February 12, 2011 - Portland Art Museum - Object Stories
February 12, 2011

Object Stories

Object Stories

1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR


Object Stories

“There is no separation between objects and subjects.”
—Daniel Miller, Professor of Anthropology, University College, London

Drawing from material culture, thing theory, anthropology, Museum education, and traditions of storytelling, Object Stories, the Portland Art Museum’s new installation, is an open-ended exploration of the relationship between people and things, the Museum and the community, and the subjective and objective.

Do you have an object you would never give up? Something that lives on your wall, your mantle, or buried in the corner of your dresser drawer? Something that evokes a time in your life, a place you miss, or something you hope for? These connections between people and their things are at the heart of Object Stories.

Object Stories invites people and their objects into the Museum to tell stories about things that matter to them—whether a postcard, military medal, childhood toy, or an iPhone. These objects and stories will be captured and published to an onsite and online digital archive, where they will comingle with recorded personal stories about Museum objects. An installation of museum objects, selected and told by the public, will accompany the digital archive.

By putting ordinary things and the public at the center of its inquiry, and calling attention to the things we overlook in our lives, Object Stories ruminates on the ways objects make us as fully as we make objects, and the myriad ways objects speak to and shape who we are—our ideas, emotions, values, relationships, and aesthetics. Object Stories offers new possibilities to shift the relationship people make with museums, reshaping the institution as an organic, ever-growing repository made collectively by us of our stories and objects, mundane and exalted, personal and subjective.

Objects have stories. Tell us yours.

Related Programs
Celebrate the public opening of Object Stories with screenings, storytelling, and readings by the initiative’s initial community partners Northwest Film Center, Miracle Theater Group and Write Around Portland on Saturday March 12th, 2pm

Friday April 22, 7pm

A funny, fast-paced night of spirited storytelling and fibbing around objects with Portland Mayor Sam Adams, Storm Large, and several “mystery guests.” Moderated by novelist and humorist Marc Acito. Will the real object please stand up!

Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR



Object Stories is a collaboration between the Museum and the Northwest Film Center; initial programming was in cooperation with Write Around Portland and Theatro Milagro. The project is generously supported by grants from the Metlife Foundation, the Lehman Foundation, the Kress Foundation, PGE Foundation, and the Oregon Arts Commission.

Image courtesy of Ben and Jeremy.

Object Stories
Portland Art Museum
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