The Main Street Museum is a fully a participatory museum, one that challenges the idea that a museum is purely an institution that conserves a collection of artifacts. The participatory museum asks more from the general public by providing an increasingly active role defining the cultural significance such a place imposes upon one’s self and the community at large.
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit for real, yes for the IRS, but more importantly, we are a non-profit in our daily work, in our hearts, and in our Mission. The Main Street Museum offers the opportunity to relearn that we can make our own culture. We can actively participate both in our democracy and in our history. We’re constantly making history even if we don’t always realize it. We can decide the value of things ourselves. We can evaluate the meaning of objects ourselves. So beware, and never, ever let some corporation or some academic, or some curator - even some alternative curator (at the MSM perhaps) - decide which objects are valuable and which objects are not. After all, as we said, we serve everyone. And that’s because, in the final analysis - it’s up to us.
In 2016 we being our 25th year of helping to preserve the past in a unique form of perspective. Permanent collections of the MSM include specimen of flora and fauna; exotic and thought-provoking examples of taxidermy; and anthropological items of interest from near and far. Temporary exhibitions in the Museum space create a venue for an ongoing conversation about the MSM’s mission between our dedicated staff and volunteers and our audiences; we have featured shows including scientific design, critical collage and text-based photography. We have been representing artists and welcoming audiences of diverse backgrounds to share and interact with past evidences and current experiences in a positively participatory environment. We believe in the value of participation for its potential to inspire creative contribution, collaboration and innovation. Our current programs encourage participants of exhibition openings, lectures, film screenings, live performances and musical concerts to connect with their life stories in the MSM’s distinctive space, and help us determine the direction our institution must take to best serve our local community – and beyond. The Main Street Museum’s vision for the future is to serve our visitors with more innovative 21st century skills. At the same time, we want to preserve the Museum’s traditional function as a cultural and educational institution designated to collect and archive stories.