Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

Month: April 2011 (page 2 of 3)

The Pitfalls of Non-Profit Accounting

So sorry for going dark for a little while – it’s been an eventful few weeks for your industrious blogger. We’ll be back to regular posting this week. As always, if you have any suggestions for posts or would like to contribute by guest posting, please email me: amanda.gustin[at]tufts[dot]edu.
If you’ve seen the news lately, you know that author, mountaineer, and lecturer Greg Mortensen, famous for building schools in Afghanistan through his book Three Cups of Tea and its concomitant foundation, the Central Asia Institute, is in more than a bit of trouble. The accounting at his non-profit has gone awry, and it appears that he’s not doing everything he said he would.

Over at The Atlantic, economics blogger Megan McArdle has an interesting post about “instant development,” or, the perils of expecting one messianic genius to change the world. She cites John Krakauer’s initial expose into Mortensen’s business practices, as well as a very thoughtful post from Swarthmore professor Timothy Burke about exactly what projects make the most sense to fund.

There are more than a few parallels to start-up museums in this story. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Keep your books straight. Beware of mission creep. Focus on the smaller, less-glamorous practical results.

Free Webinar from NEDCC: Risk Assessment for Disaster Planning

NEDCC (that’s the New England Document Conservation Center) is celebrating May Day and Preservation Week by offering a great free webinar about risk assessment and disaster planning.

Here’s what they say about it:

NEDCC is offering a free introductory webinar on Risk Assessment for those who are beginning to work on a disaster plan or need to expand or update an existing plan.Date: April 28, 2011
Time: 2 – 4 PM
Cost: Did we mention that it’s FREE ?!
(Register now – seats will go fast!)

Complete Webinar Information and Registration

Questions about the Risk Assessment webinar?
Contact: Donia Conn, dconn[at]nedcc[dot]org, (978) 470-1010, ext. 220

Save the Date – Opening Reception for “Capturing Community”

Save the Date: Opening Reception of Capturing Community: Farming, Fishing, and Canning in New England

Tufts University Art Gallery, Aidekman Arts Center

Tuesday, May 10, 5:30 – 8:00 pm, and with a gallery talk by Markham Starr at 6 pm

Black-and-white photographs by Starr document dairy farming in Connecticut, trap fishing off the coast of Rhode Island, and the now-closed Stinson Seafood Cannery in Maine. Curated by students in the Tufts Museum Studies graduate program, the photographs portray not only the daily mechanics of work in three industries, but also the relationships and traditions that made them important in the lives of those who work there and to the region as a whole. Various economic and legislative pressures have contributed to the decline of these traditional New England livelihoods and Starr’s photographs capture what may by the last vestiges of once-booming industries.

Motivated by a desire to document slices of New England life before they’re gone, Starr spends time getting to know his subjects and their daily routines-from sardine packers whose decades-long friendships help them work together faster and more efficiently, to close-knit dairy farming communities connected by family ties and common business interests, to trap fishermen following in the wake of generations-old traditions. “In fifty or a hundred years people will want to see how these fishermen worked, how sardines were canned, or what dairy farms looked like. Having the images out there is a way of helping these traditions survive,” Starr says. “I want to show that these are things worth saving.”

For directions and other general information call the Tufts University Art Gallery at 617-627-3518 or visit The Tufts University Art Gallery is located in the Aidekman Arts Center, 40R Talbot Road, Medford, MA 02155.

The Tufts University Art Gallery animates the intellectual life of the greater University community through exhibitions and programs exploring new, global perspectives on art and on art discourse. The Gallery is fully accessible and admission is free ($3 suggested donation). Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11-5 & Thursdays until 8pm. During regular visitor hours, there are free visitor parking spots in the Gallery parking lot behind the Aidekman Arts Center, off Lower Campus Road.

Where is Spring?

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing another new voice to the blog. Maryam Keramaty is finishing up her certificate in museum studies this spring. Her post captures what all of New England feels about this time of year – where is spring? Maryam journeyed to the Museum of Fine Arts in hopes of an answer.
Stark contrast greets me at the Museum of Fine Arts on this wintry second day of spring. Dark and bright, heavy and light, hopeful and despairing. Where is spring? Why am I cold? Why is there snow outside?

The new Art of the Americas wing is a cold, gray, glass and stone structure, that smells of smothering bacon from the kitchen. A towering explosion of bright lime green glass climbs up to the ceiling with sharp points as if to spear through the wintry mood.

I walk and next see the wintry Calderwood Courtyard. Big flakes of snow swirl outside, I have little hope but soon find new life in fluorescent green buds on weeping willow branches. Peace washes over me.
In the IM Pei atrium, I am drawn to Kristin Bakers’  Full Dawn Parallax, huge acrylic on acrylic, broad green brush strokes I see as young grass, raging hot popping pink are fresh spring blossoms. Growth and freedom fill my soul. With a full heart, I turn the corner.
As if this fateful trip to the MFA is a cruel joke, endless black blobs sluggishly plop down a giant  staircase in a Maria Friberg’s video, Commoncause. Spring fades again and I see my tired winter soul in those heavy deflated basketballs covered in black velvet. Before I can recover, from the corner of my eye, I am startled by men above me free falling to the earth.
Here, Jonathan Borofsky and his I Dreamed I Could Fly reminds me of something deeper. Though the artist intends to “suggest the essential human desires for harmony and individual happiness,” I wonder, how about just some sunshine? Are these people who have jumped off a tall building, are they despairing like me?
At this point the MFA and my quest feels even more hopeless. A stream of flashing lights deliver another depressing message. As if giving me advice: “It’s interesting to test your capabilities for a while but that too causes damage.” I feel my grief deepening.
I feel dizzy. Minutes later I see an Art in Bloom flier and the hope comes back; hope of flowers, freshness and life. I breath a sigh of relief in the gift shop, greeted by glass plates in colorful bloom, pink cherry blossom glasses and greeting cards with seeds to plant. A book about decorating with flowers feels like hope.
Contrast and conflict is part of life, even in the halls of an inspiring place like the Museum of Fine Arts. I find my inner world in black blobs, pink splashes and falling bodies. The despair and joy create tension and drama.
As I exit the building I put on my hat and feel icydrops on my cheeks. I’ll return to the MFA galleries next week in search again of signs of spring.

Museums in the News – The April Showers Roundup

Welcome to our weekly museums in the news roundup!

Maine museum to get newly discovered 1840s murals (Rufus Porter Museum and Cultural Heritage Center, Brigton, Maine)

9/11 families don’t want remains underground at 9/11 museum (National 9/11 Memorial and Museum, New York, New York)

Mississippi lawmakers approve new civil rights museum (proposed museum, Jackson, Mississippi)

Row brewing as cost of new Brussels history museum soars (House of European History, Brussels, Belgium)

Old machines break ground for new museum (Big Horn County Historical Museum, Hardin, Montana)

Google donates $1 million to Museum of Science (Museum of Science, Boston, Massachusetts)

Sabres give eviction notice to museum (Ross Niagara Aerospace Museum, Buffalo, New York)

Historic PT boat gets makeover (National World War II Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana)

Museum gets extension on debt (Patriots Point, Columbia, South Carolina)

Photo gallery: inside the Tour of Flanders museum (Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen, Oudenaarde, Belgium)

New Royal Alberta Museum will be built downtown (Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, Alberta)

Artist honors pigeons with mobile museum (The Mobile Museum of Pigeon Culture and History, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Tribes protest opening party for LA museum (LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Los Angeles, California)

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