If catastrophe were imminent for the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and everyone served as curators, what would each snatch as he or she fled the premises? In a new online contest, the Center encourages would-be curators to gather 25 objects from the Center’s online collection into a virtual gallery—an assemblage of objects to start a new museum.
One frequent example of just such a disaster is very close to home for the Center. “Given that there is a massive, overdue Supervolcano just west of us, we often ponder what it would be like if it erupted,” notes Seth Johnson, the Center’s creator of the digital collection. “Without a doubt, the Center would be physically destroyed by fire, lava, ash, etc. Some speculate the eruption would be so massive that it would bring the end of the United States as we know it. However, geologists are quick to point out that Yellowstone’s Supervolcano probably wouldn’t erupt suddenly without warning. We would have at least a little time to gather our most important objects.”
The Center launched its online collection—information and images for some 22,000 museum objects—more than two years ago. Now it’s celebrating with a contest and prizes. Participants are encouraged to check out the contest webpage to find out how to enter. “Creating a gallery is quite user friendly,” adds Nancy McClure, Electronics Communications Manager, who collaborated with Johnson on the gallery project. “Already, we have some awesome entries; I’d encourage participants to take a look at them if they need ideas to get started.” The deadline for entries is December 4, 2015.
There are three winning categories of prizes: 1) The Supervolcano Superstar is that person with the most likes/shares on his or her Virtual Gallery page. 2) For the Museum’s Choice Award, the Center’s panel of experts picks their favorites based on carefully selected items and a short description about the choices. 3) Finally, judges select the Analytics Ninja based on the number of most unique visitors to Ninja’s gallery as measured by Google Analytics. Johnson notes that judges also will award third, fourth, and fifth place prizes. Visit collections.centerofthewest.org to create a Virtual Gallery.
“Naturally, we hope for many visitors to our website,” McClure says, “but more than that, we simply want participants to connect personally with our collections here at the Center of the West—and possibly plan a visit to see their gallery ‘up close and personal.'”
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s Facebook page.