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Greensboro’s Elsewhere lives up to its title of ‘living museum’ as it looked outward during pandemic

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Visitors who step foot inside Elsewhere Museum in downtown Greensboro know they’re somewhere special.

“Overstimulating, saturating, gritty, tantalizing, and a place for constant exploration,” is how Sophie Sanders, a resident artist at Elsewhere, describes the 3-story space housing a 58-year-old collection of things.

“If you’re a visitor to the space, meander, explore, touch, push buttons, throw rubber balls at the installation of musical instruments, don’t be afraid,” Sanders said. “It’s an anti-museum!”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Elsewhere to change the way it interacted with the community– focusing instead on virtual programming and outreach.

The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro has been a longtime supporter of the museum.

“We were able to go outside of our doors and really think about who was being impacted, and that was our black organizations that could have closed their doors permanently,” said April Parker, Art Admin and Resident at Elsewhere. “So we were able to have porch sessions, a drive-in music series to support and fundraise for the historic Magnolia House over on Gorrell Street.”

But after being closed to the public for 15 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Elsewhere is once again open.

“When you come in the door, we hope that you notice a difference in how you’re invited to help shape the living museum,” said Matthew Giddings, Executive Director of Elsewhere. “There’ll be a map at the front desk that shows where you can actually add to the museum, curate shelves, add to our digital archives. We’ll have new guest relations associates and youth staff who will be trained on leading workshops, giving tours and assisting the artists.”

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