Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

Author: Amanda S. Wall (page 1 of 2)

Weekly Jobs Roundup!

Rapid Response Exhibits

The International African American Museum, a museum planned to trace African-American history in America from slavery to today, has hired a rapid response educator to help create exhibits in response to current events. Brenda Tindal had previously done this work at the Levine Museum in which she created an exhibit on modern race relations in the months after police brutality riots in 2016.

The choice to hire an educator focusing on rapid response and current events follows a new trend in museums. Whereas most new exhibitions take months, even years, of planning before coming to fruition, museums are consciously choosing to incorporate current issues and events to better serve their communities. This new trend has gone hand in hand with rapid response collecting. A practice in which museums begin collecting items from current events they deem important to our current society.

While this has been a growing trend for some time, our current political and social climate has accelerated the need for exhibits to give a voice to social issues. Just this month, the National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM) in Memphis opened an exhibit I AM A CHILD, to shed light on our current immigration crisis and the separation of children from their parents at the border. This exhibit was the result of a photoshoot by Paola Mendoza and Kisha Bari on the steps of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency in New York City. These photos, only taken one month prior to the exhibits opening, went viral. This led to NCRM to contact the pair via twitter about a rapid response installation at the museum. I AM A CHILD, speaks not just to a current human and civil rights crisis, but also to the power of social media to fight for social change.

While many museums are turning towards rapid response exhibits and installations to promote social awareness and change, the practice is also a necessary step to changing the narrative around museums. Museums for far too long have curated the dominant narrative of many cultures. It is time for us to step back and tell the story as it happens and embrace the fact that museums are biased.

Further Reading

National Civil Rights Museum harnesses social media for ‘rapid response installation’

New South Carolina Museum to have rapid response exhibits

I AM A CHILD

Weekly Jobs Roundup!

Here’s the weekly jobs roundup for the week of July 9th!

Northeast

Temporary Gallery Manager [Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH]

Head of Education, Addison Gallery of American Art [Phillips Academy, Andover, MA]

Interpreter [Castle Hill, Ipswich, MA]

Interpreter [Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, MA]

ArtLab Director [Harvard University, Cambridge, MA]

Assistant Registrar [Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA]

Director of Education and Engagement [New Haven Museum, New Haven, CT]

Director of Living History Sites [Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, MA]

 

Mid-Atlantic

Chief Curator, Online Museum [YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, NY, NY]

Coordinator of Public Programs and Public Engagement [The Whitney Museum of Art, NY, NY]

Interpretation and Public Engagement Educator [The Rockwell Museum, Corning, NY]

Museum Educator [Erie Maritime Museum, Erie, PA]

Senior Managing Educator, Audience Development and Engagement [The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, NY]

Preparator [Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga, NY]

Museum Specialist [Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, Washington,DC]

 

Southeast

Outreach Education Instructor [Jamestown- Yorktown Foundation, Williamsburg, VA]

School and Family Programs Manager [Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL]

Character Interpreter [Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, MA]

Midwest

Assistant Curator of Education [Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin- Madison,  WI]

West

Associate Director of Education [The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA]

Education and Volunteer Coordinator [Museums of Western Colorado, Grand Junction, CO]

Director of Education [Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ]

Associate Conservator [The Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA]

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art: Indigenizing Museum Spaces

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

Like many museum lovers, a visit to an unfamiliar city is a chance to discover new museums. Being in the museum field, those visits are an invaluable chance to find inspiration, see museum trends in action, and gain new ideas for future practice. Never have a found this to be more true than with a recent visit to Indianapolis and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. This one-of-a-kind museum exemplifies what it is to be a modern museum focusing on interactive displays, shared authority, and visitor experience. But more importantly, the Eiteljorg is a decolonizing museum, representing indigenous people and cultures not as relics of the past, but as contemporary and still here.

The Eiteljorg Museum was founded by Indianapolis businessman and philanthropist Harrison Eiteljorg in 1989. Originally conceived as an art museum, the institution made an early commitment to a shared authority with indigenous people. As founding curator Mike Leslie wrote, “The museum’s overall programming emphasizes not only the historical importance of Native American art and artifacts, but also their importance in a modern context. We must not forget that Native American cultures are still flourishing artistically.”

By 1991 the museum had formed the American Indian Advisory Board, this board would work directly with the museum’s administrators, curators, and collections staff to provide guidance, assistance and direction in all matters associated with the art, history, and culture of native peoples of North America. One of the main takeaways from the advisory board was the need for the museum to create a distinction between ownership and stewardship in relation to sacred and sensitive objects.

In 2002 the museum continued to to indigenize museum spaces with the opening of a new permanent gallery, Mihtoseenioki: The People’s Place, created in collaboration the advisory board and representatives from local tribes. The exhibit was opened to interpret the Miami, Potawatomi, Delaware, and other tribes who were and still are an important part of the state’s history and culture.

Mihtohseenionki (The People’s Place)

It was in this exhibition I felt the most inspired, intrigued, and moved. Mihtoseenioki tells the stories, both past and present, of the original Miami people as well as that of other tribal groups that moved into the current state of Indiana as the result of European conquest and expansion. The written panels were written by members of native communities and curated by Ray Gonyea an Onondaga Iroquois. While many museums have been accused of presenting indigenous people and cultures as historical and ethnographic this exhibition leaves visitors with the knowledge that indigenous people are still here and that tribal cultures are still being practiced. This same theme was carried through the rest of the Eiteljorg’s art galleries. The gallery space was organized not chronologically but geographically with historical and contemporary art side by side.

While I was most affected by the Eiteljorg’s decolonizing efforts, the museum further impressed me with their commitment to improving the visitor experience. This was made clear through the incorporation of different evaluation tools throughout the exhibition, encouragement of visitor feedback, multiple hands-on, participatory, and interactive exhibit elements for visitors of all ages.

As museum practitioners, I encourage us all to keep and eye on the Eiteljorg Museum and any future innovations they may take.

 

Weekly Jobs Roundup!

Here’s the weekly jobs roundup for the week of June 18th!

New England

Registrar’s Office Intern [Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, MA]

Assistant Manager of Exhibits and Facilities [EcoTarium, Worcester, MA]

Visitor Engagement Fellow [Arnold Arboretum of Harvard, Boston, MA]

Associate Collections Photographer [Northeast Document Conservation Center, Andover, MA]

Mid-Atlantic

Curatorial Assistant [Colgate University, Hamilton, NY]

Collections Engagement Manager [Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation, Philadelphia, PA]

Manager, Conference Education [AAM, Arlington, VA]

Research Associate [Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY]

Manager of Programs [Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, NY]

Exhibitions Coordinator [National Geographic Museum, DC]

 

Southeast

Project Coordinator [Imagine Exhibitions, Atlanta, GA]

Preparator [Morikami Museum, Delray Beach, FL]

 

Midwest

Educator, Adult Learning [St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO]

Visitor Relations Coordinator [Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, Pine Bluff, Arkansas]

Gallery Educator [Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, MI]

 

West

Director of Education [Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ]

Director of Community Programs [Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX]

Curatorial Assistant, American Painting and Sculpture [Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX]

 

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