Donated By

Collaboration with Michelle Illuminato

2011,  99-image video slide show, audio.


Taking the instructional filmstrip and family slideshow as inspiration, this particular version is focused on the Pioneer Oil Museum in Bolivar, New York.  Based on investigations of this museum and it’s collection we collected images expressing moments that may not always be noticed, details within the location and displays which speak to the present of the museum experience, the care given to historical information, and the convergence of time (past and present) represented in the display choices and depiction of fleeting moments.  The ‘slideshow’ includes ‘photos of photos’, charts, text, and other tiny details that provide the viewer with ways to understand the ‘today’ in the historical museum. The companion audio is a recitation of the texts that label the displays, written by local historians and residents, giving voice to the collective wisdom of value and place.  More specifically we chose to focus on the descriptions of objects and information that were donated by a named source, reciting both the information and a listing the individuals responsible for its inclusion.   The investigation of the specific choice of words used to describe the information in the museum provides a window into the local involvement with and importance of this collection of artifacts, images, and ephemera.  This spoken-word recitation of this text recalls the instructional filmstrip narrator as well as giving a present intonation to this information from the past and finding poetry in the recreated moment. Also available as a book Designed by Michelle here

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The slide show:

Auxiliary to this project: This slide show is from one of several visits to the Pioneer Oil Museum in Bolivar, NY. On this occasion we talked at length to Bill Green, Bolivar resident and former Allegany County historian.