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Curatorship Exhibition Proposal

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Final Exhibition Proposal presentation for Curatorship - Principles and Practices (460.635.81), John Hopkins University, Museum Studies, 2009.

Final Exhibition Proposal presentation for Curatorship - Principles and Practices (460.635.81), John Hopkins University, Museum Studies, 2009.


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    • 1. Exhibition ProposalPresented by Chris Ubik, Lead Curator, National Museum of American HistoryDate August 18, 2009
    • 2. “Who are you calling a dummy?”:Ventriloquism and Puppetry as Popular Entertainment from Charlie McCarthy to Avenue Q.
    • 3. “Bob”✤ From the hit TV show, Soap✤ Created and voiced by Jay Johnson✤ Wood, cloth, and plastic✤ Permanent collection, National Museum of American History (NMAH)
    • 4. Exhibition Content✤ Showcase the pop-culture appeal of ventriloquism and puppetry from the Golden Age of Radio to today✤ Contain approximately two dozen artifacts ✤ Puppets ✤ Muppets ✤ Ventriloquist figures ✤ Marionettes ✤ Playbills, posters, advertisements
    • 5. Target Audience✤ Very broad appeal ✤ The pre-World War II “greatest generation” ✤ Baby Boomers ✤ Echo Boomers ✤ Generation Y✤ Anyone who has been captivated by puppetry or ventriloquism
    • 6. Main Themes✤ Celebration of the art of ventriloquism and puppetry✤ Enduring popularity of the art form✤ Willfull suspension of disbelief✤ Need for escapism in entertainment✤ Adaptability of low-tech entertainment in an increasingly high-tech world
    • 7. CharlieMcCarthy Figure✤ Wood and cloth✤ Created by Edgar Bergen✤ Widely recognized figure✤ Star of vaudeville, radio and television✤ Radio: suspend disbelief✤ Permanent collection, NMAH
    • 8. Howdy Doody Marionette✤ Wood, plastic wood, cloth, leather✤ Created by Buffalo Bob Smith✤ The Howdy Doody Show, 1947-1960✤ Strong pop-culture impact✤ Permanent collection, NMAH
    • 9. Lamb Chop Sock Puppet✤ Wool, cloth, plastic buttons✤ Created by Emmy Award winner Shari Lewis✤ Television career: 1957-1995✤ Legacy lives on in Mally Lewis✤ Acquire via loan from the estate of Shari Lewis
    • 10. Kermit the Frog Muppet✤ Cloth, cardboard, and plastic✤ Most recognizable puppet of last 50 years✤ Star of television and film✤ Addressed racial and ethnic differences✤ Permanent collection, NMAH
    • 11. Exhibition Organization✤ Thematically ✤ Figure/puppet/ marionette manipulation ✤ Ventriloquism and puppetry through history ✤ Willful suspension of disbelief ✤ The art of ventriloquism ✤ Popular appeal ✤ How it is done ✤ Timeline ✤ What makes an act successful ✤ The next generation
    • 12. Exhibition Design Considerations✤ A variety of media ✤ Explore the relationship between entertainment and ✤ Artifacts technology ✤ Audio ✤ Video✤ Interactive Learning Stations ✤ Hands-on learning ✤ Touch the materials
    • 13. Exhibition Team✤ Lead Curator ✤ Department of Education and Interpretation✤ Division of Music, Sports & Entertainment ✤ Office of Exhibition Services✤ Office of Public Affairs ✤ Department of Public Programming✤ Project Management Office✤ Technology Services Center
    • 14. Exhibition Publications✤ Catalog ✤ DVD included ✤ Intro by Jay Johnson✤ Website✤ Podcasts ✤ Reinforcing the suspension of disbelief
    • 15. Sponsors✤ The Jim Henson Foundation ✤ NBC (Television and Radio)✤ National Radio Hall of Fame ✤ United Service Organizations (USO)✤ Museum of Broadcast Communications ✤ Entertainment Industry Foundation✤ Vent Haven Museum✤ CBS (Television and Radio)✤ ABC (Television and Radio)
    • 16. Questions?