Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

Author: Kelsey L. Petersen (page 1 of 5)

Where in the World is Salvator Mundi?

A year ago this month, Christie’s Auctions sold Salvator Mundi, one of about twenty known paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, for over $450 million, shattering all previous auction records and becoming the most expensive painting to ever be sold. The identity of the mysterious over-the-phone buyer remained anonymous for several days, until it was announced that a Saudi prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, had purchased the work with the aim of displaying it in the Louvre Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. In September, however, the month that the Salvator Mundi was intended to be debuted, an official statement was released announcing a display postponement and that “further details will be announced soon.”

Although it has been over a year since the historic auction sale, Salvator Mundi has yet to be displayed, and scrutiny from museum professionals and art historians about its whereabouts has intensified. This week, it was announced that the painting may even be “lost,” since no one – aside from the Arab hierarchy – has seen it since the night of the auction.

This is not the first controversy associated with Salvator Mundi. In the media hype leading up the auction, many art historians and conservators were doubting its authenticity and provenance. Could this be the reason the painting has yet to be displayed? Perhaps the Louvre Abu Dhabi wants to ensure of its proper identification before it is shown to the world.

When, and if, Salvator Mundi is ever shown, I have to wonder where it will be displayed in the Louvre Abu Dhabi, especially considering it is a prominent portrait of Christ in a country that largely practices Islam. Will the painting be given a whole wall to itself, similar to the representation technique of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris? Or will it be placed in dialogue with other religious works, such as in “Gallery Four: Universal Religions,” where Qur’ans, Bibles, and Hindu sculptures would surround it?” The world will have to stay tuned to find out.


Weekly Jobs Roundup!

Greetings readers! Here is the national jobs roundup for the week of November 25th:


Membership Manager [Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum/Boston, MA]

Processing Archivist [Berklee College of Music/Boston, MA]

Museum Educator [Harvard Museum of Natural History/Cambridge, MA]

Curator of Education [Seal Cove Auto Museum/Seal Cove, ME]

Collections Management Coordinator [Colby College Libraries/Waterville, ME]

Mid- Atlantic

Archivist [Geneva Historical Society/Geneva, NY]

Educator of Community Engagement [National Building Museum/Washington, D.C.]

Public Programs Manager [National Museum of Women in the Arts/Washington, D.C.]

Community Educator [Carnegie Museum of Art/ Pittsburgh, PA]


Museum Educator [History Miami Museum/Miami, FL]

Conservator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts [The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art/Sarasota, FL]

Director of Education [Chrysler Museum of Art/Norfolk, VA]

Director of Development [North Carolina Museum of Art/Raleigh, NC]

Development Manager [Woodruff Art Center/Atlanta, GA]


Collections Manager/Registrar [National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium/Port of Dubuque, IA]

Interpretation and Programming Manager [Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation/Orange, TN]

Membership and Development Coordinator [AASLH/Nashville, TN]

Director of Education [The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center/Skokie, IL]


Grants Coordinator [Arizona Historical Society/Tempe, AZ]

Director of Education and Community Partnerships [Frye Art Museum/Seattle, WA]

Assistant Registrar [Petersen Automotive Museum/Los Angeles, CA]

Marketing Associate [SFMOMA/San Francisco, CA]

Development Associate [Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/San Francisco, CA]

Museums and Election Day

In honor of Election Day, tomorrow, Tuesday, November 6th, we’d like to share a roundup of articles about American museums striving to communicate the importance of voting!

Did you know that the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Mummers Museum in Philadelphia, the Hammer Museum, and the Roswell Museum and Art Center in New Mexico all serve as polling sites? Since 2015, the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site Museum in Indianapolis has also served as a proud polling place for its community. Its director, Charles Hyde, is encouraging other museums to adopt the same practice.

“In an era where turnout is far from peak levels, and debate simmers over mechanisms like early voting and mail-in balloting, could museums be doing more to help the general public as they’re seeking to meet their civic obligations? I encourage other museums engaging in this act of civic responsibility to use the social media hashtag #proudpollingsite and prove that together, we can provide our communities with the enhanced experiences that cultivate a more engaged citizenry. It’s about time we all raised our hands.”

Unfortunately, millennials continue to demonstrate low voter turnout. In an attempt to change this, the virtual pop-up Museum of Voting is encouraging voters to ‘gram their polling experience…mostly by posting selfies with voting stickers.

