Pop-up history a hit, wins award

The Central Territory Museum has received a Best Practice Award from the Illinois Association of Museums for its 2019 commissioning weekend exhibit, Booth’s Place Museum Café, an immersive pop-up experience they hope to replicate with Kafe Stuga this June at the Music and Arts Festival.

A panel of professionals in the museum field selected the café for the award after reviewing the museum’s goals and objectives and how the exhibit event fit into its mission. The recognition further validated what the museum staff termed a highly successful event. Indeed, the interactive Booth’s Place Café proved wildly popular during the weekend, buzzing with activity and often filled to capacity.

“We wanted to provide a comfortable place for refreshment and fellowship, an interesting and informal space for learning,” said museum director, Nanci Gasiel.

Set amidst murals portraying The Salvation Army’s well-loved work in World War I and with the backdrop of popular 20th Century songs, the café offered a variety of self-guided activities appealing to delegates of all ages. For instance, they could play paper board games that would have entertained soldiers in World War II, pose for photos in a jeep cutout or commemorate family and friends who were veterans on a Wall of Honor.

In addition, delegates could help themselves to freebies like doughnut holes—which they did to a tune of 60 dozen—and squishy foam doughnuts for stress relief. The café’s theme seemed especially germane with commissioning weekend coinciding with National Donut Day last year.

Museum staff spent nearly 500 hours creating the exhibit.

This June at the Music and Arts Festival, the museum is planning to introduce delegates to a Swedish coffee house, Kafe Stuga, that hails back to the territory’s Scandinavian Division and was an early cultural expression in The Salvation Army. This multi-sensory experience will allow delegates to explore music and culture, relax and enjoy refreshments. Kafe Stuga will be open coinciding with Trade Central during the festival.

Like Booth’s Place Café, Kafe Stuga will be created with travel in mind in order to fulfill the staff’s guiding principle of bringing The Salvation Army’s history to people.

Nanci concluded, “We want to continue to find ways to bring the Army’s history to life.”

For more information on this or other museum exhibits and programs, email uscmuseum.salvationarmy.org or call 847-294-2136.

 

 

 

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