Inspiration at the Museum

Yes! The museum is open today. We’re all dug out from the snowstorm and the courtyard is looking beautifully clean and white. Our natural surroundings are inspirational.

Which segues me easily into talking about the inspiration to be found within the museum.

One of the benefits of working in a museum is the abundant inspiration the collections provide. The Weyerhaeuser Museum’s collection is so large at this point that the inspiration is truly endless. Whenever we want to write a newsletter article or blog post, all we have to do is dip into a newspaper, select a photo, examine an artifact, or pick a subject box and we’ve got a story to tell.

I was talking about this with a regular researcher who also happens to produce a history-related newsletter. He was telling me how hard it is to find things to write about and I mentioned the staff’s ability to access the collection. He said, “But I don’t have a collection like that to draw from.”

Au contraire!

While we can’t let researchers go into the museum’s archives or collections storage areas at will for security reasons, we can pull out collections items purely for the sake of a researcher’s curiosity or inspiration.

We haven’t, however, made this access widely known, mostly because we didn’t have a mechanism to randomly pull something out for inspiration. Our standard Research Form implies that you have to know what you’re looking for, at least in general, when accessing the collection. We decided we needed a new form to complement the existing form, one that would allow for inspirational access and serendipity to guide research. To that end, we’ve created the Inspiration Form.

The new form, in addition to asking for your name and contact info, also asks, “For what are you seeking inspiration? – Art, Writing, Music, Other” and “What do you want to be inspired by in the collection? – Newspaper, Photos, Subject Box, Artifact, Book, Map, Staff Choice (Surprise Me).”

While we’ve long wanted to create a form like this, it wasn’t until my conversation with the researcher that the fire was lit to get it in place.

If you want to be inspired by the Weyerhaeuser Museum’s collection, please ask for the Inspiration Form when you stop in.


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