Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

Weekly Jobs Roundup!

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. Happy hunting!

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Summer Museum Education Workshop in Portsmouth

The Moffatt-Ladd House and Garden Presents: Reaching for Truth: Exploring the Issue of Slavery in the Era of the American Revolution

Classroom and Museum Educators

Participate in an intensive three day workshop from August 1-3. Investigate slavery in Portsmouth and New England during the Revolution, explore the spaces in which the enslaved and enslavers interacted and discover how a brave group of enslaved men wrote the 1779 Petition of Freedom.

Presenters Include: 

Barbara M. Ward, Ph.D.
Director/curator
Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden. 
Barbara has an A.B. in history from Connecticut College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Boston University in American and New England Studies. She has taught history, decorative arts, museum studies, and material culture at Boston University, Yale University, the University of Delaware, Salem State University, the University of New Hampshire, the Tufts University Museum Certificate program, and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Keith Mascoll
Actor and Educator
Keith holds a B.A. in Theater Arts from the University of Massachusetts.  Keith has worked as an actor in numerous theater and film productions.  He has won several awards and is best known in Portsmouth for his role as Prince Whipple, in two productions of A Chance at Freedom.

Robert Munro, Ph.D
Teacher, Middlesex School
Robert has a Ph.D. in history from Michigan State University.  He has worked as a History teacher at Middlesex School. His primary teaching interests include African and African American history, U.S. history, and the ancient world.

About the Program

Spend three days in Portsmouth exploring the genesis of the Petition of Freedom, slavery in New England and how you can use local resources to explore difficult subjects in your classroom.

The Program Schedule

The first day of the workshop participants will enjoy the same immersive experience within the house that students have had in our pilot program.   The second day  participants will learn about the history of slavery in New England, the material culture of the region, and also visit  sites on Portsmouth’s Black Heritage Trail to provide further context.  The third day we will focus on how to have comfortable discussions on difficult issues of class and race, and how historical context can help to facilitate those conversations.  Teachers will have an opportunity to share their curriculum ideas.
Participants will have the option of staying in Portsmouth for some planned activities and conversation in the evening. Those who are coming from out of town can either book their own accommodation or use the reduced rate we have negotiated at an area hotel.

Application Details

We have ten $250 stipends for secondary teachers who commit to creating a lesson plan based on their experience of this program.  The fee for those who do not want to create a lesson plan is $50 for all three days.  The Moffatt-Ladd House and Garden will post the lesson plans on its website to share with educators everywhere.
Teachers who are interested in this program should answer the question:

  •  Why are you interested in attending this workshop, and what skills or knowledge do you hope to gain from it?

RSVP and Questions

Please email responses and send queries to:
Jennifer Belmont-Earl
Education Coordinator
education.moffatt.ladd@gmail.com
603-430-7968

Journey to the Netherlands: Adventures at the GeoFort

It’s hard to get out of our bubbles. Sometimes we don’t want to. Or we don’t have time. Or maybe we just forget. We can get so comfortable in routine that we forget we’re even in a bubble. Hoping none of you are at that point, I still thought it would be valuable to take this post a little beyond our normal scope and highlight a museum outside the United States.

While we often hear people talk about the Tate, the British Museum, and the Louvre, voices go strangely silent on the many other museums around the globe. It’s not like we don’t care; I think we do. But we get busy. Busy with the museums we work at. Busy with the museums we partner with. And busy with the thousands of museums right here in the United States. So let us help you out. By periodically highlighting an international museum on this blog, we’ll help you add a whole new set of museums to your mental file cabinet while only giving up 5 minutes every few weeks.

Ready to start? I hope so, because today I want to take you to the GeoFort in the village of Herwijnen, in the Netherlands. Winner of the 2016 Children in Museums Award, this museum is a goldmine of adventure. Built in an old fort on the New Dutch Waterline, a defense line, the museum engages visitors with the history and techniques of navigation and cartography. Through exhibitions, quests, tunnels, mazes, and outdoor adventures, GeoFort claims that, “after a day at GeoFort you know how salmons find their way, why the north pole shifts, how an iPhone knows where you are, how maps can lie and much more.”

Since 2011, the Children in Museums Award has been given to a museum that demonstrates innovative spaces and programming for children. The recognition has been provided by a collaboration between Hands On! International Association of Children in Museums and the European Museum Academy. Judges of the 2016 Children in Museums Award stated that, “GeoFort is an active, realistic and enjoyable complex where children learn by doing while having fun. It is an inspiring place and a worthy winner of the 2016 Children in Museums Award.”

To learn more about the many activities offered at GeoFort, click here.

Weekly Jobs Roundup!

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. Happy hunting!

New England                                                                                                                     

Mid-Atlantic                                                                                                             

Midwest

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West                                                                                                                              

Incorporating Sensory Experiences in Historic House Museums

This week’s contribution comes from Laidy Saenz, who is a current Museum Studies Certificate Student at Tufts. 

Incorporating Sensory Experiences in Historic House Museums

Museums are incorporating new trends in display and exhibition methods to enhance the overall visitor experience. Some of these methods involve interactivity and sensory experiences. These heightened sensory experiences may incorporate a combination of, “multimedia presentations, hands-on interaction with artifacts, the use of scent, the presentation of “living” displays, and interactive exhibits in which one may, for example, try on clothing related to the artifacts on display.[1]” Exhibitions that incorporate sensory experiences would be very effective in historic house museum.  Stories of the house could be brought to life in a way that is more interesting and engaging. Imagine walking into a historic house and smelling a particular meal that was cooked in the house or trying on replicas of clothing that were worn by people that lived in the house. The Dennis Severs’ House in London is an example of a historical house whose owner has created an immersive experience for visitors. This house, “provides a “rare thing to experience first hand: the warm, smoky light captured by the Old Masters; the creak of footsteps on wood; whispers and opening doors; arresting reflections, mixtures, textures and smells; the ticking and chiming of clocks; a cat and a canary.”[2]

I recently visited an exhibition that incorporated different sensory elements at Le Laboratoire Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  This particular exhibition incorporated animation, photography, and sculpture and used sound to heighten the overall experience. This sound created an immersive experience that brought to life the other displays and created a distinctive atmosphere. In the same way a historic house could use sound to bring to life aspects of the house. Something as simple as music playing in the background to highlight the family’s taste in music, or music from an instrument that was played by one of its owners would enliven the visitor experiences and connect them to the aura of the home.

Selecting what type of interactive display or what sense to engage should be done carefully and in line with the interpretation and history of the house. Historic houses could partner with other artists to create displays that highlight a particular sense and highlight a particular story of the house. The leaders of the historic house museum should stay abreast of trends that may be relevant to their particular historic house, evaluate them and implement those that are appropriate for their audience. Understanding the audience and providing relevant memorable experiences is important for the long-term sustainability of the historic house museum.

 

[1] David Howes, “The Sensory Museum: Its History And Reinvention,” http://www.david-howes.com/senses/SensoryMuseum.htm.

[2] “The Tour,” Dennis Sever’s House, accessed June 18th, 2017, http://www.dennissevershouse.co.uk/the-tour/.

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