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Weekly jobs round-up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on March 25, 2015 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Public Lecture Tomorrow: “The Allure of Collecting Arms and Armor”

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on March 25, 2015 in events |

Thursday, March 26, 6pm

Hosted by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, at the Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street Cambridge, MA.

Donald J. LaRocca, Curator, Department of Arms and Armor, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

From dynastic armories and curiosity cabinets to Gothic Revival castles, private collections, and modern museums, armor and weapons have been methodically collected, studied, and preserved for their artistic and historical importance, beginning in the sixteenth century and continuing to the present day. This lecture will survey that legacy, particularly as it relates to the genesis of the major collections of arms and armor in leading European and American museums today, concluding with the growth and development of the Department of Arms and Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art over the past century.

 

Arts of War: Artistry in Weapons across Cultures, an exhibition at the adjacent Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, will be open following the lecture until 9:00 pm.

 

Free Admission. Complementary event parking in the 52 Oxford Street Garage.

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on March 17, 2015 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on March 10, 2015 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Discount for Tufts Students and Alumni at “To Kill A Mockingbird”in Boston

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on March 5, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Old South Meeting House, a history museum in downtown Boston (and the workplace of a number of Tufts students and alumni!) is offering a special discount for our upcoming screening of To Kill A Mockingbird. Check the Tufts Museum Studies Facebook group for the discount code, or email events@osmh.org.

 

March 26 at 6:30pm: To Kill a Mockingbird
Admission $8 — enter the discount code to get up to two tickets for $5 each. Discount applies only to tickets purchased in advance.
Tickets available at http://osmhmarch26-15.bpt.me
Light refreshments will be available for purchase
Doors open at 5:45pm for members, 6:00pm for general public.

 

Join us for the first annual ‘Movies at the Meeting House’ series. During 2015, Old South Meeting House will show three films based on books that were banned in various locations throughout the US, including Boston. Promoting free speech is a key part of Old South Meeting House’s mission – and our free speech policy was formally announced in the 1920s, when the banning of multiple books, magazines and plays by Boston’s Watch and Ward Society had spawned the term “Banned in Boston.” Soon after implementing its free speech policy, Old South Meeting House hosted a forum on the banning of Eugene O’Neill’s play Strange Interlude in Boston. In honor of this literary and free speech history, we have chosen to celebrate works once silenced for their controversial content in our first ‘Movies at the Meeting House’ series. Grab a friend and come enjoy the historic interior of Old South Meeting House like never before!

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Program in New England Studies scholarships available

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on March 3, 2015 in professional development |

Each year, Historic New England presents the Program in New England Studies, an intensive learning experience with lectures by curators and architectural historians, workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours of Historic New England’s properties and collections, as well as of other museums and private homes in the region.


 Do note they have several scholarships, including one specifically for candidates from diverse cultural backgrounds. Scholarships are available for graduate students, mid-career museum professionals  or preservationists to attend the program. Contact Ken Turino at kturino@historicnewengland.org for more information.

For more information: http://www.historicnewengland.org/events-programs/program-in-new-england-studies

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on March 3, 2015 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Self-Care for Museum Students

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on March 2, 2015 in The Wider World |
March is going to be a very, very busy month for me. So busy that I’m writing and pre-scheduling this post in January so that I don’t have to think about it. Since January is also kind of busy, this is post going to be lighter on analysis than most, but it’s also going to be on-topic. How do we take care of ourselves as museum professionals and grad students?

- I have learned from other grad students that it’s important to stock up on frozen meals for a few weeks before final papers and projects are due each semester. I often feel guilty about it at the time, thinking that I’m setting myself up to be unhealthy by not buying fresh foods, but during the couple of weeks that are really crunch time, it helps a lot to have well-rounded meals on hand. Remember you can always eat a salad and save the TV dinner for another time if the mood strikes, but you can’t save a salad for after the semester if you’ve already bought the ingredients.

- Don’t forget to take at least one session off every time you go to a conference (I learned this one the hard way). If you are at a hotel, chill in your room or go to the hotel pool or gym. If you’re commuting to the conference, take a walk or go to a nearby cafe. The amount that you’ll feel rejuvenated will be well worth the “missed” time.

- Speaking of taking time off, it’s important to take time for yourself when juggling school, work, and homework, too! Almost everyone will tell you this. I still struggle with feeling guilty for taking time for myself, some of the time, but I know that it works. I watch TV, swim, knit, or spend time with friends. Find the activities that help you take your mind off your to-do list and the things that you get excited about, and prioritize not losing touch with those things.
- Last but not least, go to museums for fun! It can be hard to turn work-brain off, and of course it’s valuable to analyze the exhibits that you see in other museums, but I think that having positive, non-work-related experiences in museums can be really restorative and energizing for museum professionals. After all, these are the places we’re passionate about.
Update from actual March: I am, as predicted, quite busy right now, and I have been for over a month and don’t see myself getting less busy for a while. In the interest of taking some things off of my plate, I’m going to stop posting The Wider World posts for a few months. The rest of the blog will update as normal!

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on February 24, 2015 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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GBMER Program Wednesday, March 18 at the Harvard Art Museums

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on February 24, 2015 in events |

See attached flier for details!

