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Audience-Curated Exhibit: Local Art Museum Celebrates 25 Years

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  • For its 25th anniversary The James A. Michener Art Museum based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania wanted to do something different. That celebrations were in order was obvious, but the Museum also wanted to give back to the community that so fervently supports it. It went about achieving this in a unique way by giving regular people a chance to take part in the curatorial process - a cloistered activity usually reserved for museum staff whose professional training gives them expertise on a particular topic or time period. With this in mind, the Museum launched, “The People’s Choice”: Celebrating Michener’s Top 25. Situated in the Michener’s Commonwealth Gallery, the exhibition opened on February 11 and runs through July 20, 2014. Beginning with a core of 125 pieces from the collection, the final highest-ranking 25 works were chosen via votes by visitors online and on site at the Museum. The voting took place over a period of seven months and encompassed a well-rounded variety of Impressionist, Modern, three-dimensional and contemporary works. Throughout this time, visitors were invited to share why they chose a particular work, why it was meaningful for them and what memories were evoked by a particular piece. Their comments were compiled and highlighted within the exhibition design. Several interactive elements included the Michener Memory Wall and a virtual gallery kiosk where visitors could see each other’s top picks, as well as, post their own favorites from the collection. The Museum will host ongoing events and programs related to “The People’s Choice”: Celebrating Michener’s Top 25. More information can be found on the Museum’s website at

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