“San Lorenzo River”


Saturday, May 10, 2014

How many people exhibited objects?


How many people came but did not bring objects?



Posted by Pop Up Museum Intern Lauren Benetua

What was it about?

The San Lorenzo River winds through the heart of Santa Cruz, literally shaping its culture and history. For this pop up museum, we teamed up with the Coastal Watershed Council and invited participants and visitors to explore what they see in its bright future.

How did it go?

This was one of the more intimate pop up museums we've had in a while, but that certainly doesn't mean it wasn't exciting. The San Lorenzo River is a cherished resource and natural habitat in our native landscape. As the Santa Cruz MAH popped up at the San Lorenzo Park, people shared stories, ideas, and diverse  opinions as to what can be made of the San Lorenzo River. A reporter even came and did a story on the pop up museum which you can check out here.

Some community members envision the River becoming a thriving public space - complete with public art, vendors, community events, paddling, picnics, and other types of recreation. However, others feel the river should uphold responsibility to wildlife preservation  and continue to be a sanctuary for wild waterfowl. This pop up museum became an active springboard for different ideas as to what can happen with the River. While some ideas may conflict, we are happy to amplify the passionate ideas and stories of the community:

Participant's Ideas for the River's Future:

  • More public art
  • Plant and wildlife info guides
  • Animal tracks info guides
  • Allow dog walking at more designated areas
  • Music festivals
  • Innertube races down the river
  • Pop Up Vendors


Topics brought up by participants:

  • How does the River relate to homelesness?
  • Water politics - pollution, environmentalism
  • Economy - who benefits from the projected recreation?
  • Preservation - on native plants and a living river
  • The Ohlone perspective on River preservation

While our recent pop up museums have mainly propagated story telling, history, and memories, this one uniquely discussed something for the city's future and therefore surfaced some very strong feelings. It's amazing how the time frame of past, present and future can transform the energy of a community gathering. We can tell that the opinions expressed at the pop up museum was not the beginning, and definitely not the end. As participants of the community ourselves, we are interested to see what lies in the San Lorenzo River's future.


Digital Exhibition on Pinterest

Pop Up Museum on Flickr