University Museums: An Afternoon at the Harvard Art Museums

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EMKI Open House for Musuem professionals and Museum Studies students

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on February 24, 2015 in events |

A Dynamic Laboratory for Our Democracy, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is designed to bring the history of the United States Senate alive – using technology to engage and inspire like never before. The Institute features a representation of the United States Senate Chamber, interactive exhibits, and a reproduction of Senator Kennedy’s office. The Institute is located in Boston on Columbia Point, next to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

Sneak Peak for Museum Professionals Staff, volunteers, and interns from local

museums and cultural organizations are welcome to a free visitor preview.

» Wednesday, March 4, 5:30 – 8:00 PM

» Refreshments will be provided

» Located directly next door to the JFK

Library, accessible via MBTA

» Please RSVP by email to:

programs@emkinstitute.org

 

Exhibit Preview_Flyer_Mar4

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on February 17, 2015 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on February 10, 2015 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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“My Intentional Practice” blog competition by Intentional Museum

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on February 10, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Calling all Students!  Enter our second “My Intentional Practice” blog competition

Intentional Museum is happy to announce its second student blogging competition!  We believe thattomorrow’s museum professionals will shape and change the field through their unique perspectives and new ideas, and, because of that; there is a lot we can learn from students.  New voices keep us on our toes and encourage us to consider alternate viewpoints.

We think a lot about intentional practice and would like to hear how students think about intentional practice and the impact it can have on the visitor experience.  To that end, we ask that you reflect on the following question: Through your intentional practice, how do you help museums enrich the lives of others?

Perhaps you find joy in drafting a collections care plan, ensuring that objects and artifacts are around for many generations.  Maybe you spend your time thinking about how museums can better use digital opportunities or social media to expand their reach beyond the traditional walls.  From museum education to exhibitions, visitor services to administration, regardless of your focus, we want to hear from you.  We often reflect on our professional experiences on Intentional Museum, but we appreciate the personal connection.  We want your blogs to tell a story, to speak about your experience, and to highlight your unique insight into the museum field.

Guidelines:
·         Bloggers must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree or certificate program and have an interest in museum practice.

·         Blogs should be no longer than 500 words and written in a conversational style.  Avoid jargon and academic language to ensure clarity.

·         You are welcome to share how the work of others has influenced your practice, but this isn’t required.  If you include quotes, be sure to include citations.

·         We have no idea what the winning blogs will look like – if you look through our past posts, you will see we tell stories, share academic insights, and sometimes we are funny.  We want to hear your story, so let your passion show.

·         Check your work carefully for spelling and accuracy.  While no one is perfect, winning blogs will be error free.

·         Email your entry to craig@randikorn.com <mailto:craig@randikorn.com> by5:00pm (EST), Friday, March 13, 2015.

RK&A staff will review all entries and publish the top one or two responses on the Intentional Museum blog.  Winners will be notified and announced at the end of March.  Winning blog posts will be shared with our readers in April and May 2015.  Winners will also receive a copy of one of our favorite museum books, Stephen Weil’s Making Museums Matter, with a personalized note from Randi.

How to Enter:
·         One (1) entry per blogger, please.

·         Send your blog as a Word document attached to an email.

·         Include your name, school, degree program and expected graduation date in the body of the email, with the subject line “Intentional Museum Blog Competition.”

·         Please do not include your name/identifying information as a header to your blog entry.  Each entry will be assigned a number to ensure unbiased review.

·         Email your entry to craig@randikorn.com <mailto:craig@randikorn.com> by5:00pm (EST), Friday, March 13, 2015.


Other Important Information:
·         RK&A reserves the right to edit winning blog entries for content and length.

·         Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond with their contact information for book delivery.

·         Books will only be mailed to those in the United States and will be sent via the US Postal Service no later than May 1, 2015.

·         If a winner does not respond in the allotted timeframe, an alternate winner will take his/her place.

·         Winners will be asked to submit a picture of themselves for publication with their blog.

Still have questions?  Contact us at craig@randikorn.com <mailto:craig@randikorn.com> , or ask in the blog comments!

Emily Craig, Research Associate, RK&A

Learn with us:
On our Website: www.randikorn.com <http://www.randikorn.com/>
On Twitter: @IntentionalMuse <www.twitter.com/IntentionalMuse>
On our blog: www.intentionalmuseum.com <http://intentionalmuseum.com/>

2417 B Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on February 3, 2015 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on January 27, 2015 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Happy #MuseumSelfie Day from the History/Museum Studies MA class of 2015!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on January 21, 2015 in Uncategorized |

When everyone in your cohort is in the history department lounge at the same time, you have to document the occasion. We’re not in a museum, but we’ll call it a #museumselfie because it happened on Museum Selfie Day.

 

10866153_10155045697135401_2431723535771342154_o

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on January 20, 2015 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on January 11, 2015 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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First Greater Boston Museum Educators Roundtable event of the year

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on January 11, 2015 in events |

Greater Boston Museum Educators Roundtable

Gallery Teaching Across Disciplines

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

1:30 – 4:00 p.m.

EcoTarium

222 Harrington Way, Worcester, Massachusetts

How do gallery teaching strategies compare across disciplines? What can history and art museum educators learn from science museum educators, and vice versa?

