Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring museums, ideas, and conversation

Month: January 2011 (page 2 of 6)

Stories Behind the Paintings at the Sukiennice Museum

Krakow’s newly renovated Sukiennice Museum of 19th-century Polish art has a splashy video showing off the interactive campaign they did to publicize their 2010 reopening. In an attempt to make the art “come to life,” they recorded audio and video recreations of stories behind the artists, subjects, or patrons or a few of their most important paintings. One part of the project involved augmented reality, where visitors could view the video and painting at the same time through a smartphone app.

From this clip, it looks like the project was more about attention-getting marketing than an interpretation strategy. It’s no substitute for close observation of the paintings themselves, but it would be interesting to hear audience feedback about whether discovering the stories behind these few paintings piqued their curiosity in looking more closely at other work in the museum. Better to be drawn in by bells and whistles than not go to a museum at all?

Know Your Professional Organizations: New England Museum Association

Next up in our Museum Professional Organizations series is one near and dear to all of our hearts. In fact, if you’re in your first year as a Tufts student, you’re already a member!

Let’s talk about the New England Museum Association.

To quote from their website:

The mission of the New England Museum Association is to strengthen member museums and museums in the region. To achieve this mission, NEMA fosters communication and ethical conduct; provides professional development; promotes excellence in museum operations; and encourages support for the museum community.

Membership fees are actually pretty reasonable; $45 per year for a museum professional, and $35 for full-time students, job-hunters (unemployed), and retirees or volunteers. With that membership you get access to NEMA News, special pricing on conferences and workshops, and admission to a number of member institutions. Check out the membership page for a full list of benefits.

NEMA also maintains a terrific listing of jobs, found here. They’re updated every Friday morning, so keep checking back!

I know I met several Tufts students at the NEMA Fall Conference this year in Springfield; if you missed it, you can download recordings of some key panels through the website. Next year’s conference, “Museums in the Mirror” (all about reflecting diversity), will be November 16 – 18 in Hartford, Connecticut. There’s a call for proposals out right now, due on February 1.

NEMA also sponsors thirteen  “Professional Affinity Groups,” or PAGS. PAGS sponsor workshops and networking opportunities. Look over the whole list, but the one you particularly want to check out is the YEPs: the Young Emerging Professionals. You’ll want to follow them on Facebook, too.

So I’ll see you all in Hartford next November, right?

Boston EMP Tour of the New MFA

Just a quick note to say that the Emerging Museum Professionals event yesterday morning – a highlights tour of the new MFA Art of the Americas wing followed by lunch – was an absolute blast! If you’re not on the Boston EMP mailing list, then you’re missing out on some great opportunities.

EMPs were treated to a tour of the new wing given by Curator of Education Barbara Martin, who focused on museological issues. She gave us some great insight into how the MFA envisioned, planned, and executed the wing. Some galleries allowed the MFA to display more of their collections from storage (the John Singer Sargent gallery in particular was wonderful), some allowed them to expand into new collecting areas (Art Deco, for example), and some galleries finally gave the museum space to achieve what Martin called “critical mass” by displaying a collection together to show its richness (Mayan ceramics). In all, 30% of the MFA’s American collections are on display in the new wing.

After the tours (two tours, actually, due to the enthusiastic response of the EMP group) a group of about fifteen met in the museum cafeteria to compare notes, discuss the all-important job market, and toss out great ideas for the future of museums.

I said it up top, but I’ll repeat myself: follow the Boston EMPs on Facebook and Twitter, and get yourself on the mailing list so you can be there with us next time!

Museums in the News – The ?? Roundup

Welcome to our weekly museums in the news roundup!

New York’s Museum of Sex Launches Comic Book Exhibition (Museum of Sex, New York, New York)

Most beautiful museum gardens around the world (Various Museums)
[yes, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is in there!]

On a tour of the Phila. Museum, Director Timothy Rub points out his favorites (Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Church History Museum opens up exhibit for children (Church History Museum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah)

Hall of Opium, A Mesmerizing Museum (Hall of Opium, Chiang Rai, Thailand)

When the subject is race, Museum of Science takes multimedia approach (Museum of Science, Boston, Massachusetts)

Historical museum to honor winners of essay contest (Tulare Historical Museum, Tulare, California)

Cleveland Museum of Art to auction 32 old master paintings at Sotheby’s (Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio)

Toilet-shaped house is now a toilet museum (Seoul, South Korea)

Beatles memorabilia museum opens in Buenos Aires (Beatle Museum, Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Step right up to Fraud Museum in Austin (Fraud Museum, Austin, Texas)

Architecture of the new Danish Maritime Museum (Danish Maritime Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark)

Heard Museum receives major Navajo textile collection (Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Arts, Phoenix, Arizona)

A Guggenheim Helsinki? Finland pays $2.5 million to be the museum’s latest suitor (Helsinki, Finland)

Texas foundation to sell Matisse set “The Backs” (Burnett Foundation, Fort Worth, Texas)

Mansion unlocked after 100 years (Maison Mantin, Moulins, France)

US Senator blasts national museum selling statues of US presidents…made in China (National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.)

Museum can’t access grant yet (African American Museum of Southern Illinois, Carbondale, Illinois)

Museum price tag could go up $1M (proposed Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum)
[especially interesting in light of Cynthia's recent post.]

Napierville helps children’s museum stay afloat (DuPage Children’s Museum, Napierville, Illinois)

Webinar on Compensation from Guidestar

We talked about Guidestar not that long ago, and remember at the bottom of that post shared some of Guidestar’s resources for nonprofits?

Well, there’s another one coming up soon. Guidestar is running a free webinar called “The Compensation Checklist for Nonprofits: Are You Prepared for Today and the Next Five Years?”

They describe it as:

Reviewing your nonprofit’s compensation program should be a frequent practice, but many times this process becomes reactionary. In today’s competitive labor environment, organizations need to consider these reviews as required maintenance of their most important asset—their employees.

We have developed a checklist to help nonprofit organizations approach compensation issues, now and in the future, with confidence.

The webinar is on Tuesday, January 25 at 1:00 p.m. Register here.

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