Saturday, February 9, 2008
Calling Maxwell Smart
Last month, I visited the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. I'd never been before, and was very pleased to find a fascinating place, filled with great shoes, of course, but also filled, throughout, with creative, inventive exhibition design in both permanent and temporary exhibits. So I thought I'd share some images here. Above, a shoe created by a student as part of a classroom project. All of these student shoes were beautifully displayed in vitrines, making me think that the students were thrilled and perhaps felt a lasting connection to the museum.
Entrance to permanent exhibition
Permanent exhibition: loved the use of color and pattern here and the way that the shoes were mounted low and a playful, curving band of images and patterns encircled them.
Below, images from a temporary exhibit on Roccoco shoes. As you can see, it's a plain black box of a room, transformed by interior walls, rococco style and chandeliers. The attention to detail even extends to the padding that the shoes sit on in the cases and the number"buttons."
Below: An exhibit on First People's (Native American) shoes from across Canada, divided by region. The large backdrops showing details from the footwear are printed in segmented banners. It took me a little bit to discover that the boxes pulled open, but once they did, they did a nice job providing additional information. What I didn't like here? The fairly extensive use of the passive voice in label writing. A stitch isn't laid down, someone does the stitching.
Below: a sort of open storage exhibition, showing off more highlights from their collection. Right outside this room was a large window into a lab where you could see conservators at work. What did I like here? The design was very simple but engaging, and where else could you see Napoleon's socks?
And finally, another student shoe--flip flop gone wild!