Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

Month: February 2011 (page 1 of 5)

Happy (?) Museums Advocacy Day!

If you haven’t been following the AAM’s Facebook feed – or any of their other communication methods – you might not know that today and tomorrow are designated as Museum Advocacy Days. The AAM, through its website Speak Up For Museums, is promoting a number of ways to get in touch with your local representatives and make a case for why museums are vital in their communities.

There will be a number of events down in Washington, D.C., but for us students who might not have the resources to jet down there to participate in the workshops, what can be done at home?


– You can catch up on your reading by leafing through the AAM’s Advocacy Materials website – it’s a great collection of PDFs with highlights of the how and why of advocating for museums.

– You can watch the archived webinar about museum advocacy that the AAM did a few months ago. (And read our own Kris Bierfelt’s highlights overview if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing.)

– You can also watch the live feed of the programming in Washington, D.C. through the AAM’s website here.

Come on back tomorrow, and we’ll have even more ways you can participate in standing up for museums.

Museums in the News – The More #$@$# Snow Roundup

Welcome to the weekly museums in the news roundup!

Without a doubt the weirdest story of the week is this one: Desperate museum guard holds Renaissance masterpieces for ransom, only to have them stolen from his car (Museum of Fine Arts, Corsica, Italy)

Worcester Art Museum unveils modern art exhibit (Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts)

U of I donor of painting fought 1963 sale rumors [in connection with the University of Iowa’s proposed sale of a Jackson Pollock painting] (University of Iowa Art Museum, Des Moines, Iowa)
UI arts community celebrates withdrawal of Pollock bill (University of Iowa Art Museum, Des Moines, Iowa)
Art donors wary after Pollock bill (University of Iowa Art Museum, Des Moines, Iowa)

Financial problems for Seaport Museum New York (Seaport Museum, New York, New York)

Museum: a lens to examine America (various museums)

Oscar-nominated fashions on display at LA museum (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Museum and Galleries, Los Angeles, California)

Creation Museum, same-sex couple, dispute entrance (Creation Museum, Petersburg, Kentucky)

VA couple seek slave artifacts returned (proposed National Slavery Museum, Fredericksburg, Maryland)

Egypt opens museums and historical sites (various museums)

Half a dodo found in museum drawer (Grant Museum, London, England)

NH children’s museum has new executive director (New Hampshire Children’s Museum, Dover, New Hampshire)

ACLU museum exhibit criticized (State Historical Building, Des Moines, Iowa)

JFK Library invites scrollers to try out president’s desk (John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, Boston, Massachusetts)

It’s a new era for Catalina Island Museum (Catalina Island Museum, Santa Catalina, California)

Local man donates rare JFK footage to museum (Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas, Texas)

Weekly Jobs Report

Welcome to our weekly jobs report. As always, new jobs appear first on their own, separate job announcements page.

  • Senior Associate [Randi Korn & Associates]Position Opening: Senior Associate Randi Korn & Associates, Inc San Francisco, CA Randi Korn & Associates, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in museum planning and evaluation with a focus on organizational development, is seeking a Seni…
  • Managing Director [Randi Korn & Associates)Randi Korn & Associates, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in museum planning and evaluation with a focus on organizational development, is seeking a Managing Director in its San Francisco, CA office.  The ideal candidate is an experienced mana…
  • Coordinator of Tours and Family Programs [New Museum]The New Museum Coordinator of Tours and Family Programs The Coordinator of Tours and Family Programs is responsible for organizing the training and management of volunteer docents and freelance educators as well as the administration of group tours…
  • Digital Archive Fellow [Rhizome]Call for Applications: RHIZOME Digital Archive Fellow (part-time, unpaid) Rhizome is a leading arts organization dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology. Through op…
  • Exhibits Manager [Children’s Museum of Denver]The Children’s Museum of Denver is seeking an Exhibits Manager to join us in realizing some ambitious plans- please distribute! Full Time Exhibits Manager with demonstrated and effective personnel and project management abilities with a variety of t…

Know Your Professional Organizations: Visitor Studies Association

Up next is a very specialized, very important group: the Visitor Studies Association.

The VSA, in its own words,

is today’s premier professional organization focusing on all facets of the visitor experience in museums, zoos, nature centers, visitor centers, historic sites, parks and other informal learning settings. We’re committed to understanding and enhancing visitor experiences in informal learning settings through research, evaluation, and dialogue.

There are a couple of different levels of membership: full is $100, basic is $60, and student is $30. The good news is, all three of those memberships receive the organization’s journal, Visitor Studies: Theory, Research, and Practice, as well as a bi-monthly email newsletter. The full membership gets a few more perks like a printed member directory and discounts on conferences and workshops.

The 24th annual Visitor Services Association Conference is being held in Chicago this July, and they’re very generous with financial assistance for students – check it out. At least one of the deadlines for a scholarship is coming up fast, though – March 1 – so you’ll need to hurry up if you want to take advantage of that.

They’ve got some great resources available on their website, including Evaluation Competencies, which is basically an online course for continuing education in visitor studies. It’s got a good bibliography for anyone who’s interested in learning more about being more responsive to visitors, and evaluating visitor experiences. There’s also a good collection of readings about ethical guidelines for evaluators, a good links page, and a fantastic archive of past VSA publications.

We learn a lot in our classes at Tufts about how important it is to constantly assess the impact museums have on visitors, both in the immediate and the long-term. This is an organization that’s doing great work to provide us all with more resources about best practices in that field – and who knows, it may be your calling within the museum field.

National Arts Strategies

This isn’t exactly a professional organization, so we’re spinning information about this great organization off into its own post.

National Arts Strategies is a group that helps with “organizational leadership for arts and culture.” They provide advice, training, and general information about best practices in arts and culture organizations. Right now that means they’re putting out a lot of great content helping those organizations weather the current economic storm. (As their President and CEO, Russell Willis Taylor says in a recent speech, “There are no crises, only tough decisions.”)

The Vice President of NAS, Jim Rosenberg, recently did a terrific interview with The Foundation Center on their podcast about “Arts Management in Uneasy Times”; listen to it here. That’ll give you the overview. Spend a lot more time looking around on the website, though. There are some really interesting ideas and initiatives there. Their videos, reading list, and publications sections are especially good. They also offer a number of in-person workshops and events on a variety of management and strategy topics.

(For those of you thinking “But I’m going to be a curator/educator/collections manager/registrar, I don’t need to know any of that”…well, forewarned is forearmed, right? You just might find yourself in a position to be thinking hard about strategy and management someday, and every scrap of learning and experience will come in handy!)

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