This Halloween marks the opening of the KID Museum’s new mask exhibit, “Unmasking the Self(ie): Masks, Culture & Identity.” With costumes and spooky garb flaunted at every storefront, there is no better time to unearth the possibilities of a hand-made, one-of-a-kind creation. For our young makers, this means toying with the KID Museum’s vacuum-molds and plasters to make unique masks.
After shaping clay into masks, participants can take their piece to the vacuum-molder machine where heat helps mold plastic around every curve of the clay. For an even more intimate mask-making experience, plaster cloth is used to mold every curve of the participant’s own face! First, Vaseline is spread across one’s face and wet paper towels are used to protect the participant’s hair. Following a brief dip in water, the plaster cloth is placed on the participant’s face piece by piece. By the time the pieces are placed across the nose, forehead, cheeks, and everywhere in between, the layers of plaster cloth are beginning to set. In the grand finale, the participant smoothly peels off their mask in one whole piece. Lying in the participant’s palms is a perfect, plaster mold of their face that is ready to be decorated.
In this exhibition, the mask-making experience is not only personalized, but also connected to a transnational history that makes masks treasured, symbolic relics. Visitors are even welcome to try on the multicultural array of masks on display and take a selfie. But first, we ask, “Does the mask hide—or express—who you are?” For the many participants who get their hands dirty at the KID Museum, we imagine every mask expressing the depths of everyone’s inner creative!