Gallery teaching is a fundamental skill for our field. Join us as for an afternoon of

practice and reflection at the EcoTarium. During this workshop, area educators

representing science, history, and art museums will lead attendees in interactive,

participatory gallery teaching sessions.  Reflective discussions will consider how

different teaching strategies can be modified to meet the needs of your museum.

 

This workshop is appropriate for educators of all levels and disciplines.

The EcoTarium is close to many major highway routes. Parking is always free.

Visit http://www.ecotarium.org/plan-your-visit/directions for more information.

RSVP on our Facebook page or contact Amy Briggs

at abriggs@danforthart.og or 508-620-0050, ext. 23

Like us on Facebook for discussion and networking

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on January 5, 2015 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs, this time covering the last several weeks. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Does the Status Quo Myth Hold Us Back? Part 1 of 2

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on December 31, 2014 in The Wider World |

Recent events, including Ferguson, the killing of Eric Garner, and the Black Lives Matter movement, have reminded many museums and museum professionals that we are situated in communities, and we need to figure out how to respond when our community is in crisis. For some, it’s not a reminder but a wake-up call. if you haven’t yet read the “Museums Respond to Ferguson” joint statement a number of voices in the field circulated a few weeks ago, I highly recommend it.

There are excellent resources out there for museums that want to embrace being a safe space to explore community issues of the past or the present.*  Many of them offer advice on working with museum leadership, boards, or stakeholders who are reluctant for the museum to do anything that could be perceived as political. Museum success stories demonstrate how many institutions find that addressing difficult issues can help meet their larger goals. But despite all this, many museum seem to have a hard time taking the plunge into meaningful, meaty engagement with community problems. Museums and their staff may be afraid to address community issues because they are afraid of mission creep, they worry that their funders will withdraw support, or they don’t know how. I want to suggest one more reason museums and their staff hesitate, one that I have seen in other conversations about political engagement but don’t hear discussed in museum circles often enough.
We believe that the status quo is apolitical. Getting involved in community issues, even as a forum for multi-sided discussion, is considered a political statement, while inaction or adhering to the status quo is not considered a political statement.

People have a natural tendency to believe that the way things currently are, the status quo, is the natural way for things to be. We also have a tendency to believe “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and believe that the status quo implies that something is not broken. For a somewhat technical explanation, look at Wikipedia’s section on “Irrational Routes to the Status Quo Bias” within the Status Quo article and the economics and psychology articles cited there. This translates to believing that the way things are is not political. We see certain things in society as a baseline which exists because of human nature and not because people made choices that led to these things. **

Because museums and museum professionals fall into the trap of believing that the status quo is apolitical, it’s easy to avoid engaging with community issues. It appears to be the safe route. As Gail Ravnitzky Silberglied points out in the second chapter of Speak Up For Museums: The AAM Guide to Advocacy, many museum professionals incorrectly think that we can’t advocate on political issues because of our museum’s nonprofit status. Within the museum workplace, the myth of the apolitical status quo can prevent even hypothetical conversations about exhibitions or programming around tough issues. Young professionals especially are taught that at work, you should avoid any topics you wouldn’t talk about at an extended family dinner, like religion, your love life, or politics. It’s solid advice, but it’s possible some of our caution is misplaced. We shouldn’t be afraid to “talk politics” if we can leave our party affiliations at home. Community issues happen around our museums whether we engage with them or not.

 

In Part 2 of this post, I’ll explore what museums and museum professionals may be able to do about this problem. For now, I’ll leave you with the first and probably only time I will illustrate a post on this blog with a GIF.

tumblr_m66qejpX0e1qfthydo1_500

 

 

* To name a few:

** Since I teach field trips about Boston in the American Revolution, I’ll use it as an example. Opponents of the American Revolution accused Patriots of stirring up trouble and being disloyal to English government. They argued that English subjects inherently owed a duty of respect to the King and Parliament. Patriots, on the other hand, argued that deference to the British government was not part of the natural order. Thomas Paine wrote, “There is another and great distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is the distinction of men into KINGS and SUBJECTS.” Yet many loyalists would not have described themselves as taking a political stance. They felt they were just being good subjects.

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Weekly jobs round-ups will be back in 2015

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on December 22, 2014 in Uncategorized |

Weekly jobs round-ups will return after the New Year. If you need your job postings fix before then (I completely understand — I’ve been there) here are some museums job boards you can check out:

HireCulture – Jobs in the Humanities in Massachusetts

HistPres – Unique Historic Preservation Jobs

Museum Employment Resource Center

Job HQ – American Association of Museums

American Association of State and Local History Career Center

New England Museum Association Jobs

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Visitor Studies in the Wild?

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on December 20, 2014 in The Wider World |

Raise your hand if you expect to be asked, “So, what do you do?” or “What are you studying?” more than once in the next couple of weeks. This is the season for parties with people you don’t know very well, friends of friends and friends of family. Personally, I’m still figuring out how to answer these questions in a way that satisfies both me and the asker. I’ve run into a fair number of people who think that the only jobs in museums are curator and tour guide, and don’t understand that I’m not currently either of those. However, a lot of my friends and some recent acquaintances also like to ask me my professional opinion on this or that museum they have visited – and while it’s fun to be asked, it’s hard for me to find an answer between launching into a full exhibit review and just saying “oh, it was cool.”

