by Rachael Bogema
What’s the best way to get people interested in your organization? Lately, we have found that a fun, successful way to promote the museum and expand our visibility is to go to the people! Our traveling trunk has logged many miles recently, and is geared up to log even more over miles over the summer. Here’s a peek at where Chucalissa has been these past few weeks….
Samantha took the traveling trunk to two different career fairs! Atoka Elementary held a fair for their 4th and 5th grade students. The career fair was similar to a showcase event. Professionals from various organizations sat at booths and displayed different objects and items from their careers. Students visited each booth, asking questions about the specific professions. Many students asked Sam about archaeology because of the artifacts displayed on the table. She was so excited to tell them about anthropology and working in a museum. The very next week Sam traveled with the trunk to the Northaven Elementary Career Fair. This was very similar to the Atoka Career Fair in that it was a showcase event dedicated to various professions. Each student, between 3rd and 5th grade, asked questions concerning how careers fit into their studies. For example, one student asked which school subjects were similar to anthropology and history. By showing them artifacts and various items from the museum, they quickly learned that all subjects are important to know if they want a future career in museum studies!
After the careers fairs Sam passed over the trunk to me, where I shifted gears a bit, heading over to the Delta: Everything Southern Conference, at the University of Memphis. If you’ve ever wanted to spend the day learning about Delta history, culture, and folklore, this conference is for you! Chucalissa was graciously invited to set up an informational table at the event. I had so much fun speaking with dozens of individuals about the museum, both the history of our institution, and the current directions we are moving towards.
I will admit that I snuck into a few conference sessions for a bit! I got to listen to Kirk Perry, Secretary of the Chickasaw Foundation, give an engaging and informative talk on the history of the Chickasaw in the Delta. Perry discussed the Chickasaws as they were removed from the Delta, and how they have since returned to the area to preserve their cultural heritage. The discussion tied in directly with the current Chickasaw exhibits at Chucalissa, and made me feel very inspired about the initiatives we are taking, not only to preserve cultural heritage, but also to try and promote that preservation to the community. I also got to sit in on Jimmy Ogle’s quick listing on everything you may need to know about the Delta. The event was a fun way to celebrate local heritage, and a great way to promote the Museum to a broad and interested audience.
Our offsite visits are truly a labor of love- our traveling trunk journeys with staff to schools, festivals, conferences, and other events in the Mid-South area. With the contents of our trunk we can set up anything from an information table to educational programs similar to those we host at the Museum. In fact, for a small fee, we will even host a field trip at your school! We hope that our traveling trunk trips bring a sense of what Chucalissa is now to those who may not have visited in decades, or to those who have never visited.
As a small organization with limited resources, we are always seeking ways to accomplish big goals with small vehicles, and our trunk is just that vehicle! How does your organization reach audiences that may not visit your actual building? Where does your traveling trunk go? Perhaps most importantly, where else should our traveling trunk be going?