Five collections and exhibitions professionals from the Orange County Regional History Center, a history museum located in downtown Orlando, Florida, reveal their experiences developing the One Orlando Collection in the wake of the June 12, 2016, Pulse Nightclub massacre. Within days of the event, they began to collect thousands of Pulse-related objects left at public memorials or donated to the museum. Examining the origins of the project through the challenges of field collection, the effect the team’s work had on the community, decisions around exhibiting collected objects, and the professional and emotional impacts the job had on the team, this article suggests what other museum professionals in similar situations may be faced with should the unimaginable happen.
Rapid-Response Collecting after the Pulse Nightclub Massacre
Pam Schwartz, chief curator, has sixteen years of museum experience as a director, curator, consultant, and designer. She is a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums Accreditation and MAP programs. Pam currently serves on the advisory council to the onePULSE Foundation working to build the permanent Pulse Nightclub memorial and museum.
Whitney Broadaway, collections manager, has been creating museum exhibits and preserving collections since 2006. She was previously the conservator at University of Central Florida’s Special Collections and University Archives, is an internationally exhibited artist, and has a fine arts degree in printmaking and bookbinding from UCF.
Emilie Arnold, assistant curator of exhibitions, holds a master of heritage preservation degree from Georgia State University and a master of history museum studies degree from the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Emilie is a museum generalist with experiences in all aspects of exhibition development and working familiarity with museum archives and collections.
Jessica Domingo, One Orlando registrar, is currently pursuing a graduate degree in library science with a concentration in museum studies. She aspires to follow her love for the museum field, to continue to work in collections, and also gain knowledge in historic preservation.
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Pam Schwartz, Whitney Broadaway, Emilie S. Arnold, Adam M. Ware, Jessica Domingo; Rapid-Response Collecting after the Pulse Nightclub Massacre. The Public Historian 1 February 2018; 40 (1): 105–114. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2018.40.1.105
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