DIT sponsors a stand at selected industry trade shows and this year we were at the AAM show in St Louis, following on from a successful show the previous year in Washington DC. DIT’s reasoning at these events is that we are there to help and support UK companies, especially those not in a position to have their own stand. To this end we host a general meeting area with space to display brochures and we add an attractor. The meeting area is used by companies that have arranged meetings with their existing contacts and having a curated activity on the stand draws in new ones. This year we invited the V&A to demonstrate historic costume conservation using their upcoming Balenciaga exhibition. They told us there was no way they would let us have an original Balenciaga on our trade stand – BUT… they had some copies we could use to demonstrate the painstaking mounting technique used by museum conservators – and they’d provide a conservator for 3 days of demonstrations. As a counterpoint to this very artisanal work we also invited Collider Case to demo their augmented reality museum case.
We had 14 companies and institutions utilising our stand (double the number from last year in Washington DC) including national museums, VR companies, design companies and consultants. Most used us for brochure display and for meetings. As always at a large trade show there’s an element of luck and timing in who you meet and The National Museum of Scotland had a lot of interest in their Bonnie Prince Charlie touring exhibition as there has recently been a popular costume drama set in that period on TV in the US.
The stand was very well received with many visitors telling us it was the best on the show floor. The V&A demo went very well with their conservator fielding a lot of questions, the most popular of which was how could people get her job! We created a digital corkboard and uploaded photos as work on the costumes progressed so that people who missed the earlier stages of the work could see what had been done. Collider Case were consistently busy. DIT also uses these shows to train its local staff in the museums and attractions industry needs, so our trade officer from Chicago was also there to learn on the job.
Due to its location in the Midwest, the show was quieter than in Washington DC with even US buyers claiming it was hard to get to – but those that made the effort found it worthwhile.
Jonathan Robson | Sector Specialist | Experience Economy
Department for International Trade | 3 Whitehall Place | London SW1A 2AW | Mobile: 07827 449373| E-mail: email@example.com