Commemorating the Pilgrim’s journey
‘Pilgrims to America – and the Limits of Freedom’ examines the limits of freedom. The exhibition, designed by NorthernLight, is an account of the extraordinary journey of the Pilgrims early in the 17th century. They started out from England and spent 11 years in voluntary exile in Leiden, before setting sail for America to establish Plymouth Colony.
2020 will commemorate the departure of a group of migrants on the Mayflower 400 years ago, travelling from Europe to America to establish Plymouth Colony. Upon arriving in what they regarded as the New World, the Pilgrims behaved as if the land were uninhabited and they could assert their rights there, despite the presence of indigenous tribes.
Dealing with freedom
How did the Pilgrims deal with the limits they encountered in their search for freedom? And what does the historical account of the Pilgrims have to say about our present-day boundless liberty? This exhibition focuses on the decisions the Pilgrims made during their journey, with the emphasis on a historical, factual representation of their story. The story is told in 4 chapters divided over 4 rooms, representing the steps of the journey of the Pilgrims. An impressive graphic wall paper of the sky reflects the emotional state of the Pilgrims in that particular part of the journey. Paintings, maps, prints, drawings, weapons, books, goods and everyday objects are used to illustrate the impact of the choices they made during their journey. The objects are meticulously integrated in the graphic design. A historic model of the Mayflower, including original objects from the journey 400 years ago, are the highlights of the exhibition.
What does freedom mean to you?
Each room also contains a reflection space, in which you’re literally encouraged to think about your position with respect to the choices the pilgrims made 400 years ago: Can I Be who I am, Do I stay or do I go, Do I dare to start a new life and Your freedom or my freedom.Through these intriguing questions a connection is forged between the past and the present. With the Poetry hall, the exhibition has a poetic ending. Inspired by a number of quotes on the topic of freedom, visitors can make their own quote or poem with magnetic word cards.
We thank Museum De Lakenhal for the inspiring cooperation and Planemos for the production of the exhibition. NorthernLight was responsible for concept, spatial and visual design.
Photos: Roland Tilleman