Situating art in the context of the creator

Peabody Essex Museum case study

“It could take half a day to transcribe an interview manually. Using Pop Up Archive, all we need to do is generate a working transcript and do a quick pass for minor edits and corrections.”
—Chip Van Dyke, Media Production Manager at Peabody Essex Museum

Trying to understand art can sometimes feel boring or confusing — but Chip Van Dyke, Media Production Manager at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, MA, knows it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Peabody Essex Museum is one of the oldest continuously operating museums in the United States, and making art accessible is baked into their mission of celebrating “outstanding artistic and cultural creativity by collecting, stewarding, and interpreting objects of art and culture in ways that increase knowledge, enrich the spirit, engage the mind and stimulate the senses.” The content that Chip produces, largely in the form of videos of artists talking about their work, provides interpretation by situating the art in the context of the creator’s experience, perspective, and ideas. Continue reading

Moving beyond #blessed

Image: "Drumstick Dinner," by Wayne Thiebaud (2012)
Image: “Drumstick Dinner,” by Wayne Thiebaud (2012)

It’s easy to talk about gratitude — and much harder to practice it.

This week, we will sit down with loved ones to share food and, ostensibly, offer thanks over what we’re grateful for. So often, though, the purpose of this holiday is obscured by the stress of travel, cooking, and navigating familial tensions. To celebrate Thanksgiving, we’re sharing podcasts with two perspectives on gratitude: gratitude as an idea and a practice, and a personal story about a brief moment of thanks during a period of intense struggle. Both ground us in the spirit of this ritual. Continue reading

Third Coast dispatch: audio challenges and opportunities

Image: Chicago shoreline. Source: Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

We spent the weekend at the Third Coast International Audio Festival soaking up inspiration, ideas, and tools for making inclusive audio that reaches big audiences. Here are some of the concerns and challenges we heard.

Listening with empathy

Many attendees and panelists talked about the need to “listen with empathy” to the voices of all Americans. Much of audio storytelling is still dominated by white people who listen to NPR — people who hear stories and experiences a certain way. We need to move beyond that to new stories, and to listening that goes beyond a specific circumstance or detail of someone else’s life.
Continue reading

Four moments from the history of women in politics

Image: Suffragettes outside the White House in 1917. Source: Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

We didn’t elect a female president last night, but we did have another win: the number of women of color in the Senate quadrupled. They are part of a legacy of fighting for justice and equality. Today, we want to celebrate that legacy by remembering a few moments from the long journey of women in politics.

 Suffrage Victory—Virginia Maynard and Charles Levy (Pacifica Radio Archives)

The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote in 1920—after a decades-long fight started in 1848 by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. During that time, suffragists had to work tirelessly to overcome the objections and prejudices of those who worried that giving women voting rights threatened the morality of the nation.

This is what the suffragists who won women the right to vote were up against. share on Twitter

Hillary Clinton as a young woman
Image: Hillary Clinton as a young woman. Source: Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

 Wellesley, 1969—With her

Today, Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate for the highest office in our country. But in 1969, she was Hillary Rodham, a college senior who had been voted by her classmates to give the commencement address at Wellesley College. This original recording of that speech reminds us of the ideals, perspective, and background that made the candidate who she is.

Hear Hillary Rodham Clinton like you never have before (as a 21-year-old). share on Twitter

Image: Shirley Chisholm announcing her candidacy. Source: Wikimedia

 Shirley Chisholm: campaign and interview—produced by Miriam Rosen (Pacifica Radio Archives)

Shirley Chisholm is a giant in U.S. politics. Born in in 1924, she went on to become the first black congresswoman in 1968. After serving for seven terms, she ran for the 1972 Democratic nomination for president as the first major-party African-American candidate. Ms. Chisholm, for whom social justice and representing the underserved and unacknowledged was a driving cause, died in 2005.

Shirley Chisholm: “I’m a shaker-upper of the system.” share on Twitter

Image: Dolores Huerta at University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. Source: Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

 Dolores Huerta: Vice President of the United Farm Workers—interviewed by Maria Huffman (Pacifica Radio Archives)

Dolores Huerta launched the National Farmworkers Association with César E. Chávez in 1962 to improve the working condition for farm workers, and directed the first National Boycott of California Table Grapes. In 2012, Ms. Huerta was honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama for her contributions as an organizer and advocate.

“The farmworker is subjected to a brutalization… that is absolutely inhuman.”  share on Twitter


Here’s to the end of election season.
The Pop Up Archive team

Clippable quotes from political podcasts

Podcasts ramp up as Election Day nears


As the 2016 election season has ramped up to a fever pitch in the United States, a swath of political podcasts have come on the scene, topping podcast charts and publishing relentlessly as voters seek the latest news and commentary on the presidential race. With all three televised national debates behind us and just a week to go before voters head to the voting booths, the polls continue to shift. This recent quote from the FiveThirtyEight Elections podcast might sum it up best: “The one big question: is the race for president tightening? One word answer… Yes.” (Click the GIF below to see the tweet with audio.)


Many of you have been helping test our podcast clipmaker, which makes it possible to quickly clip podcasts quotes and share them on Twitter. We thought we’d take this opportunity to share some salient podcast moments with you:

And a throwback to earlier this year, when fiction author Brad Thor likened a Trump presidency to an “extinction level event” on The Glenn Beck Show, ultimately resulting in Beck’s temporary suspension from SiriusXM. (Beck’s show was reinstated shortly thereafter.) Upon further questioning, Thor clarified: “Hell no, I wasn’t talking about assassination.”


Got a favorite segment (political or otherwise) you’d like to share? Search for it at — if you see a scissors + Twitter bird icon on the episode page, feel free to clip and tweet away:


We’ll leave you with this segment on storytelling from Face The Nation 2016 Diary, where John Dickerson says, “There are no stories in presidential politics the way there used to be. Candidates used to tell real stories about human beings. …We know since voters vote based on emotion and projection, we should hear stories all day long.” He illustrates his point with an excerpt from a story Barack Obama told in 2008 at the Ebenezer Baptist church in Atlanta, Georgia.


Happy clipping — and for those of you voting in the U.S., don’t forget to vote!