“Objects of Conflict”


Friday, October 5, 2012


The Museum of Art and History (MAH) 705 Front Street, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060

How many people exhibited objects?


How many people came but did not bring objects?

roughly 100-150 (this number is a result of the First Friday crowd)


What was it about?

We all fight, and we all fight over things.

Conflict is an unavoidable vein of humanity, so the MAH collaborated with the Resource Center for Non Violence to host a Pop Up Museum on “Objects of Conflict.” The pop up explored the different things people fight over, and the stories behind why people fight.

We collaborated with the Resource Center for Non Violence invited people to bring objects that symbolized or literally caused conflict in their life, as a way to deal with past conflicts in a creative way. By creating an exhibit around the objects that cause personal or global conflict, we hoped to create a conversational space for people to share various perspectives on “violence” and “conflict.”

How did it go?

Despite the fact that this Pop Up took place during a First Friday at the Museum (a busy night where the museum is free and open late) the Pop Up Museum remained relatively small. But people brought objects from the intimate to the extraordinary: one man who desperately wants a beard but can’t seem to grow one brought a razor. Another man brought a bottle of water and talked about water conservation and desalination. One woman brought a swastika army patch, and spoke of the powerful, emotive forces of symbols. Other objects included a redwood tree branch, a digital camera, a cell phone, a fence post, an air raid helmet, cake, a Day Worker Center pin, a reflective slap bracelet, and a thanksgiving greeting card.

It was interesting to see the different ways in which participants interpreted the word “conflict” and how they chose to represent their idea of conflict through common objects.


Check out a digital exhibit on pinterest:

Read more about this Pop Up on our blog