THE OBJECT THEATER: THIS DAY
The Chippewa Valley Museum’s 800-square-foot “Farmhouse Theater” and the multimedia exhibition inside of it -- entitled This Day -- is complementary to CVM’s 5,000-square-foot Farm Life exhibit, which opened in December 2004 with major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
As an object theater, This Day is unusual in that it is both an exhibit -- 92 artifacts and 118 images set into an environment -- and also an ongoing 18-minute multimedia production, presented hourly every day CVM is open.
This Day presents a historical idea in a dramatic framework, which makes a moveable feast for the eyes. Object theater is not historical drama, but rather an exhibit put in motion.
In this kinetic framework -- through images, music, sounds, and the voices of real people -- This Day paints a picture of Chippewa Valley farming from its origin to the present day: to let both farm and non-farm audience members understand why people farm by telling stories of family life and letting farm families express their relationship with the land; and, to show that what is powerful about farm life has remained powerful through many changes.
This Day won the 2006 Wisconsin Historical Society Museum Exhibit Award. A three-member panel of museum professionals cited the exhibit's use of multimedia and its accessibility to school-age children.
Judging criteria included the exhibit’s reach of intended audiences; reliable, relevant and factual presentation of content; appropriate conservation or original materials; communication of a clear message; and a design that supports the exhibit’s ideas and theme.