According to Pew Research Center, only 51% of millennials voted in the 2016 presidential election, compared to Gen X (63%), baby boomers (69%), and the silent generation (70%). In an effort to spark some excitement around this year’s midterm elections, creative studio Gold Front has created The Museum of Voting, “a one-day-only, insanely Instagrammable pop-up experience,” i.e., just your local polling station.”

The National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, Alabama, however, is an actual museum with a mission of exhibiting “materials and artifacts from the voting rights struggle in America, especially those that highlight the experiences, which fueled “Bloody Sunday”, the Selma to Montgomery March, and the Civil Rights Movement throughout the South. The NVRMI provides research forums, community action, and makes presentations that impact or support voting rights issues in America.”

Powerfully, the first quote to greet visitors on the Museum’s website homepage is “Hands that picked cotton can pick our presidents.” With nine galleries that exhibit artifacts from the Selma March and beyond, while detailing the civil rights events of the 1960s, the museum serves as a visual reminder of the importance of casting your vote.

Finally, check out this great article that summarizes how “Artists and Museums are Shining a Light on Democracy, Freedom, and the Importance of Voting.”

“Artists and museums have been engaged in the discourse throughout the political season, mounting exhibitions and public art projects, hosting public discussions and voter registration drives.

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) provides its institutional members with Nonprofit Voter Resources, guidelines about how they can participate in advocacy and nonpartisan election activities. 

The Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Okla., has been a venue for nonpartisan voter education, handing out sample ballots and information about issues and candidates. On Nov. 4, Philbrook is hosting a town hall. New York Live Arts is facilitating a conversation on gun ownership on November 5th.  On Election Night, 100 Days Action is throwing a “Blue Wave/Red Tide” election night party and exhibition viewing in San Francisco.”

Will you be voting tomorrow?

Weekly Jobs Roundup!

Greetings readers! Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, November 6th! Here is the national jobs roundup for the week of November 4th:


Preservation Planner [Town of Brookline/Brookline, MA]

Director of Interpretation [Historic Deerfield/Deerfield, MA]

Department Assistant, Finance [Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Boston, MA]

Data Integration Specialist [Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum/Boston, MA]

Associate Educator for Interpretation [Portland Museum of Art/Portland, ME]

Mid- Atlantic

Public Programs Supervisor [Children’s Museum of Manhattan/ New York, NY]

Program Specialist [Institute of Museum and Library Sciences/ Washington, D.C.]

Assistant Director of Visitor and Guest Services [National Museum of African American History and Culture/Washington, D.C.]

Senior Curator Historical Resources and Collections [Maymount Foundation/Richmond, VA]

Curator of Decorative Arts and Design [High Museum of Art/Atlanta, GA]


Assistant Registrar [Louisiana State Museum/New Orleans, LA]

Curatorial Services Director [Louisiana State Museum/New Orleans, LA]

Research Historian [History Associates Incorporated / Rockville, MD]


Registrar [The Brinton Museum/Big Horn, WY]

Curator [Yellowstone Art Museum/Billings, MT]

Cataloguing Project Coordinator [Park City Museum/Park City, UT]

Collections Manager [National Buffalo Museum/Jamestown, ND]

Registrar [Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis/St. Louis, MO]


Assistant Registrar [Hammer Museum/Los Angeles, CA]

Assistant Registrar [Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/San Francisco, CA]

Development Associate [Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/San Francisco, CA]

Museum Education Coordinator [Gilb Museum of Arcadia Heritage/Arcadia, CA]

Registration Administrator, Large Collections [LACMA/Los Angeles, CA]


Upcoming Panel Discussion at TUAG on 11/8

Next week, the Tisch Family Gallery will host a panel discussion among curators and art historians about the role of art education.

Panel Discussion: Does Education Define an Artist?

The predominantly self-taught artists in the current Tufts’ exhibition Expressions Unbound prompt us to consider how artists have been trained and identified throughout history. Join Tufts University Art Galleries for a discussion on the role of art pedagogy.

Panelists include, Jamie Franklin, Curator, Bennington Museum, Susan Jahoda, Core member BFAMFAPHD, Chiara Pidatella, Research Curator, Tufts University Art Galleries, and Jacob Stewart-Halevy, Assistant Professor of Art History, Tufts University.

See you there!

When: Thursday, November 8th, 2018

Where: Tisch Family Gallery, Tufts University Art Galleries, 40 Talbot Ave.

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