"He's an expert at the art of small talking." [In very small letters:] "Very nice weather we have today."

I want to share with you a new approach I’ve been trying out. As soon as I can, I turn the conversation to be about the other person’s experiences. I know, recommending that makes me sound like a networking coach, but there is a reason beyond the truism that people like to talk about themselves. I like to ask, “What do you think of that museum?” If they hesitate, I explain that I am really interested to know, because museum exhibits aren’t made for museum professionals,* they are made for everyone else, so it’s their opinion that matters. Sometimes this question is far too broad, so I ask, “What was your favorite part?” or “Was there anything in particular that stuck with you?” Recently I had friends tell me that they love the way the Museum of the American Indian is divided into small sections, each telling a story that’s fully independent of the others. I was surprised because the element my friends liked was the center of many critiques of that museum. I wouldn’t use one conversation as a formal exhibit evaluation strategy, but it gave me new information to think about.

 

Another question I’m learning to use is “What’s your favorite museum?” or “What’s the most memorable museum you’ve been to?” This can also be a fun icebreaker when you are suddenly making small talk with a small group of people. But beware, the last time I did this, I learned a lot more about an – um, anatomically-focused – museum in Iceland than I ever thought I would know. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to ask someone who says they don’t like museums what they don’t like about them. I want to ask, “Are there any exceptions? What’s different about them?” I also want to ask, “What do you think of when you think of museums?” The problem, of course, is that I have usually already blown my cover, and the other person knows they are talking to a museum-lover.

 

Have you tried this type of question in a social setting? What have you learned?

 

*Don’t tell that one very old-fashioned and inward-focused staff or board member at your organization that I said that. There’s one in every family (or museum).

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Serving as Collections Intern at Old North — guest post by Jessica Nelson

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on December 18, 2014 in Students' Stories |

Jessica Nelson wrote this piece for the Old North Foundation’s website, and Old North’s Director of Education Erin Wederbrook Yuskaitis, also from the Tufts program, suggested we share it here. Thanks, Jessica (and Erin)!

 

After almost 300 years of existence, an institution is bound to accumulate an interesting collection of objects. And having interned over the summer with the Old North Foundation, I can certainly confirm that this is a fact. I was brought in to be the first Collections Intern to work with the site, and as such had the opportunity to scour the site’s attic, basement, and many rooms. My responsibility was to document the works of art found within Old North’s campus. Although Old North is not what one would call a collecting institution, it is an historical site that has over time accumulated, often through generous donations from parishioners, a number of interesting and some valuable art pieces. One of the best ways to honor these donations and other acquisitions is through careful preservation.

Even though Old North’s art is not currently shown to the public in a crafted exhibition, it is visible throughout the Foundation and Church offices as well as in parts of the church itself. So as a student learning about the museum field, I was able to apply some of the museum world’s techniques when documenting the artworks at Old North. What exactly does that entail though? Well, I began by numbering the objects and creating condition reports for each one. These reports allowed me to describe the art piece detailing its materials and what it looks like as well as identifying if there is any damage to the piece. Creating these reports helps an institution keep track of the object and monitor how it holds up over time. After making condition reports for every object, I then took pictures of the objects as well. Attaching pictures to the condition reports is another means of recording an object’s condition and can help people who may work with these objects in the future more easily identify them.

 

The Foundation then ordered special archival papers and pens so that I could physically attach the identifying number I had given each object to the object in question. It is important to use archival quality goods as this helps ensure the marking materials won’t damage the art piece over time. I also had the opportunity to conduct some early research on the objects and how they came to Old North. Although many of the art pieces’ stories have been somewhat lost over time, there were a few active members of the church who were quite helpful in recovering their histories. All in all, the project went quite well, and hopefully the work I completed with the help of the Old North Foundation staff will serve as a good base for any future artwork they receive and help insure that all of their art is well preserved for future generations.

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on December 16, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on December 10, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Darkness Illuminates — Guest Post by Tufts Undergraduate Jenny Allison

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on December 8, 2014 in The Wider World |

A little over a month ago, I posted some of my own reactions to participating in the Slave Dwelling Project’s overnight at the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford.

Accuracy vs. Authenticity in Slave Quarters — Reflections and A Call To Action

Now, as the year draws to a close, The Slave Dwelling Project has posted a great 2014 wrap-up including descriptions of the many sites that Joe McGill, the project’s founder and leader, visited.

Below is a response to the Royall House and Slave Quarters overnight by Jenny Allison, a Tufts undergraduate who also participated.

-Tegan

“Okay, everybody ready? Turn your lights off.”

 

The darkness is absolute. Everyone in the room falls silent; our breaths are raggedy from the cold scratching at our throats. The only illumination is a hazy purple-ish color, seeping in from the neighbor’s porch lights.

 

“The family who lived here wouldn’t have even had this amount of light,” Gracelaw, one of my companions, mentions. “They had no neighbors. It was just their family for 500 square acres.”

