EXHIBITING CREATIVITY: the UPCM exhibition manager brings the great outdoors indoors with “Winter Woods Wonder” | News, Sports, Jobs
8-18 Media Reporter
MARQUETTE – Has the Upper Peninsula’s cold weather kept you and your kids stuck indoors?
Carie Roberts, Head of Exhibits at the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum, flexed her creative muscles and brought the great outdoors inside the museum with the new temporary exhibit “Wonder of the Winter Woods.”
The temporary exhibition presents a small forest of evergreen trees surrounded by snow and icicles. Kids can test their igloo-building skills, spinning and whirling around on a “rink” in their socks, then sit around a play “campfire” with fake S’mores. The exhibition also includes two sensory tables on the theme of winter.
When designing fun new exhibits for the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum, creativity and artistry are a must. Roberts said she enjoyed creating art from a young age.
“I was a weird kid, I guess. I spent a lot of time alone, so I doodled and looked at books and tried to draw everything I looked at in books as a kid. And I didn’t realize that was who I was or that was what I wanted to do until I was much older. said Roberts. “Around high school, I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I’m good at, I’m going to go to college for art.’ So I got an associate degree in my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Her journey through life took Roberts to the Upper Peninsula, where she continued her art education at Northern Michigan University. She graduated from NMU in 2019 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art, with a concentration in sculpture. Roberts was then hired by the museum and began putting her degree to good use.
Being a designer for a children’s museum is quite a unique career and can be both challenging and rewarding.
Roberts said the hardest part is assessing which projects are feasible, logistically and tangible.
Through her work at the museum, she has also been challenged to embrace a bit of chaos.
“The other thing I learned here is just let it be,” she said. “That’s how it is. The museum is its own crazy little creation. It’s unlike any other museum I’ve been to.
Roberts explained that one of the benefits of her position is that she is allowed to make mistakes and try again.
“I have the freedom to create a way to try things and test them and see if it works – and sometimes it doesn’t,” Robert explained. “A lot of jobs are where you go in, do your thing, get out. It’s not the same as coming here and trying something and (realizing) ‘Oh, it didn’t work out,’ and then have the opportunity to try it again in a different way.
“It’s kind of funny that I chose the hardest career ever. I think being an artist is one of the hardest career paths you can choose. And being able to have a job where I using my diploma is one of the advantages of this place.
Each artist has their own creative process, and Roberts said her method differs depending on whether she is creating personal art or creating for the museum.
Roberts joked that his personal art is “unsellable art” yet she sold many pieces to buyers who appreciated her artistic innovation.
“Personally, when I make art for myself, there’s definitely a process that I go through,” she said. “I have an idea, either via a dream, or I see something, or I already own something, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m going to put this into a piece of art.’
“When I start doing something with this idea, I kind of have to gather my materials and all the tools that I need. Sometimes I don’t have the tools. And that kind of really puts a barrier to doing something if you you don’t have the right tool.
“And that definitely trickles down to the museum, trying to do things without the right tools. I think the similarities between personal art and creating art in the museum would be that I collect the materials, gather everything I need, and slowly work on things to make it similar.
“But the ideas, I guess, are what’s different, like the idea process. What I do at the museum is a completely different style of work than what I would do for myself. When it comes to creating in the museum, it usually starts with a need for something or a solution, something is broken.
The exhibition “Wonder of the Winter Woods” was created to meet a need of the museum.
“Winter for children, especially young children, it’s just too cold to be outside. So there’s a need to have activities to do indoors, and I think we’re seeing that with many of our customers who are regular customers,” she said. “And it was just a thought for these people, who come to the museum all the time, to have something new and different to entertain them. And of course, that’s ice fishing and sock skating. , these are outdoor activities and young toddlers might not experience these things until they are older, so it gives them the prerequisite to do the actual activity.
Will the museum continue to create temporary exhibitions? Roberts shared his hopes for the future.
“I really think that’s something we should continue. I think we’ll stick with a temporary winter exhibition because I think the summer months are a lot busier at the museum and that way , during the winter months there is something extra here to attract people.
The Winter Woods Wonder temporary exhibition runs from January to March. Visit the museum’s website at www.upchildrensmuseum.org for more information on purchasing tickets to take your kids to the museum to see the exhibit before they do. “fund”, this spring.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Annabella Martinson is a high school student at Marquette. She plays college tennis, is a member of the National Honor Society, and serves in a chamber choir.