Berkeley Beats Poetry: Installation of Text into Sites – Interpretive Plan
We hope to physically incorporate Ginsberg’s poems at the sites to showcase their cultural and historical value. This means informing the public about the wider Beat Movement by including additional text about how the movement affected free speech, the gay rights movement, activism, and censorship. Instructions on how to download the audio tour, the crowd sourcing app, and information about the poetry showcase will also be included to bring our interpretive projects together. This will evoke the senses of sight and touch for tourists and belonging for locals.
Specifically, the plan for Ginsberg’s home is to place a historical marker where the cottage used to be on Milvia Street. The base would be shaped like an open book with Ginsberg’s poem “A Strange New Cottage in Berkeley”, the information mentioned earlier, and point out the John Greenleaf Whittier Elementary School poetry garden across the street inside of it. This would stress the themes of local history, beat poetry, and the legacy of Ginsberg.
For the Greyhound Station, we hope to have a permanent poetry exhibit occupy the blank walls near the entrance of the college. His poem “In the Baggage Room at Greyhound” would be placed in the center along with a portrait of himself and the background information. Poems created by the surrounding community and the students would be displayed as well which would generate a sense of community, belonging, and accentuate the themes of poetry, Allen Ginsberg, and physical changes to the landscape.
The project at the old Town Hall Theater will be challenging since there are plans to turn it into a Honda showroom. But, if we can get the building classified as a historic structure, it’s possible to stop the construction. So, we believe the best course of action is to implement our interpretive project. This includes putting the text of Ginsberg’s “Howl” on the café tables along with signs that explain the background information. This would emphasize the themes of beat poetry, performance poetry, Ginsberg’s legacy, physical changes to the landscape, and local history.
At the U-Save Market, we hope to invite people to walk down the actual “Supermarket in California” and to experience the sounds Ginsberg describes in his poem. We could do this by writing the poem and the background information on the front windows which would highlight the themes of Ginsberg’s legacy; beat poetry, local history, and physical changes to the landscape.
Although these proposed changes would physically modify the sites, they have already been heavily altered. Because of this, our proposed changes will not damage any tangible heritage. They are also sustainable and won’t harm the environment since they are small permanent additions. Instead, they will bring context to Ginsberg’s poems, show the importance of the history at these locations, and sustain the cultural heritage at these sites. All stakeholders will also benefit from these changes since business owners will see more customers and everyone will be able to learn about Beat history.
Read about our Short Term Implementation