 

If anyone would know, Gracelaw would. She serves on the volunteer board of the Royall House, a preserved colonial estate and corresponding slave quarters in Medford, Massachusetts. The estate is a working museum; local area residents can visit and learn about the Royall family, who inhabited the mansion over multiple generations.

 

But at night, the rooms are cold and dark. No electric lights cast illumination over the sparse wooden furniture. In the small kitchen, our flashlights gleam eerily over rows of identical engraved silver plates. In the pale reflected light, I stare at the boxy wooden table and wonder who might have sat there on other cold nights, staring at a candle or speaking in hushed tones.

 

“The slaves were here every night long after their masters had retired to bed,” Gracelaw continues. “They were always the last to go to bed and the first to rise.” She gestures to a meager pile of what looks like scratchy cotton pillows, lumped haphazardly in one corner. “One or two might have even slept in here.”

 

My breath steams in the light of my headlamp, and I wonder how people were able to sleep when it was so chilly every night. After all, I am here, at least in part, to commemorate their experience: I am here to honor the hundreds of slaves who slept every night in these very spaces. And I do mean hundreds—the Royall family documented roughly 500 slaves in their possession over the course of a few decades.

 

In the slave quarters themselves, there is electric light and heat; our actual sleeping experience is quite comfortable. Lying in the darkness, surrounded by the quiet breathing of a handful of other Tufts students and our adult companions, I do not feel distressed. Though the history below my sleeping bag is sobering, it is difficult to feel agitated when so many people surround me. Being able to share a heavy experience with even one companion lightens its burden. Part of this makes me hopeful—hopeful that slaves were able to find true comfort in their enslaved companions, their families, their children. There is power in sharing, especially when it comes to pain, and that power should not be overlooked.

 

As I stare up into the blackness, trying to make out the ceiling, I marvel at how significant my experience would be to someone descended from slaves. For as captivating, and as meaningful, as this space is to me, it is more personally meaningful to somebody else.

 

My thoughts on this matter naturally shift to musings about the importance—perhaps even the cultural necessity—of historical space. Knowing a history, a personal story, is one step, but being in a place where such a thing really happened feels different entirely. The cold and the darkness make the experience more real than objects in glass cases ever could.

 

My fingertips are cold. I wonder how slaves slept to keep warm—curled up in a little ball?

 

And what about people who do not have such spaces? What of Native Americans who cannot return to well-preserved dwellings and connect to their ancestors that way? How can they preserve their history in an equally compelling and meaningful way? I do not know.

 

The questions swirl in my brain—and I know deep down that we may never find their answers. But we do know how to ensure that we keep asking these questions—we do it by doing what we are doing, by doing what Joe McGill is doing. We bring attention to these spaces, and we interact with them, and we revive them and fill them with our energy, creating a sort of bond arcing back through the centuries to touch the people who were enslaved here so many years ago.

 

And as I lie there, curled in a little ball, my eyes sinking shut, I do truly feel as if I have gained insight tonight. Because even though I will never be able to know what it really felt like to go to bed each night a slave, I can begin somewhere.

 

We have begun here.

Jenny Allison

Tufts University 2017

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on November 30, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Museums in the News: November Must-Reads

Posted by Abigail Zhang on November 25, 2014 in museums in the news |

Too far?

unnamed

Unexpected election effects.

“unpaved the parking lot and put up a play paradise”

Make way for duck

Daylight savings time in a museum full of clocks

Museum on the move

Documentary review: Frederick Wiseman’s National Gallery

NYT notices Mass MoCA

New African American history collection online

Museum boom in Music City? Boston think so

 

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Afternoon Tea with the Boston EMPs!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on November 23, 2014 in events |

Afternoon Tea with the Boston EMPs!

Join the Boston EMPs (Emerging Museum Professionals) for a spot of tea on Saturday, December 6th at 2:00 PM. Hosted at Abigail’s Tea Room in the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, this friendly get to together is the perfect time to catch up with new and old museum friends. In addition to enjoying a cup of tea with some friends, we will also be discussing the 96th annual NEMA conference. From first impressions to your favorite session, what did you think of this year’s conference? E-mail us at BostonEMPs [at] gmail [dot] com with your name by December 5th to reserve a spot at this event.

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on November 22, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Announcement — Visitor Studies Association conference in Boston in 2016

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on November 19, 2014 in conferences, professional development |

The Visitor Studies Association (VSA) is looking ahead to its July 2016 conference in Boston and sending a special invitation to area Museum Studies students to get involved in the association.  Marta Byer of the VSA (and the Museum of Science, Boston) says “We’d love to meet your students and show them how VSA can help them as a professional resource in the informal learning field even before the conference comes to town.”

 

Join the Visitor Studies Association!

What is VSA?

The Visitor Studies Association (VSA) is a membership organization dedicated to understanding

and enhancing learning experiences in informal settings through research, evaluation, and

dialogue.

VSA offers an array of services designed to foster evidence-based practice, including an annual

conference, professional development workshops, and the peer-reviewed journal Visitor

Studies. Through these and other activities, VSA helps researchers, practitioners, policy-
makers, organizational leaders, and funders advance the field of informal learning.

How can VSA help Museum Studies students?

