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"There is no separation between objects and subjects." —Daniel Miller, Professor of Anthropology, University College, London

Drawing from material culture, thing theory, anthropology, Museum education, and traditions of storytelling, Object Stories, the Portland Art Museum's new installation, is an open-ended exploration of the relationship between people and things, the Museum and the community, and the subjective and objective.

Do you have an object you would never give up? Something that lives on your wall, your mantle, or buried in the corner of your dresser drawer? Something that evokes a time in your life, a place you miss, or something you hope for? These connections between people and their things are at the heart of Object Stories.

Object Stories invites people and their objects into the Museum to tell stories about things that matter to them—whether a postcard, military medal, childhood toy, or an iPhone. These objects and stories will be captured and published to an onsite and online digital archive where they will comingle with recorded personal stories about Museum objects. An installation of Museum objects, selected and told by the public, will accompany the digital archive.

By putting ordinary things and the public at the center of its inquiry, and calling attention to the things we overlook in our lives, Object Stories ruminates on the ways objects make us as fully as we make objects, and the myriad ways objects speak to and shape who we are—our ideas, emotions, values, relationships, and aesthetics. Object Stories offers new possibilities to shift the relationship people make with museums, reshaping the institution as an organic, ever-growing repository made collectively by us of our stories and objects, mundane and exalted, personal and subjective.

Objects have stories. Tell us yours.


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