummed musically, and the warm red-walled MIchael's Museum exhibit was crowded with excited, involved, amazed, amused, astounded visitors.
The following Tuesday I was back at MM as part of the Parent Program scheduling called “The Curator is In.” I just hung around to greet visitors and chat. In the two hours I was there, we clocked over 200 visitors who had just come to CCM for the day or on a school field trip.
Here is a link to an amazing analysis of the exhibit and the opening festivities that was written by a long time friend, educator, and artist Jan Yourist: Nothing small about that… | Nexus
Finally, here is a link to photographs of the events: Michael's Museum Photographs More photos will be added all the time so check back throughout June.
Thanks for being part of MM@CCM and thanks for being part of my life!
Michael, Curious Collector, Creator and Curator
Michael's Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures
At Chicago Children's Museum on Navy Pier
P.S. Fun sharing all this with you.

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