By participating in VSA, you can

– Learn and share information about improving informal learning experiences

– Connect with others in the field

– Gain access to visitor studies resources

– Become aware of professional development opportunities

How can you get involved?

There are many opportunities for members and non-members alike to get involved!

Check our website for all the details: http://www.visitorstudies.org

Some examples of involvement:

– Join the association as a student for only $30 a year

– Attend the annual conference

o July 14-18, 2015 in Indianapolis

o July 2016 in Boston

– Propose a conference session, panel, poster, or workshop

o Deadline for 2015 conference sessions: December 8, 2014

o Find more info at http://visitorstudies.org/conference-overview

– Share your e-mail to sign up for a quarterly e-newsletter

– Subscribe to the VSA listserv and join in the conversation

– Read Visitor Studies or submit an article

– Follow us on Twitter @Visitor_Studies and on Facebook

How can you learn more?

Feel free to contact Marta Beyer, VSA Ambassador, for more information: mbeyer@mos.org

 

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The JFK Presidential Library and Museum’s Exhibit, “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis” Lends A Voice To The Past

Posted by Brooke Traylor on November 19, 2014 in exhibit reviews, Uncategorized |

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, located along the waterfront just south of Boston, serves as the nation’s official memorial to John F. Kennedy. The institution boasts an incredible research collection consisting of over 8.4 million pages of paper, approximately 400,000 photographs, thousands of audio recordings, and 8 million feet of film. The museum also features a permanent exhibit that offers a highly immersible experience about JFK’s running for presidency in 1960 and the Kennedy White House years that followed.

I went to the JFK Library and Museum over this past weekend to see their current special exhibition, “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis.” The exhibit chronicles the daily events and conversations between the President and White House personnel as the Cuban Missile Crisis unfolded. As you travel through the crisis day by day, you get a sense of the gripping intensity faced under the threat of nuclear war, as well as the furious work that went in to preventing it.

Audio recordings throughout the exhibit not only magnify the event but they create a more powerful experience for the exhibit goer in that they add a human element to what otherwise would be an exhibit consisting of text and objects. As you wind through “To the Brink,” you have the opportunity of listening to various conversations between JFK and his advisors, from the initial debriefing on photographic evidence of Soviet missiles present in Cuba, to the President eerily grappling with, and saying, “You’re talking about the destruction of a country.” The recordings give a literal voice to the event and to history from those most close to it.

From jfklibrary.org

Along these lines, the exhibit examines the Cuban Missile Crisis from the perspectives of Nikita Krushchev and Fidel Castro through their own written words as well. This is helpful in that it lends a better look at what is considered to be perhaps the closest call to thermonuclear war in history.

For a total of thirteen days in October of 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis gripped the world. Fifty-two years later, this dramatic exhibition brings you back to those harrowing days as if you were in the midst of the White House deliberations yourself.

 

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is open every day from 9am to 5pm except major holidays.

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on November 17, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on November 12, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

[My apologies for the lateness this week; my home wireless router is broken! -- ed.]

 

 

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on November 2, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Visitor Studies Association 2015 Conference, Call for Proposals

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on November 2, 2014 in Call for papers / proposals |

he Visitor Studies Association (VSA) seeks to foster a sense of community among its members, who gather once a year to pose intriguing questions, explore diverse opinions, debate controversial issues, challenge assumptions and share their successes and their struggles—in essence, to learn from one another.

Taking Action for Improvement, Growth, and Social Change

The 2015 Conference will be in Indianapolis, IN July 16-18, 2015!

The 2015 conference offers a venue for presenting new research, findings, and methods and exploring higher level topics and questions of interest to the field of informal learning. This year, the thematic focus of the keynote and plenaries will emphasize the ways in which we can take action through our work. To take action, we need to develop ourselves as creative and dynamic leaders, as individuals and within institutions and organizations dedicated to supporting informal learning opportunities; this is the key to fulfilling our potential for public service. Come join the discussion.

The Call for Session Proposals is now OPEN.

The Call for Workshop Proposals is now OPEN.

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on October 28, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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The Massachusetts Historical Society’s Current Exhibition, “Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country,” Explores the Experience of Massachusetts Women in World War I

Posted by Brooke Traylor on October 27, 2014 in Uncategorized |

The Massachusetts Historical Society’s latest exhibit, “Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in the First World War,” tells of the Great War from a lesser-known perspective: that of American women. Featuring photographs, letters, diaries, and memorabilia, this exhibit captures the experiences of Margaret Hall and Eleanor “Nora” Saltonstall, two women from Massachusetts who served in France and Belgium as volunteers for the Red Cross.

The exhibit is simple and sparse, but the poignant voices of these women shine through. Both women witnessed some of the most climactic months of the Great War and both documented their experiences in great detail. Margaret Hall’s photographs serve as powerful images of battered and war-torn Europe. Hall’s large-format photographs, which are on loan from the Cohasset Historical Society, strikingly hang on the gallery walls. She captured various subjects with her camera lens, from the crumbling ruins of Reims, France, to candid moments between Italian soldiers outside of battle.

