THEMUSEUM Community Stage: Friends of THEMUSEUM: Gayle O’Brien
Community members are a very important aspect of THEMUSEUM. Our staff and volunteers interact with members of the Kitchener-Waterloo community on a daily basis, and do their absolute best to ensure they are always entertained, inspired and enlightened. This past summer, Gayle O’Brien – one of Dave FM’s Morning Show hosts – stopped by THEMUSEUM to share stories about her experiences attending events. She’s been to Studio 54 and our past Christie Entertainment Series events, as well as countless exhibitions.
How did you first become involved with THEMUSEUM?
When I first became involved with THEMUSEUM it was actually when THEMUSEUM opened up, way back, and that was through family programs and seeing some pretty cool stuff. I have to say probably the most memorable was the Bob Marley [exhibition]. And what’s nice, when you have older kids, it’s an opportunity to do something a little more grown-up in your own backyard, and it was really cool to see that stuff up close. And the thing I really like about THEMUSEUM is the uniqueness of the programs. I’ve experienced a little bit of everything here, from Bob Marley to being at the nude exhibit. Taking chances too; you know, a lot of people think that museums play it safe, and what I really like about THEMUSEUM is that you guys take chances. We want to be pushed, we want to think, we want our boundaries to be stretched and doing that in a place where you’re being educated and informed at the same time is crucial, and that’s what I love about you guys.
You mentioned the Bob Marley exhibition, but is there a specific community event or program that you’ve attended or been a part of that has really stood out?
The Headphone Disco, by far. Not only was it one of my favourite times at THEMUSEUM – it was my favourite time at THEMUSEUM – I love the fact that not only was it something I’d seen done years before in Europe, I had no dream that that was going to happen in Kitchener-Waterloo. I thought if I was ever going to get to do that it would be in Toronto or Montreal, so when I saw it coming here – not only did I love it coming here – but the fact that Christie Digital, a company that’s involved in our community, it just felt so great and it was super fun. I was here to have a great time and dance my butt off, and that’s exactly what I did; I loved it.
Was there anything in particular about Headphone Disco other than its uniqueness to the area that really stood out?
What’s interesting is that you didn’t know what to expect. We walked in that night and I mean it’s a Saturday night, you’ve got your dancing shoes on and you’re ready to dance, and you walk in to a room and really all that you hear is the clicking of people’s feet on the floor. That was a little bit odd, and I kind of assumed that it was going to be the kind of event where you don’t really get to meet people because everyone has their own set of headphones, but I met tons of people. I met an MPP who I’ve never met before on the disco [dance] floor because of the Twitter wall; we danced it up, and that was one of the things I wasn’t really expecting to find, but people were here just to have a lot of fun. There was such great energy in the room, such a great sense of fun. It just felt like you were doing something really kind of different and adventurous.
Going off of that – the Christie Digital series – what factors do you think THEMUSEUM is putting out there that is drawing in young adults?
I have to say taking chances. I was really impressed that the nude exhibit was coming. Not only just with the artwork, but the series that was offered around it – the discussions – I was actually part of the media panel talking about censorship in the media, and what a great way to spin that off of a nude series of artwork because it’s a different way of looking at that. I found that you really had something for everybody. It’s just things that you normally don’t get to do, it’s an opportunity to try something new, and I love the fact that you take chances and stretch the boundaries. And in fact, with that exhibit, led the way and made it okay for other museums and galleries to open up and say “you know what, this worked for us” – I think that’s great.
So then how do you see THEMUSEUM as fitting in with the larger Waterloo Region community as a whole?
It’s such an interesting place because it is a lot of different things to different groups. There is the family aspect to it which is very strong with the dinosaurs that you’re doing now. The fact that you can do something with your kids here, and you can also come and do something with your teenagers, and then I can come here and be an adult all by myself and have a really fun night like at Studio 54. We’re all in the same building, but we’re doing many different things and doing them well and peaking people’s interests. That’s what I find really interesting about THEMUSEUM, that it’s so many different things. You get to be a kid and an adult all at the same time.
If you could use three words to describe THEMUSEUM, what would they be?
Fun. Thinking. Adventurous.