Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring museums, ideas, and conversation

Author: Phillippa Pitts (page 3 of 52)

Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition

by guest columnist Sarah McDonough

Students in this year’s Exhibition Planning class were given a challenge: choose an image that inspires you from the photographs in Historic New England’s exhibition, “The Camera’s Coast,” and use it as a jumping-off point for a full-blown exhibition plan. Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition is to take place at the Tufts University Koppleman Gallery May 6-18, 2014. Opening reception Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5:30-8pm. See the Facebook page here.

The research process for this class has really shown just how much untapped history there is out there that most people aren’t aware of. While reading for my exhibit, A Little House on Deck: The Curious Journeys of Whaling Wives and Children at Sea, I discovered dozens of surviving diaries of women and girls who sailed as passengers on whaling ships. Reading through accounts of their adventures, it’s frustrating that so many of these people would not be remembered except for their writing, or the snippets of stories remembered about them. Here’s a particularly interesting one:

In 1846 the whaling ship Powhattan set out of Martha’s Vineyard for a hunt off the coast of New Zealand, on what appeared to be a cursed voyage. Continue reading

Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. As always, they go up immediately on their own page. Happy hunting!

 

Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition

by guest columnist Catherine Shortliffe

Students in this year’s Exhibition Planning class were given a challenge: choose an image that inspires you from the photographs in Historic New England’s exhibition, “The Camera’s Coast,” and use it as a jumping-off point for a full-blown exhibition plan. Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition is to take place at the Tufts University Koppleman Gallery May 6-18, 2014. Opening reception Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5:30-8pm. See the Facebook page here.

This past week, as part of my research for my exhibition, Shipwreck: The Shoreline experience, and in an effort to connect with the subjects of my exhibition, I headed south to the shore to visit the Hull Lifesaving Museum in Hull, Massachusetts. I set out with hopes of learning more about the lifesaving teams that make up about a third of my complete exhibition plan, and discovering artifacts that would help round out my otherwise two dimensional exhibition. I am happy to report that both of these goals were achieved and the trip was a great success!

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Ushers at the Gates of Information

by columnist Tegan Kehoe

A couple weeks ago, I was a part of Boston’s first History Camp, an “unconference” that was organized by volunteers and a wiki. One of the panels was on means of publishing for history books, and Boston historian J. L. Bell made point I think applies just as well to museums. He said that people — particularly writers — are used to thinking of publishing houses as the gatekeepers: people who control what gets inside, people who has to please, appease, or even depend on the whims of. With e-books, inexpensive self-publishing and other text formats flooding the market, he proposed, it makes just as much sense to think of gatekeepers (whether they are publishers, reviewers, or others) as ushering readers in through open gates, helping them find what’s good and what suits their tastes. I think the same metaphor can be used to talk about museums as gatekeepers of knowledge, stories, and images or artifacts.

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It’s All About Image

by guest blogger Emma Mällinen

Students in this year’s Exhibition Planning class were given a challenge: choose an image that inspires you from the photographs in Historic New England’s exhibition, “The Camera’s Coast,” and use it as a jumping-off point for a full-blown exhibition plan. Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition is to take place at the Tufts University Koppleman Gallery May 6-18, 2014. Opening reception Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5:30-8pm. See the Facebook page here.

I am in the midst of planning an exhibition titled, “How We Describe the Wild: American Encounters with Nature,” an exhibition that celebrates the past and present of American writers who shaped the way we view our natural environment. From revisiting classics by Thoreau and Emerson to dissecting the controversial works of Edward Abbey and Rachel Carson, the exhibition highlights the milestones of American ecocriticism and nature appreciation.

Now, that sounds pretty text-based and potentially dry. How can you engage people in long texts in an energetic exhibition? This is the primary obstacle I’ve come up against, but one I’ve found some great solutions for.

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