Eleanor Saltonstall wrote many letters home to her family while she was a nurse in France. It is through her words that we get a more vivid and complete understanding of what the experience as a volunteer nurse was like during World War I. In one letter dating from 1918 that is on display, Saltonstall explains why she is serving abroad. She writes, “Don’t look upon me as headstrong and seeking excitement; I’m not, but I have been hunting for a job which is real work and which is a direct help, even if it is the tiniest drop in the bucket, to the ultimate close of war.”

Accompanying this exhibition are powerful World War I propaganda posters heralding American patriotism and service. In “Persuasive Images,” the visitor gets a more broad sense of the war effort at home.

“Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in the First World War” is open at the Massachusetts Historical Society until January 24th, 2015. The exhibit is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

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Accuracy vs. Authenticity in Slave Quarters — Reflections and A Call To Action

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on October 22, 2014 in The Wider World |

On Friday, October 10, I had the unusual privilege of spending the night in the slave quarters of the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford, MA as a part of The Slave Dwelling Project, organized by Joseph McGill. This project is intended in part to raise awareness about slave quarters that still exist, and it got me thinking about what it means to have a former slave quarters as part of a historic house museum, what works, and what doesn’t. It’s a difficult subject to write about, because the past is full of powerful emotions and the future is full of hard work, but I do have some thoughts I want to share.

 

There is very little information about the slave quarters on the Royall estate. There is no surviving inventory and few or no description, so much of what is known has been determined through an extensive archaeology project and the evidence in the physical structure of the building. However, the building had been modernized by previous owners, which is probably the reason it is still standing, but also meant a loss of information and historical accuracy. The first floor was probably once three rooms and a kitchen, used by enslaved workers for their daily duties but not for sleeping. Now, it’s all one room except for the kitchen, and it’s used by the Royall House Association for talks, events, and other large gatherings of people. Often these events help visitors go deeper with the history of the site.The second floor of the slave quarters is a private residence. The first time I visited the museum, my friend who I had gone with told me afterwards that she was very disappointed, because she expected the slave quarters to be the big finish of the tour. On this visit, I learned that the space is used as the residence for a caretaker of the site.

SQ_meeting_room_with_staircase_kelliher_2013

The Royall House Museum and Slave Quarters has come a very long way in telling the story of all of the inhabitants from the period they are interpreting, but there’s still a lot that visitors are missing. The overnight I spent there helped me understanding just how huge the gaps in the story are. On a typical tour, visitors are guided through the colonial mansion on the property and told the story of the intertwined lives of the Royall family and the people they held as their slaves, and that’s an important story to tell, but it’s one that a historic site can tell whether or not the site includes still-standing slave quarters.

 

The colonial mansion is a different story; every room is filled with period furnishings, some owned by the Royalls. The contrast between the slave quarters and the mansion illustrates a familiar problem in museum work, which is that the belongings of wealthy and privileged people have been preserved over time, and the belongings of the poor and enslaved were used until they fell apart or were discarded. There simply isn’t the same stuff available. Yet, a few years ago, the Royall House Association transformed two rooms in the mansion from a colonial revival treatment they had used for decades into historically accurate spaces. Using an inventory of the house written as part of the executing of the first owner’s will, the Association started bRH_winter_kitchen_loan_exhibitiony taking erroneous items out of the chamber above the kitchen, and talking to visitors in an empty room. Once they secured the funding, they added the objects that would have actually been there (mostly replicas). Through an incredible amount of work and dedication, the house is now quite accurate to the inventory.

 

spitjack_300dpi

Accuracy takes on a different meaning when you are sleeping in the place that was once the site of someone’s captivity. The whole Slave Dwelling Project takes a lot of imagination. Each participant works to imagine ourselves in the past, even though we cannot recreate the enslaved Africans’ experience. So in the spirit of the project, imagine with me: what if recreating the slave quarters to look and feel as it did in the mid-eighteenth century were a priority? A lot would be conjecture, of course. The project leaders might find it difficult to spend time and money installing an exhibit when they knew how much research there was still to be done, but there will always be more research to do. Historic house museums have always relied at least a little bit on conjecture. A few generations ago, many historic house museums were downright fanciful, with highly romanticized visions of the past influencing every element. It would be a shame to let trends toward accuracy hold the museum field back from achieving more authenticity. After all, the purpose of making historic houses accurate is to make them represent the past authentically, isn’t it? Every museum finds a balance between presenting only what they can confirm and presenting their best guesses about the past in order to fill in the gaps in the documented story.
Museums need to take the initiative to tell the stories of enslaved workers more concretely. I don’t fault the Royall House for the fact that the “slave quarters” I slept in for one night was a well-insulated room with a hardwood floor. They have already done amazing work transforming their interpretation into something more honest than it had been. Now, other museums should emulate them but take it a step further. Of course, this work is time-consuming and expensive, so maybe I should be calling on funders and foundations to get on board.  Who is up to the challenge?

