By Remy Sisk | Out & About
Before I mention anything about the extraordinary touring exhibit new to the Frazier History Museum, “The Hunger Games: The Exhibition,” I must explain my history with Suzanne Collins’ global franchise. I read book one in one day. I read book two in two days. I dressed up for all the movies – my favorite being my homemade Finnick Odair fisherman’s net costume for the second film – and told anyone who would listen that the Hunger Games series is as much a paragon of masterful storytelling as it is an incisive reflection of our society’s exploitation of violence and voyeurism. That is all to say I speak with some self-appointed authority when I say “The Hunger Games: The Exhibition” is an absolute must-see for anyone and everyone – fans of the franchise or not.
Made up primarily of costumes, props, set pieces and other artifacts from the four Lionsgate films, “The Hunger Games: The Exhibition” landed in Louisville on April 1, its fourth stop in an international tour, and will be in town through September 10. “The Frazier Museum was very instrumental in bringing it here; they really wanted the show badly,” explains Bryan Harris, vice president of marketing for Imagine Exhibitions, the producer of the project. “And it’s Jennifer Lawrence’s hometown obviously, so that had a lot of influence as well. And Lionsgate was eager to work out an arrangement to bring it here for all those reasons. It’s exciting to be here for sure.”
When visitors first walk into the exhibit, they begin to travel through the journey of the Hunger Games saga. First stop is, logically, Katniss Everdeen’s hometown of District 12, where we immediately see the original Mockingjay pin that is perhaps the most iconic element from the entire series. Next, we move to the day of The Reaping from the first book and film and see Effie Trinket’s now signature fuchsia costume. The exhibit continues on in just this way with recognizable moments recreated with elaborate set pieces and mannequins clothed in original costume pieces.
Moreover, there’s also an exciting interactive element to the exhibit. One of the most breathtaking is a replica of a Gamemaker’s table, where visitors can explore the world of the Hunger Games arena digitally and browse through different obstacles and elements of the Games themselves. There’s also an open space where visitors can become a tribute and learn from a virtual instructor as if they were training for the Hunger Games.
But it’s not all about the spectacle. The walls are decorated with informative plaques that explain in fascinating detail the roles of the various crew members who came together to make the four-film series as successful as it was. Other up-close highlights include the Girl on Fire dress, the Mockingjay dress and the Mockingjay armor. Katniss’ bow and arrows are also on display as is Cinna’s sketchbook. Videos play throughout the exhibit as well, and as you perhaps look upon a recreation of a scene from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” a video of behind-the-scenes footage will play off to the side to give viewers a deeper understanding of what it took to realize the District 13 scene you see before you.
It should be made abundantly clear that this exhibit is not just for fans. Appreciate them or not, the entries of The Hunger Games are unequivocal global phenomena, and “The Hunger Games: The Exhibition” is a genuinely astounding look at how a beloved story was able to be translated so well from page to screen. The eclectic array of artifacts from the films as well as the immersive facets of the exhibition will no doubt entertain everyone from the most devoted fan to the most dubious skeptic. Without question, when it comes to having not only an entertaining experience but also an interactive and educational adventure through the world of Panem and international blockbusters as a whole, the odds are most certainly in your favor. VT
For more information and tickets, visit fraziermuseum.org.
Photos by Tim Valentino.