The Museum of London have finally achieved their ambition of acquiring the over-sized balloon representation of Donald Trump that was flown over London’s Parliament Square during protests surrounding the former president’s visit to London in July 2018.
The “Trump Baby” as it was dubbed has been on show around the world but will now be conserved by the Museum of London. The museum’s protest collection spans the past 100 years with items ranging from banners from the Suffrage movement right up to recent placards from public spending cuts protests.
“From the Suffragettes of the early twentieth century to the anti-austerity marches, free speech and Black Lives Matter most recently – the capital has always been the place to have your say,” said Sharon Ament, director of the Museum of London. “By collecting the baby blimp we can mark the wave of feeling that washed over the city that day and capture a particular moment of resistance – a feeling still relevant today as we live through these exceptionally challenging times – that ultimately shows Londoners banding together in the face of extreme adversity.”
Blimp likely to be displayed at new site
The museum says the balloon will “potentially” be displayed at the museum’s new home in West Smithfield. Last year plans for the £300 million new building were approved by the City Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee.
Sharon Ament said the museum will create spaces to “delve into London’s past, present and even to imagine possible futures. We will open these extraordinary buildings bringing them back into public use, at a time when Londoners are yearning to better understand who we are and how our city has developed.”
The new museum will be part of a campus of buildings along London’s Farringdon Road. Plans show how the Victorian market buildings will be turned into atmospheric galleries and spaces. “It’s a remarkable site,” said Ament in video conversation with Blooloop. “Promising a new cultural museum in a vibrant 24-hour area.”
Rapid response collecting
Museums recognise that current events are future history and race to gather meaningful objects that reflect changing times. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History collected posters, banners, signs and other objects of interest immediately after the Capitol Hill protest and riot on 6th January this year.
“As an institution, we are committed to understanding how Americans make change,” said the museum’s director, Anthea M. Hartig. “As curators from the museum’s Division of Political and Military History continue to document the election of 2020, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, they will include objects and stories that help future generations remember and contextualize Jan. 6 and its aftermath.”
The Smithsonian and other institutions also gathered material from the Black Lives Matter protests as well as objects related to the pandemic.
Meanwhile the Museum of London hasn’t finished with blimps. It now hopes to acquire the balloon representation of London mayor Sadiq Khan which was created as a rapid response to the Trump Baby.
Image: Photo by Dave Lowe on Unsplash