The Industrial Trust Company called 238 Main Street in Pawtucket, RI its home from 1901 until 1951. The now-vacant building once boasted a Neoclassical façade and luxurious interiors. Today, only the vaulted, copper-clad dome remains from the original building. The once grand facade was lost to the wave of mid-century urban renewal that so much of Pawtucket surrendered to. Doors Open RI featured this building in its fall festival. One of my favorite parts of the festival was the exhibit I collaborated on with curator Julia Lazarus in the storefront of 238 Main St.
We traced the building’s history through a timeline of archival photos and written text through the use of simple copy paper and colored tape. We provided guests with sticky notes to add their knowledge of the building’s past to our own and asked that they also offer their ideas for the building’s future. I think that a key part of the exhibit’s success was due to its unpolished quality. Because it wasn’t perfect, it easily invited intervention. The end result was deeply collaborative and totally awesome.