As the gallery walls come down, staff members are still working away in collections and their offices. Collection storage is getting inundated with artifacts that used to be in the gallery. Like the buffalo head, which once hung in the Tingley Store. Jana Brown is inputting data from the Howard Council Exhibition onto her computer. And Rebecca Royal is working in the Museum database, as she watches the front door. The Archives are still open by appointment to researchers; here’s an old Lawton Constitution book that members of the Lawton Heritage Association were looking at earlier today. Our plate, or should I say desk, is full.
The title works best if you sing it to the tune of "London Bridge."
Here are some photos from today and yesterday of the continuing demolition of the old Tingley Store exhibit. Watch this space--"Prehistory" coming soon!
So there's less and less to see out in the gallery, for now, and my eyes tend to be drawn upward. We have a really interesting ceiling. Lots of structural stuff about our building. Really makes the mezzanine level--where you're much closer to the ceiling--kind of fun. That's one reason we put our tinkering space, Upper Floor Explore, there. Sorry you can't see it in this shot (it's behind me) but it'd be dark anyway.
Thanks to a gift from the Terry K Bell Charitable Trust, we'll also be remodeling our retail area, and the surrounding foyer. In the museum itself, a former classroom space will be dedicated as the Terry K Bell Exhibition Gallery, where we will stage future temporary exhibits.
Right now, though, things in the shop aren't looking so good. All the merchandise is being packed and stored, and it's starting to look bare. But good things are on the way!
In Debby's January 12 post, she wrote about the Tingley Store. About 20 years ago, when the Tingley family closed their shop in Anadarko, Oklahoma, the museum purchased the contents. It's a huge collection of Native American objects, amassed over many decades, and one of the most notable parts of the museum's holdings.
In the old gallery, the store used to occupy a space that will become "Prehistory" after the renovation. The new Tingley Store diorama will be located in what is formerly "Dr Evans" office. From the outside, it will still look like a doctor's office, but on the inside, it will be like stepping into the Tingley's shop. These photos, showing prep work, probably don't communicate that very well, so you'll just have to use your imagination--for now!
Visitors to the museum will recall that we've had a General Store exhibit for some time, but it was in a different location than where the new Store will be. The old location will become the Council Saddle Shop. Howard Council, a great friend of the museum, died in November 2014. We'd hoped he'd be able to see the permanent exhibit--after the renovation--modeled on his shop, but that did not happen. Still, thousands of museum visitors each year will get to learn more about one of Lawton's most notable figures.
When we began planning the renovation in earnest a year-and-a-half ago, we realized the former General Store bears a striking resemblance to Howard's actual shop. A little more work and a lot of set dressing (you can see the space is vacant now), and maybe visitors will get an idea of what it was like to walk into Howard's store.
Here are some before-and-after shots of the former Bank, which in the new gallery will become the General Store. We'll miss the Bank, which is being moved into collections (where we keep most of our stuff), but the Store is set to become a very active area in the new gallery that visitors will surely enjoy.
A few shots from the gallery yesterday. The structure that formerly housed the exhibit cases is gone, along with the circular diorama platform. The exhibit cases themselves are now in the entry area of the gallery, and the collections staff is methodically emptying them. Most of the contents of the storefronts along the boardwalk have been emptied, too.
The Tingley Store is one exhibition that is being redeveloped for the Donald W. Reynolds Great Plains Discovery Center. The store layout will be totally different: one section with Museum artifacts; the other, with activities for visitors.
Here’s a beadwork component that will be in the store,
modeled after a version we saw at the Minnesota Historical Society.
Six tall cabinets from Tingley will now "live" under a new mini-mezzinine.
They just fit! More pieces of store furniture will be pulled from collection
storage for the exhibit. This will allow additional space to store other objects.
The exhibit team at Science Museum Minnesota has been working about a year-and-a-half now on our new exhibits. These are some shots of what's in the works.
From time to time, we'll post info here about what's going-on at the museum.