The Wisbech Market Place, managed by Wisbech Town Council, is a bustling market area with stalls selling a range of goods from fruit and vegetables, fresh meat and fast food to bric-a-brac and clothing. On three occasions throughout March, April and May, we popped-up with our Egyptian coffins research opposite Costa coffee, suprising local shoppers.
During our three visits on March 28 (12-3pm), April 12 (11.30am-3pm) and May 22 (11.30am-3pm), we had meaningful engagements with 104 people and made impressions on at least a further 900 people. The Market Place was the first outdoor venue for us, which meant we also required the use of a gazebo kindly on loan to us from Wisbech Town Council. As opposed to other venues, people also spent more time with us at the Market Place. The average engagement here was 20 minutes with one person staying as long as 50 minutes.
Beyond the subject of our ‘Pop-Up’ Museum, the majority of conversations we had with passers-by focused on peoples’ personal travel experiences to Egypt, the lack of work opportunities in the area and current political affairs. Anecdotally, we also had some very memorable encounters with people at the Market Place. This includes one young man with a criminal background who was looking for a fresh start and expressed interest in volunteering at the Fitzwilliam Museum since his father lived in Cambridge. We also met a couple on a holiday house swap from Texas who said they were planning to visit Cambridge and the Fitzwilliam Museum the following day as a result of the ‘Pop-Up’. We also spent some time chatting with two mediums who believed they were the embodiment of the gods Thoth and Hathor. Both individuals were also very knowledgable on ancient Egyptian religion and spent some time chanelling the energy of the coffin fragments we had on display.