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On the Road Again, Artifcting Across the USA 

May 25, 2022

Last year we said that you’ve likely heard of the Smithsonian, The Met, and The Getty, and asked if you also knew The Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum, The Mum of Mustard, and The Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History. An eclectic mix aimed to get the most museum skeptical folks out there to explore! 

We couldn’t wait to return with a second installment of Artifcting Across the USA  and a new lineup of museums to add to your stops list this summer. We even went out on a limb and created a fun little map to help you out. Click the map to download your copy! 

Map of small museums across the United States

 

Introducing Five New Museums  

Just take me to the Artifcts of #ArtifctingAcrossTheUSA!

BOBBLEHEADS!

Yes, a museum just for bobbleheads in the vibrant Third Ward in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. And if you are surprised, just think about all the major athletes, hot button political figures, and even custom bobbleheads you’ve surely seen in person or swirling around in social media memes. Vintage, well, antique really, bobbleheads (aka “nodding heads”) date back to the 1760s. It’s hard to imagine these playful modern pieces in seemingly more stoic times, but history is history. Enjoy a bobble or two > 

GLASS ART.

Did you know the United Nations declared 2022 the International Year of Glass? Respecting its history and future, spanning the arts to life sciences, glass is taking its turn on the stage for the power it holds for good. Imagine our delight to share with you a few of the glassworks on display with the Bergstrom-Mahler Glass Museum in Neenah, Wisconsin, during this, the year of glass! There’s glass, and then there’s glass! Take a look – have glass art of your own to Artifct? 

Among The Museum's exhibits are a few pieces by the esteemed artist Johne Parsley (1916-2009), one of the great fine glass paperweight artists of his generation. His daughter, an artist in her own right, has kindly contributed additional pieces to this Artifcting Across the USA series and will Artifct more paperweights for your viewing pleasure throughout 2022 as part of the International Year of Glass. View @Joan-of-Art on Artifcts > 

BLACK ART AND HISTORY.

It’s the history of the making of a nation. It’s a history reconstructed with the perseverance and contributions of those who know the value of history to the future. It's the history of Black people in the United States. You need not even step into the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center in Austin, Texas, to begin the journey through history. A pathway behind the Museum is your guide, with engraved signage and messages. A statue garden commemorates Juneteenth and leaves a pedestal for you to "step into history ... take your place."

Of course, so much more awaits inside this modern museum to tell you more about Black history. You can also stroll through exhibits transporting you through modern Black art, representation in pop culture, inventors, and landmark institutions of the Austin area, including historically black schools and the Texas State Capital building, constructed by black hands. Step into Black art and history > 

THE UNEXPECTED, WITH A CITY 'VIEW.'

Museum exhibits take months if not years to curate and then assemble. The constant flow keeps museums alive and responsive to the times and adaptable to include modern history. But some museums, like the City Museum in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, take living museums to a whole new level. Imagine being a curator and showing up to work one day to discover a bus installation … on the roof. Surprise! This is not a museum for the timid or for the more conventional museum diehards.  

But don’t dismiss the genuine artistic and historical merits of the unconventional approach. You will find works from internationally renowned contemporary artists, an enthralling selection from among 60,000 glass lantern slides of the former Image Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, and physical artifacts from the local community and beyond, including historic components of St. Louis architecture and a vintage 1940 ‘Big Eli’ Ferris Wheel on the rooftop. Go on, be curious, and check out a few playful pieces on Artifcts > 

SWIMMING & DIVING.

Texas style. Well, at least with a Texas twist, because this is actually a teaser for a coming collection to Artifcts with the Texas Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame.  

Nestled in the halls of the The Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center at the University of Texas at Austin is a remarkable collection that is a treat for athletes who visit from around the country. The display was made possible because of the contributions of a former swim director who loves all things swim history and vintage gear and memorabilia. Some of his collection he’s kept for personal enjoyment—look at this signed postcard discovery—but much of it is now on display to remind us all how much a single sport has grown, changed, and shaped history through the decades. Here’s your sneak peek > 

We'd love to hear from you! Artifct your moments and discoveries at these and other museums across the USA and beyond as you travel this summer. Our histories shared are so much more powerful than any single object.

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We extend our enthusiastic thanks to the participating museums for their contributions. All rights reserved. If your museum is interested in contributing to a future piece in this series, contact Editor@Artifcts.com.

© 2022 Artifcts, Inc.

What's New at Artifcts
Show Me the Favorite Moment in Your House

From mementos to heirlooms, your home’s interior can be as colorful as you and your Artifcts. Some of us skew maximalist in nature, maybe because life is busy and we accumulate stuff, maybe because we’re our family keepers and don’t want to let go of it. Others of us tend toward minimalism, but maybe still rebuff the idea of a strict minimalist home lifestyle. Personally, I need to be surrounded by color, texture, and 3D ‘stuff’ that is meaningful to me. Don't tell me to digitize all of my stuff and be happy to let it go either. 

