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Tour Publicity Packet
TRACES offers several forms of help to hosts in publicizing a given up-coming exhibit showing – including press releases, a downloadable poster to hang in high-traffic public places and tips for more effective showings. Tips relate to more effectively reaching and teaching school groups, planning larger events in which to imbed the exhibit, where to most effectively hang posters and on what cycles to undertake primary publicity efforts.
First, contact local public as well as private school teachers – especially middle and high school teachers, in particular those who teach social studies, civics or related topics. Inform them and their administrators of the exact date, time and place of the exhibit showing. Also, draw their attention to TRACES’ web site, and to the exhibit narratives available there. Ask teachers to indicate whether or not they plan on bringing their students to the exhibit. If so, it is highly advisable to specifically schedule and balance school groups’ visits: The bus comfortably can accommodate 20 -30 students at a time. On average, a 15-20 minute visit to the bus exhibit panels suffices for most students, whereas the films each last about 15-20 minutes. Should busing needs dictate that, say, two classes come at once, one class can be addressed in front of the first display panel, outside, to the left of the bus entrance, and given instruction while the other class tours the bus interior: after an appointed time, the two groups can switch places, or one can view the films, while the second views the exhibit panels—or some other configuration. If teachers are unable to bring their students during school hours, consider inviting them to award extra credit for an after-school or weekend visit to the bus. In this event, it is recommended that teachers send a worksheet with the students to the bus, as that makes for a more personally meaningful and pedagogically effective visit.
Other Kinds of Learners
Contact any local colleges, universities or senior-citizen education programs (e.g. Elder Hostel) and be sure they know the exhibit is coming, as often it complements instructors’ courses in, for example, history, Holocaust studies, ethics, politics, etc. Other groups will also be interested in seeing the exhibit: civic and fraternal societies, church circles, youth clubs, veterans, etc.
Many previous exhibit-host communities have made a bus stop in their town part of a larger event or even a series of social or cultural events. A bus visit is an auspicious occasion to honor local veterans or to focus on wider issues involving war and peace: many libraries have displayed related in-house books or even pertinent artifacts (borrowed from local individuals or historical organizations) in their buildings for a week or more before the exhibit date. Some book clubs have read related works prior to the exhibit showing, and libraries as well as museums have made a bus visit one in a series of guest speakers or presentations. TRACES’ books make ideal foci for either your local public library/historical society collections or book –club readings; they can be ordered for pre-exhibit showing use at http://www.traces.org/shop.html. A bus visit is a perfect time to record local history. If the host cannot undertake such a project directly, often it can find others in the community (individuals or organizations, community-access/cable TV, etc) who will. Have an audio or video recorder on hand, and pre-arrange a quiet corner where project members might record willing senior citizens’ reminiscences of their experiences during WWII.
The downloadable poster is formatted to fit standard 8.5 x 11-inch paper. After you have inserted your institutions’ relevant information, make as many copies as you wish and hang them in places your community members most frequent, for example: grocery stores, gas stations, post offices, cafes, video shops, feed stores/grain elevators, gyms, churches, bus stops, senior citizen and veterans’ centers, civic clubs’ meeting sites, under the checkout counter of your library, museum(s), etc.
In the past, a successful sequence has been for exhibit hosts to work as closely with local media representatives as the reps are willing to cooperate. Ideally, a large article about the upcoming exhibit should appear in the week before the actual showing, with a smaller reminder appearing in the week before or even the day of a showing. Don’t forget to inform the various Community Calendars available in your community: they, too, will require adequate lead time.
We encourage a local host’s representative, who’s been organizing the visit, to offer interviews to newspaper, television or radio reporters in their community or region. Any interview spot is helpful, but live (even better, call-in) interviews are the most attention-catching. If desired, Irving Kellman, our exhibit driver, is available for pre-visit phone interviews. Irving’s cell phone number can be obtained from TRACES staff at 651.646.0400. Usually, the optimal time range for a live interview seems to be three to five days prior to a showing and not earlier, but sometimes with media a few weeks before is the best they can do.
Press releases for use by exhibit hosts, the media or other potential users come in three versions. The first is a Newspaper/TV Release, intended (intact or excerpted) for use in local newspapers, newsletters, email list serves, etc. The second is a Radio Release. Individual hosts can decide which variation they prefer to use, for which audience(s). Each should be tailored to a specific host by inserting the place, time, date and contact information of the local showing.
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