Curators Kristen Gallerneaux (Curator of Communication & Information Technology) and Charles Sable (Curator of Decorative Arts) created a pop-up exhibit for summer 2019 inspired in part by maker values and maker culture.  The pair looked deeply into The Henry Ford’s collections, finding objects that had been broken, repaired, or created through improvisation—and acquired a few new artifacts along the way.  Break, Repair, Repeat: Spontaneous & Improvised Design shows that spontaneous design can be as trivial as using duct tape to fix a broken car bumper—or as critical as building a temporary survival shelter.

How does an 18th century teapot with a repaired spout relate to a hacked Speak n’ Spell?

Some objects in this exhibit have been altered many times, have led multiple lives, and served various purposes. They have been intentionally modified to serve very specific practical needs, or to share an artistic vision. From the traditional “make-dos” that originally inspired this exhibit to custom clothing—from pirate radios to handmade instruments—this exhibit exposes interesting collisions and connections, cutting across many of The Henry Ford’s collections areas.

Ultimately, this is an exhibit about unscripted innovation and the messiness of creative problem-solving. And the objects in it? They are intriguing because they are just the “right amount of wrong.”

Break. Repair. Repeat. will be on exhibit near the Gallery by General Motors, inside Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation June 22nd- September 15th.  It’s definitely a “don’t miss” during Maker Faire Detroit.


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