Now, don't get me wrong, like many, I dream of hiring an interior designer to simplify and beautify my space. I follow several on social media. But I’ve also always imagined a designer’s work to be incredibly challenging. Or is it only a client like me that's challenging? 

The last thing I want is a house full of thingamabobs from your local mega chain store, upscale design house, or otherwise. It feels impersonal, as though I’m living in a hotel - brilliant (maybe) but benign enough to please most. I want to be surrounded by family, friends, and memories, and that takes custom "Been there, done that," "She gave it to me when I was 10," "I got it when I traveled through Italy," stuff. The stuff of Artifcts. 

So, I met up recently with a couple interior architects and designers to ask, almost like therapy, “Am I difficult?” It turns out that, no, I’m not difficult or alone in this quest for meaningful stuff and life moments to surround me in my home.  

Allison Shields, Founder of AM Shields based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, shared with me how a home interior she designed recently moved her to reflect on how very different her personal design view sometimes is from her clients’ perspectives. And guess what? ‘Stuff’ was at the heart of it. 

"Everything I own has a specific story, a relationship to where it started. An object can throw me into a vortex of remembrance of that trip I went on. Even as a child, everything was curated and meaningful to our family. This client I had recently was the opposite. It was a shocking experience. They were not just minimalists. There wasn’t a book they’d read or photo of a family member incorporated into their new home. Nothing personal, and yet they loved the results.” 

 

Hallway with gallery of dozens of framed artwork on a deep red wall@AMSHIELDS "Hallway to Heaven" featuring her mother's art collection.

This type of depersonalized living is probably on the extreme end of home interior design. Maryana Grinshpun, the Founding Partner and Design Director at Mammoth Projects NYC, remarked that often people in NYC, no matter their wealth, do not have the luxury of stuff and clutter. There’s just no space! 

But even then, some piece or another will typically make an appearance in the design. “Clients usually will tell me even before I show up that they have something important, something that connects them with their story, that needs to be incorporated. For one client it’s grandma’s stool from the old country; for another, a surfboard. And why not? Telling stories through objects is compelling. And my job is to see the world through my client’s eyes, create that curated view, and build a design story around it.” 

Maryana and Allison agreed, too, that the greatest challenge as designer is that you start with a blank page each time. And the first line can be the hardest to put down. It starts to reveal the character of the people who live in a space and the space itself.  

Each Artifct can help define the first line in a more personal way than any Pinterest board you might pull together. As you look around at the moments that fill your space, we want to leave you with a few thoughtful tips and a few of our own personal Artifcted moments in our spaces to help inspire you: 

  • Here's a quick and easy fix: Try re-arranging. Space at a premium? No budget for a new look. Ask a friend or neighbor for ideas on how they would rearrange a key room in your home, like the living room. Then try each arrangment. You might be suprised how it breathes new life into your space. 
  • Sometimes it's not the space. It’s how you’re living in it. Don’t love living in your space anymore? Has stuff been relegated to the back of your closet or other storage space when it would bring you more happiness to be able to display and enjoy it? Might be time for a little help for a designer who can help you balance what comes out and make it pleasant and functional, too.
  • If you bring in a pro, try oversharing. You might have a lot of stuff, even too much stuff, but little or no inclination towards design. That’s okay. Be honest about your obstacles to date in designing your living space and bring the stuff into the discussion. Let the designer know, “This art is meaningful to us. Can you do something with it?” 
  • Objects can help with tight budgets. Few people have five and six figure budgets to commit to home interior design, so then what? Look again at what you already own and consider how your possessions can play into a new look and feel for your home. You might just realize you have this thing or a collection of those things that will help get the job done whether you're doing it on your own or bringing in professional reinforcements! 

   

Click any image for a peek into a "favorite moment" incorporated into one of our co-founder's homes.  

We’d love to be inspired by your Artifcted moments at home, too! Share with us on Instagram (@theartilife) or on Facebook (Artifcts). 

Happy Artifcting! 

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ABOUT THE FEATURED DESIGNERS

A.M. Shields. A design and interior architecture firm creating thoughtful, inspiring and unexpected spaces for commercial and residential clients. The A.M. Shields web site and portfolio are under their own redesign at amshields.com and am.shields.interiors (Instagram). Contact Allison at allison@amshields.com for a consult. 

Mammoth. A NYC-based design-build studio and one-stop shop for a seamless renovation, including interior design, construction, and furnishing. Check out Mammoth online at mammothnewyork.com or mammoth_projects (Instagram).

© 2022 Artifcts, Inc.

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Latest Features and Improvements | June 2022

In our March product update, we asked you all for feedback. Every conversation and every email since has been all about what you love most and what leaves you wanting more as you learn your way around Artifcts. Today we're delighted to announce two new *beta* features direct from the Arti Community available to you on Artifcts.com.

More photo options? More friends? We've got you covered!

