Posts Tagged 'sense of place'

“A place is a story happening many times”

by Brent Carmack, Assistant Director, and Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

One goal of every museum is to provide opportunities for visitors to make connections between what they see and learn at the museum with their own personal stories. A new opportunity to make those connections at the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center went up a few months ago in conjunction with the opening of the Soapstone Prairie Natural Area.

One of the most impressive things about Soapstone is simply the vast landscape that overwhelms you when you visit that place. To know that people have lived and thrived on that beautiful, harsh, sometimes unforgiving landscape for over 12,000 years can be humbling and inspiring. For the people who lived there, that landscape was a part of their identities. For most folks, their own personal landscape helps define who they are and how they view the world.

At the Museum we give people a chance to learn more about the Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and its history, but we are also interested in learning about our visitors’ own stories. We posed a thought and a question to our visitors and gave them the opportunity to tell us a little about themselves.

“A place is a story happening many times.”  What place tells your story, and why?

This simple question has generated tons of responses, some funny, some sad, some whimsical, others simple. Responses come from all ages and several languages. Each response shares a little something of themselves, a gift to others who might read their story. Each response is an opportunity for further connection with the Museum and a chance for a little reflective thought—all goals of any museum experience.

Visitor's responses to the question, What place tells your story, and why?

Visitor's responses to the question, What place tells your story, and why?

We’ve collected some of our favorite responses and put them together in an interactive VoiceThread slideshow. Take a look at what some of our visitors have shared with us. The slideshow will advance automatically, or you can use the large arrow buttons in the lower corners to move forward and backward at your own pace.

We would love to hear from you, too — you can participate in this project even if you can’t come to the Museum. Here’s how:

  1. You can add your comment to any of the messages in the slideshow by clicking the “Comment” button at the lower edge of the slideshow frame. You’ll see that a couple of us have posted some comments ourselves. You can type your comment, or record a spoken comment and upload it to the slideshow. You’ll need to register for a VoiceThread account to do this, but it’s easy (really! Just your name, email address, and password) and free (bonus!).
  2. The very last slide in the show is where you can add your own story of place. Again, you can type in your comment or record it and upload it.

Or — you don’t have to respond at all, just pause for a moment and ponder the meaning of place to you.

(But we’d be delighted if you did respond!)

Why does this place matter?

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator, Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has a really interesting project going on called “This Place Matters.” It’s a photo-sharing campaign in which people use Flickr to post photos of themselves in places that are important to them. It’s interesting not just because of the diversity of places that people have chosen as important, but because it opens up some interesting questions. 

Why are places important to us? Author Barry Lopez wrote “Human beings, generally, seem to long for a specific place, a certain geography that gives them a sense of well-being.” Our places are part of our personal identity and our community identity. Here in Fort Collins we treasure both our historic places and our natural places and we work fiercely to protect them. At the same time, in our day-to-day routines we often stop consciously noticing our surroundings — we’re like fish that can’t see water. Which is why something like “This Place Matters” is a great idea.

Our special places are part of what tell our personal story and our community story. When we lose a special place, we definitely feel a loss. What places matter to you? Why do they matter? What do your special places say about you?

This Place Matters - Soapstone Prairie Natural Area

This Place Matters - Soapstone Prairie Natural Area

Let’s participate in this project and show off some of the great places in Fort Collins and northern Colorado. If you do decide to contribute to “This Place Matters,” take an extra minute and upload your photos to our Flickr group pool also so we can enjoy your places too!

 


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