As we round out week three of the work of the Extreme Exhibit Makeover teams, it’s clear that this project is unique because it brings together the world of reality television and museum work.
Leaving aside the team names, there are several elements of reality television reflected in this project.
In a reality television show, strangers often find themselves working with one another towards a common goal. They have to be able to quickly identify each team member’s weaknesses and strengths so that they can accomplish their goal quickly. Starting at the kick off, our teams have been communicating with the former strangers they now find themselves responsible to do just this. Each person has to clearly identify what it is they are each good at and use that skill set to accomplish their common goal. And although there aren’t any judges waiting at the end of each challenge to give score to a meal or an outfit, they all know that the end of the project will be judged by the ultimate reality tv show judges–the general public.
Another aspect of reality television shows is that often contestants find themselves voted off, sent off for losing a challenge, or just find the stress of being under constant surveillance too much and go home. Similarly, the EEM has lost a couple of contestants–at least one from each team. No loss has been as dramatic as we often see on TV, but mature conversations have led some contestants to decide that this isn’t the project for them at this time. Although we don’t have the drama you’d find on the real Jersey Shore (Angelina, anyone?), it has been interesting to see teams and individual participants decide what the best path forward is. In a situation where a team of strangers is working towards a shared vision, it is almost impossible for them always agree on the best way to accomplish that vision. So this natural attrition has taken place with the EEM.
Perhaps the most important part of any “good” reality television show is the expertise of the participants. Whether you have premier chefs whipping up a meal from a bag of goodies, models attempting to win the prize by doing the best runway walk, or a woman completely re-modeling your entire house while you are at dinner, most reality shows rely on expertise. EEM is no different. Each of our participants are highly skilled at what they do. Each is bringing their own knowledge, expertise, and skill set to the table. And we are very excited to see what they come up with!