Museum London is turning to Londoners to help them celebrate its 80th anniversary.
The new exhibition pairs 80 Londoners from a wide range of backgrounds, with 80 items from the museum’s collection.
Keeping with the theme, curator Andrew Kear says they asked each of them to write an 80-word response to an object or artifact in their collection.
“We wanted to pick the people first, and then pick the objects based on that person,” Kear said.
Kear said people can write based on their knowledge and experience, and perhaps even bring forward some information that “maybe even museum curators won’t even know.”
Kear says some of the names will be familiar, while others may not — and that is by design. He said they range from people like Mayor Ed Holder to people who are more “grassroots,” and who may not make the front page of the paper every day, but who are committed to London.
Kear says most museums would use an anniversary as an opportunity to showcase their collections, but Museum London wanted to focus on Londoners first and the objects second.
“We wanted to start with the people, while we have an incredible collection of regional artifacts and art, Museum London would not exist if it wasn’t for the city and the people who have supported us.”
Museum London also collaborated with Anderson Craft Ales to create a series of 12 cans featuring art and artifacts from the collection.
Objects in this exhibition date as far back as the early 19th century (an embroidery sampler) to as recent as last year (a Black Lives Matter protest sign).
Originally organized as an in-person event for early 2021, the exhibition was moved online because of the COVID-19 pandemic
A full list of community members involved in the project can be found here.