Strandbeests, the fascinating creatures built by artist Theo Jansen are coming to the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in September. These sculptures move of their own accord and, as PEM puts it, “blur the lines between art and science, sculpture and performance.” I won’t try to write an interpretation of the art behind the Strandbeests, as I know I won’t be able to do it justice. I will just highly recommend that you watch Theo Jansen’s TED Talk, or read any of the several reviews of his work (like this one, this one, or this one – you get the idea). You can also just google them and spiral down a Strandbeest hole – I’ll warn you that when I first heard of Strandbeests, I spent a good hour just watching YouTube videos (like the one below) of the different creatures walking on an array of surfaces.
The exhibition will be open from September 19 through January 3. The Peabody Essex Museum is offering several opportunities to see the Strandbeests up close, and you’ll be able to see these creatures out and about throughout August and September at the following places (for free!):
Crane Beach, Ipswich
Saturday, August 22, 10 am – 12 pm Please note that there is a fee to access and park at Crane Beach. Visit thetrustees.org for more information.
Boston City Hall Plaza, Boston
Friday, August 28, 11 am – 1 pm
Dewey Square, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston
Friday, August 28, 4:30 pm – 7 pm
MIT Media Lab, 75 Amherst St., Cambridge
Thursday, September 10 | 3 pm – 7 pm Between 3 and 5 PM, Theo Jansen will join a panel with the PEM Curator of the Present Tense and MIT Media Lab associate professor of Media Arts and Sciences. From then, the Strandbeests will walk outside of the MIT Media Lab between 5:30 and 7 PM.
All of these events are free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.
The Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University is hosting “The New Tour: Innovations in Place-Based Storytelling,” a two-day conference to explore the challenges and opportunities associated with designing and implementing place-based tours.
Starting next week, we will be introducing a new series titled “Museums Gone Viral.” These periodic posts will look at different ways that museums are using the internet and social media to create innovative ways of enhancing education, discussion, and awareness. If you come across something that you think is particularly interesting or effective, let us know! If you’re interested in writing a guest post about something that your museum does on the internet, we would also love to hear from you. Jess and I can be reached at tufts.museum.blog[at]gmail[dot]com.
Keep your eyes open early next week for our first post in this series!
Throughout the spring and fall months we have many holidays honoring members of the military, both active duty and veterans. Many museums already partake year round, offering some sort of reduced rates for members of the military who provide a military ID.
But what about families? Particularly during the summer, when school is out and parents are looking for something to do with their children. Enter the Blue Star Museums program. This national program, which guarantees free museum admission for active duty military members, including the National Guard, and their families, runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It is a collaboration between the Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Department of Defense (not to mention the more than 2,000 museums that take part!). Many museums that offer this program extend the length of their free days, either through the length of their open season or year round.
This is a wonderful way for museums to offer their collection and educational resources while honoring the service of our military men and women. Whether you are a museum who wants to sign up for the program, or you want more information on the program, visit their website for more information and a map of all of the Blue Star museums in your state.