RETRIEVE FILES FROM OTHER SOURCES

We hear you. Chaos in the digital age afflicts us all. Our clients consistently have to remember whether a video or photo they are looking for is somewhere in that great big "cloud," in one of numerous personal email accounts, on a desktop hard drive or removable backup, or somewhere else altogether. And if you're over a certain age, maybe you have CDs, floppies, or hardcopies yet to be digitized, too. Chaos, truly. 

Today we're moving another step forward to helping you Artifct despite the chaos. New to Artifcts.com, you may now add files from sources other than the device you're working on, including: Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, and Dropbox. This means less need to email, airdrop, or otherwise transfer files from place to place as you create your Artifcts. Just choose the file source and follow the prompts.

Create a new Artifct —> 

drag and drop or choose Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, or Box

 
 
 
 
Create an Artifct and try this new feature!
 
 
 

CREATE A NETWORK FOR EASY SHARING AND MORE

We also know clients feel frustrated when they have to dig for an email address or remember an Artifcts screen name to share an Artifct with someone. We're testing a second new feature that allows you to create a network to simplify sharing, searching, and inviting others to Artifct with you. You can add existing contacts from Gmail in a single click, add individuals one-by-one with name and email, or upload a CSV file that includes your contacts. Not sure what a CSV is or how to get your contacts into a CSV file? We have FAQs to help!

Create an Artifcts network with custom, Gmail, or CSV contacts

 
 
 
 
Build your network. Sign in and visit Account Settings > Content & Network.

Once you have added contacts to your network, you can click to 'Invite' them to join Artifcts for free. You can also follow them once they have joined Artifcts. 

Expand your Artifcts network —> 

 

And again, we're an email away at Hello@Artifcts.com if you'd like to share feedback as you give these features a test drive or as you dream of new blue sky features you'd enjoy as you make yourself at home at Artifcts.

Happy Artifcting!

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc.

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Father, World Traveler, and Now Downsizer: The True Story of One Man's Triumph Over 'Stuff'

World traveler and five kids. Need I say more to justify how so much stuff can accumulate over time?

At one point in my life, I was moving every few years - living in four different countries overseas in a span of what seemed like no time at all. I've lived the last 19 years in the same house without the natural “cleansing” of a move (although I’ll admit I once had a trash canwith trashthat got packed and moved). And now, as the fourth child goes to college and we have only one left at home, it's time to downsize. It's time to change the narrative of our daily lives.

The children's reactions so far have included stress, from the change, and frustration with the perceived erasing of memories as we ask them to realize they’re moving on and we want to as well. As a person who looks to logic to control emotion and justify circumstances, I try to rationalize that the memories are just that, memories that cannot be taken away. However, those memories are triggered by objects that connect me to a specific time or moment in my past. Objects that often have stories behind them. 

Picture of a cardboard box full of sticks, rocks, and railroad ties

 
 
 
 
Some people tell fish tales. This Artifct is about survival.
 
 
Click the image to view the Artifct.

I’ve realized during this downsizing process just how many of my memories exist in boxes that no one has laid eyes on for a decade or more. If I had collected an actual object to trigger each memory I wish I could recall, I would have run out of space long ago. I've also accepted that nobody, including me, will reminisce those forgotten times or places if those memory triggers are not available.

Along came Artifcts. As I downsize not only what's around the house, in my office, and otherwise a part of our daily lives, but also everything that remained in boxes for decades, I’ve started documenting them in Artifcts.

1980 yearbook from Stonewall "Sabres" Middle School in Manassas, Virginia

Well, hello yearbooks! Click to view the Artifct.

 

It’s much easier for me to share and show those objects, and more frequently recall and tell the stories, using the ‘story box’ (aka the Artifcts app) I now carry around in my phone. There’s little chance of me being near my real boxes of stuff when I want to humble-brag about an object or tell a story about a commonality I discover with someone I've just met. But I’m almost guaranteed to have my phone on hand and the Artifcts app with it.

With Artifcts, I’m also more apt to capture and preserve the objects and stories in the moment as I acquire something (or even sometimes skip the acquisition and just document the memory). Just as importantly, I realized I'm regularly using Artifcts to capture memories as I go through boxes with my mother and other family members, and I have them tell the stories. When a loved one is gone, or I’m gone, it gives me great solace to know my memories can carry on and be used to tell the next generation about what Dad or Grandpop had and did in life. All these little objects form a mosaic, painting a wonderful picture of why we are who we are.

Again, it's rarely the actual object that’s important. It’s the memories triggered by the objects. Artifcts has enabled me to let the objects go as I downsize, or consciously document the importance of an object I keep so my kids will understand what it is when I’m not around to tell the story. Until then, I want to easily access to my objects, or memory triggers, so I can tell the story in person. My kids will probably want a “number of stories told” counter added to Artifcts so they can limit the number of times I reminisce. But reminiscing is a parental right, right?

- Matt Ramsey

 

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc.

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