“fill in the blank” offers visitors the opportunity to transform the exhibition space by adding their personal ideas and works created while engaging in educational, industry-related activities. The interactive exhibition shows how work can be an opportunity to create, experiment, innovate, and grow something uniquely exciting and enjoyable.
The project is located at the Baltimore Museum of Industry site, adjacent to the outdoor exhibition on the waterfront. The intervention is an exterior addition to the museum that acts as an educational, interactive sculpture park and an extension of the temporary exhibits program available to museum ticket holders.
“fill in the blank” is composed of the three key spaces: printing, canning, and sewing which are connected via an assembly line that runs throughout the exhibit. In each of these spaces, the visitor is asked to interact with the machines and tools to generate a creation of their own. The visitor’s creations give shape and life to the exhibition: At the printing center, visitors learn how to use a linotype machine to create their own galley of type. These galleys are integrated to the wall, where they can be inked and used to produce printed material to be distributed on the assembly line. At the canning center, visitors watch how cans are made, receive one, attach a label from the assembly line, and display their personal can in wall-mounted tubes. At the sewing center, visitors learn how the thread and bobbin work together in a sewing machine. Two guests can work together to modify the panels of curtains, while also having the option to incorporate the printed material.
The exhibition connects to the museum’s story as well as Baltimore’s story. The sewing center speaks to Baltimore’s rich textile history; the canning center acts as homage to the Platt canning factory where the BMI now resides; and its location next to the waterfront is reminiscent of a time when Baltimore was an integral port city. The printing, canning, and sewing centers are an expansion of the Print Shop, Garment Loft, and Platt Cannery exhibitions inside the main building of the BMI. In this way, after visitors see and learn about the historical artifacts in the main museum, they can come outside and enhance their experience by being able to physically interact with these industrial processes.