Yes, I said collections care-centric graphic novel. Deteriora and the Agents of Destruction was created through a collaboration among the Indiana Historical Society’s Local History Services Department, Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette, and Purdue University Galleries. And believe it or not they took what is sometimes viewed as a mundane rite of passage for many museum professionals and turned it into an entertaining training guide.
I.M. Hero, an enthusiastic volunteer, begins his first day at the museum and realizes that it is under attack by Deteriora and her evil agents. Will the hero save the museum? How will he defeat the Agents of Destruction? Who will help him? Find the answers to these and other questions in Deteriora and the Agents of Destruction.
I’ve had the great pleasure of visiting the Indiana Historical Society on several occasions, and am proud to call several of their staff my long distance colleagues. When I heard about Deteriora – I was not surprised at all by the initiative. IHS has a very creative staff that has put on zombie programming, has had A Christmas Story living room scene for visitors to dress up in bunny outfits, and the amount of time, effort, and research they put into their You Are There experiences further exemplifies the organization’s dedication to education, outreach, and the greater community. Connecting with the community is something we all strive for (and sometimes struggle with), especially historical societies – I should know, I work in one. We’re constantly under fire to prove our relevance – you know, ‘cause our stuff is so old (truth be told the first time I typed that sentence I accidentally spelled staff instead of stuff – I am always so surprised when people are shocked that I work at a historical society). Why does old stuff matter when there are other places of cultural heritage/entertainment? That’s what makes this Indiana Historical Society initiative so exciting. They are doing a great job making relevance fun – and I’m so pleased to see that this project brings to light the things we “deal with” on a regular basis and puts it into a (literally) comical format. It’s fun for everyone. Museum pros, average Joes, and more.
And, if you’re looking for a last minute Halloween costume idea, consider going as your favorite collections super-villain!
Deteriora and the Agents of Destruction is part of the Connecting to Collections initiative and is supported in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project was developed in partnership with the Civic Theater of Greater Lafayette (Indiana) and the Purdue University Galleries which received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts for a series of Living Graphic Novel projects.