 

All images from www.royallhouse.org

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on October 19, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on October 13, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Museums in the News

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on October 6, 2014 in museums in the news |

Greetings!
Welcome to Museums in the News. Through this column, I hope to help all of us be a little more informed and aware of the general “buzz” of the museum industry, as it is covered in mainstream news outlets. I’ll pull together a handful of stories each month, and then turn it over to you to provide comments, draw connections, and levy thoughtful critiques.
All the best,
Abigail Zhang
M.A. student, Museum Education

 

In Washington, the Corcoran laid to rest in peace
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/an-empty-tomb-former-corcoran-staffers-hold-funeral-for-museum/2014/09/27/4cbab02a-4688-11e4-9a15-137aa0153527_story.html?tid=hpModule_d39b60e8-8691-11e2-9d71-f0feafdd1394

In Chicago, the Field Museum hosts “show and tell”
http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/09/27/field-museum-holds-its-first-ever-identification-day/

NPR tells the story of art forger Mark Landis
http://www.npr.org/2014/09/27/351738720/art-craft-explores-how-one-forger-duped-more-than-45-museums

California National Guard closes military museum due to missing artifacts
http://www.kcra.com/news/missing-artifacts-prompt-military-to-close-old-sac-museum/28264568

Kudos to the staff of the Quebec Museum of Civilization
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-museum-fire-quick-thinking-staff-saved-artifacts-1.2767763

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on October 6, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on September 29, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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What I did… right after my summer vacation

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on September 24, 2014 in The Wider World |

At the start of the semester, I did something I had never done before. I wrote my first computer game, and submitted it to my first virtual game jam. A game jam is a gathering of game developers working on games collaboratively or competitively — they are often held as all-night sessions in person, but they can also run for a longer period of time online, often a few weeks. I was because I have several friends who are game designers or otherwise active in the gaming industry, and for weeks, I had been hearing about a social media explosion called “gamergate.” Essentially, there has been a growing trend in video game culture for audiences to demand better representation of their own diversity and humanity in the games they play. A vocal and violent portion of the demographic that has stereotypically been thought of as the video game audience (white teenage boys and adult men who act like teenagers) object to these efforts. According to them, women, queer people, trans people, people of color, people who are interested in experimental game ideas, and more are “ruining” video games. A friend of mine decided to respond by running a jam called “Ruin Jam” dedicated to “celebrating the nonexistent demise of video games” — responding to the hatred with irreverence and creativity.

A whopping eighty-two games were created and submitted for Ruin Jam! I am very happy for my friend Caelyn, who ran it — it was the first jam she has run and promoted herself — and for those of us who participated, who included neophytes like me and experienced game designers. My game is just a preview of a full-length game I hope to write some day, but I’m pleased with it. I drew from a topic I explored in a paper for Material Culture class last semester, using personal objects to mitigate or sit with the fear of being forgotten. The excerpt of my game deals with a young family commissioning a set of lockets. You can play it here.

So, what’s this doing in my Wider World column, where I write about ways we as museum students can look at museums from diverse viewpoints?

There are several reasons I’m writing about this experience here:

- Games in museums are hot right now! I probably don’t have to tell you that, between the online Gaming in Education conference last week and today’s Lunch with NEMA about mobile games.

- I want to tell you about the game writing tool I used, because you may want to use it yourself! Twine is an open-source tool for writing text-based games, and you don’t need any coding knowledge to get started. You’re not going to create a blockbuster museum app on Twine, but you might create a simple choose-your-own-adventure story for your museum’s website or blog.

- The experience of the game jam was excellent. Some museums are already tapping into creative subcultures, whether it’s by hosting art nights or maker fairs. As inclusive as these events are intended to be, they are often only going to get to small niches of people… after participating in a loosely organized creative event like this one, I’m inclined to believe that’s an argument to have more creative subculture events (online, in museums, wherever!), not fewer. We need diversity and flexibility in order to reach people. I will probably develop my thoughts on creative subculture events at museums in another post, but hopefully, this post has gotten you thinking a little about the topic as well.

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on September 21, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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Panel Discussion this Tuesday at the Mary Baker Eddy Library

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on September 19, 2014 in professional development |

Student Marie Palladino sent this announcement in. Thanks, Marie!

— A Panel Discussion and Presentation —

ARCHIVAL ACCESS ONLINE:

THE PROMISE, THE PROBLEMS, THE PAYOFF

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 @ 6:30 PM AT THE MARY BAKER EDDY LIBRARY

200 MASSACHUSETTS AVE., BOSTON | MBELIBRARY.ORG

A panel of experts will address such questions as:

• How is the digital revolution affecting historical research and the dissemination of information?

• What does this mean for all of us, amid increasing expectations for transparency and the immediacy

of accessing historical records and documents?

• Fast, cheap, and thorough—Can you have it all?

Panelists will present case studies:

DR. NEIL MANN (The New York Public Library), on digitizing significant literary manuscript collections

and making them available online.

NANCY HEYWOOD (The Massachusetts Historical Society), on opening up extensive digital resources

around prized collections, such as the Adams Papers.

DR. SHERRY DARLING (The Mary Baker Eddy Library), on launching the Mary Baker Eddy Papers online this

past January.

Moderator:

BETH LUEY, a leader in the field of documentary editing, has served as President of the Association

for Documentary Editing and related professional organizations. She is the author of Handbook for Academic

Authors, now in its fifth edition.

For more information, contact Jonathon Eder, Programs Producer: 617-450-7131 | ederj@mbelibrary.org

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Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on September 15, 2014 in jobs listings |

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

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