When the Frank Gehry designed Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum was built in 1993, a space was created not only for exhibition, education, and experiences with art, but also for another ‘e’ – events. The space provided the museum the opportunity to stage seminars, lectures, symposiums, and concerts in conjunction with exhibitions and educational programming, as well as offer space rental for private events such as wedding receptions and holiday parties.
Private events records which contain such items as catering receipts, wedding reception schedules, diagrams of table and chair set up, etc., were considered incidental to the museum’s core activities, and thus not appropriate to the collection. The nature of the materials – credit card receipts and photocopies of personal checks – make it such that they cannot be kept without restrictions. These records were placed in confidential recycling.
Other WAM events however, those coordinated by WAM staff and provided for the public in connection to exhibitions or education and outreach efforts, provide insight into how the organization connected to audiences not only through sight – but also through sound…
This is evidenced in a series of events titled, “WAM Music,” a music series that featured regular concerts held at WAM. A few concert announcements were found amongst the records:
Music is still a part of WAM events programming. In the build up for the recent re-opening in October 2011, a music event was held not within the space – but on top of it. Local band The 4onthefloor played a lunch-hour concert on the roof of WAM which entertained students, staff, and University visitors who danced on the sidewalks and gazed up at the building while enjoying their lunches on the lawn in front of neighboring Coffman Memorial Union.
Rebecca Wilson is a graduate student in the Master of Liberal Studies program at the University of Minnesota, completing a minor in Museum Studies. She also serves as a Visitor Services Assistant at the Weisman Art Museum.