This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, May 17 2019 2:11 PM UTC +00:00.
The Atlantic City Trump Museum Project was launched in the fall of 2016 following the closing of the Taj Mahal in October and subsequent election of Donald Trump in November. This larger effort, launched as a collaboration amongst several Stockton University faculty “To Help Share The History Of Atlantic City In The Age Of Trump,” and it seeks to provide “A Bi-Partisan Look At The Legacy Of The Trump Plaza, Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Castle, Trump Marina, and Trump World's Fair,” as stated on the ‘About’ page of the project website, www.TrumpMuseum.org. While there was initially considerable media interest in the project, including an article by the Associated Press and multiple local TV news segments that are noted on the ‘Media’ page of the website, momentum waned from the summer of 2017 to the spring of 2018, in part due to other responsibilities on the parts of those involved (in my case the need to complete my dissertation at Temple University, which I successfully defend in April 2018). After fully taking over the management of the project, in August 2018 I launched a series of ‘Pop-Up’ displays that I staged on Sunday afternoons.
For two hours every Sunday afternoon in August, after a one-week trial in July, I staged “The (Pop-Up) Atlantic City Trump Museum” exhibit, as I termed it, on the Boardwalk on front of the former site of the Trump Plaza, which closed in 2014. This version of the project, as stated on the ‘(Pop-Up)’ page of the website, “engages public perceptions of the term museum, as well as exploring relationships between local history and national politics by highlighting countries of origin of Trump-branded casino products from the 1980s through the 2000s within the context of the recent history of immigration into Atlantic City.” The Pop-Up immediately garnered media attention from websites and newspapers including Phillymag.com, the Palm Beach Daily News, and even Artnet News, while the exhibit attracted dozens of visitors each week, many that had read about it in advance. While this set up involved a table, bags full of artifacts, and a two-sided sign that “focused on the meaning of the term museum in this context” by “experimental framing of this exhibition as ‘Anti-Trump’ to gauge public response,” I learned the most effective manner in which I was able to convey information involved me giving presentations to groups of visitors.
My Pop-Up month has convinced me that, rather than immediately moving on to pursue a temporary exhibit in one fixed location, the best next-step for the project would be to reformulate it as a ‘Suitcase-style’ display that can travel to different locations, which will enable me to make public presentations on the topic, both raising awareness and offering a source of future funding for a temporary exhibition in 2019 and, hopefully, a Boardwalk storefront by the 2020 election. Funding will allow me convert the existing (Pop-Up) into a Suitcase-Style display, to acquire additional artifacts--such as rolling luggage branded with the name of a Trump casino--that will facilitate the creation of the traveling museum, and to create informative signs relating to the history of immigration into Atlantic City in the 1990s.
Risks and challenges
The main challenge I have encountered is that many people seem to perceive that my endeavor is political, based on the name, rather than historical. This has led to me to experiment with different approaches to properly framing my exhibition, which I now see as a public humanities project that is as much performance art as museum display and can benefit from support by various artistic communities.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter