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Games, games, games…

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on August 27, 2013 in education, food for thought, technology |

by editor Phillippa Pitts Games have been on my mind a lot this week. I know a lot of people who spend their incredible brainpower building games for museums, like Kellian Adams Pletcher with Murder at the Met, or Susan Edward with the Getty’s Switch (which I admire for its incredible simplicity!). I’ve even built a few games […]

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Learning from 100-year-old Museum Education

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on July 25, 2013 in education, food for thought |

Check out this amazing story from the Sunderland Museum. In 1913, their curator came up with a program for blind visitors–adults and children–to let them explore objects. Architectural columns, historical gas masks, and scores of natural history specimens were included. Make sure you scroll to the end of the article to see the clay models […]

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Unofficial tours, taken to the next level: Hack The Met

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on April 27, 2013 in food for thought |

Here’s an interesting piece by GalleristNY about “Hack the Met,” a highly unauthorized tour operating inside the Met, drawing new, young, often-techie New Yorkers into a dialogue that covers everything from medieval armor and musical instruments to Thomas Gainsborough…. with flasks. Mr. Gray, who grew up in Georgia and moved to New York in 2007, discovered […]

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“Facebook Home” paints a less-than flattering picture of museums

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on April 23, 2013 in food for thought |

Watch it online and don’t forget to read the comments. They’ll boost your spirits back up.  

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Quick – save the Marathon Bombing objects!

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on April 23, 2013 in food for thought, material culture, museums in the news |

Rainey Tisdale, one of our own professors here at Tufts, has been agitating for a museum to step up to collect the objects relating to the Boston Marathon bombing before they disappear. Listen to her in this interview on WBUR, which aired this morning: http://www.wbur.org/2013/04/23/saving-marathon-memorial-items.

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How Museums Respond

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on April 16, 2013 in emergency preparedness, food for thought |

by editor Phillippa Pitts Museums talk a lot about being members of their communities, meeting niche needs and providing unique third spaces. Today, some of the museums in Boston stepped up beautifully. Below is just a rough screen capture snapshot of how our community responded to the Marathon Monday bombings. Starting with the Boston Children’s […]

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Worth Reading: Why Fast, Cheap, and Easy Design Is Killing Your Nonprofit’s Brand

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on March 14, 2013 in food for thought |

by editor Phillippa Pitts We’re all familiar with the well-intentioned but poorly executed museum YouTube video, Twitter stream, or online publication. Some of us are even guilty of creating them. We work hard, even with limited resources and training, to keep pace and keep creating high quality products. However, there might be a problem even […]

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Recommended Reading: An Expose on IAE, International Art English

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on January 29, 2013 in food for thought |

A user’s guide to artspeak Why do so many galleries use such pompous, overblown prose to describe their exhibits? Well, there’s now a name for it: International Art English. And you have to speak it to get on. Andy Beckett enters the world of waffle. Read more on The Guardian’s website

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What can museums do for sick kids? [Repost]

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on December 8, 2012 in food for thought |

Got a good idea? Add your comment to the MuseumNext conversation post below…   Last week my two-year-old son was admitted to hospital, and for the past week he has been confined to a ward. Brody is crazy about dinosaurs and animals, and much of the time has been spent watching The Land Before Time and playing […]

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Talking Point: “This is not an Artwork”

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on December 6, 2012 in food for thought |

Check out this article by Slate on art that has been “written off,” “devoid of value,” “destroyed,” yet still here and now, on exhibit again. Read the full article.

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Guest blog: The Role of Arts Organizations in Civil Society

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on October 26, 2012 in conferences, food for thought |

This weekend, the Tufts Museum Studies blog will be joining the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders in a global discussion. This 5-day conference brings together 50 young leaders from across the arts (dance, theater, and museum) to meet with experts. Three of the questions on the table have been sent out for bloggers in the […]

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For a bit of levity…

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on October 24, 2012 in food for thought, museums in the news |

  The New Yorker Wades into “Curator” Confusion  

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Food for Thought: Should Museums Accession lolcats?

Posted by Amanda Gustin on July 9, 2012 in food for thought, technology |

Go and read Suse Cairns‘s fascinating exploration of native digital objects and art, and how museums can think about them and deal with them. Bonus interview with Tom Woolley, New Media Curator at the UK National Media Museum. (He’s responsible for a Life Online gallery that has a constant video of memes on it. If […]

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Google World Wonders Project

Posted by Amanda Gustin on June 8, 2012 in food for thought |

Initial reaction: OMG COOOOOOOL. More measured response from Max Van Balgooy of Engaging Places: Google Launches World Wonders Project.

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Food for Thought: Making a Museum from Scratch

Posted by Amanda Gustin on June 6, 2012 in food for thought |

In case you haven’t seen this, Ed Rodley at Thinking about Museums has had a really, really fascinating, thoughtful, and thought-provoking series of discussions lately. He’s playing out a thought experiment that starts with a basic premise: how would you create a museum from scratch? That is, how would you incorporate all of our current […]

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Food for Thought: Recognizing Holidays

Posted by Amanda Gustin on April 16, 2012 in food for thought |

The third Monday of April is recognized in Boston as Patriots Day. On paper, it’s a commemoration of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, one of the major events – perhaps THE major event – during the beginning of the American Revolution. Every year, there’s a large reenactment in Lexington and Concord. Local Minutemen reenactors […]

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Food for Thought: Radical Trust & The Decentralization of Curation at TED

Posted by Amanda Gustin on March 12, 2012 in food for thought |

If you’re looking for fascinating and thoughtful reading about social innovation and the future of nonprofits, look no further than the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s blog. A recent post on that blog, “A Platform Worth Spreading,” discusses the decentralization of the TED conferences and how sharing has actually strengthened, rather than diluted, their model. How […]

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Survey on Contemporary Objects in History Museums

Posted by Amanda Gustin on March 7, 2012 in collections, future of museums |

Please take a few minutes to help a fellow museum studies student out. Leslie Howard, who’s completing an MA in Museum Studies from Harvard and is NEMA’s Membership Manager, is writing her thesis on collecting contemporary objects. Do you have an opinion on whether museums should collect contemporary objects? Do you work at or know […]

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Museums Advocacy Day 2012

Posted by Amanda Gustin on February 24, 2012 in future of museums |

Dear Museums Advocacy Day supporters, With just a few days to go until Museums Advocacy Day 2012 gets underway, we ask you to please share the following message with your members and networks: Museums Advocacy Day 2012 Webcast The American Association of Museums will be webcasting portions of the two-day event. We invite you to […]

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Food for Thought: FailFaire

Posted by Amanda Gustin on February 17, 2012 in food for thought |

I’m going to make what I think is a fairly safe assumption and call most of you overachievers. Grad school is tough. Museums are tough. People who do both have a lot of passion and a lot of talent. Probably you’re not thrilled about the idea of screwing up. What if someone gave you a […]

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Food for Thought: Visitor Inflation

Posted by Amanda Gustin on February 8, 2012 in food for thought |

Merriam-Webster’s defines inflation as “a continuing rise in the general price level usually attributed to an increase in the volume of money and credit relative to available goods and services.” We’re most familiar with the concept in an economic context. Each year, a dollar buys less. In times of high inflation, it buys a lot […]

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Food for Thought: Museums & Historic Sites

Posted by Amanda Gustin on January 30, 2012 in food for thought |

We’ll call this an occasional series, which means when we have content, we’ll run it. The basic idea is to present a quick idea and get you thinking. If any of our suggestions catch your eye, and you’d like to write a response post, we’d love to publish it. Leave a comment and we’ll be […]

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The New Media Consortium Horizon Report

Posted by Amanda Gustin on October 10, 2011 in future of museums, technology |

The New Media Consortium, which produces the Horizon Report, is compiling information for its 2011 Museum Edition. If you’re not familiar with the report, you should be! The Horizon Report is a good, succinct overview of emerging technologies in various fields. They categorize innovations by their “horizon” – how soon it will be before a […]

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What do free muffins and museums have in common?

Posted by Amanda Gustin on September 9, 2011 in forum not temple, potpourri |

I ask you, faithful readers: what do you think free muffins and museums have in common? Your answer: both have an endowment. At the Empire Grill in Skowhegan, Maine, one customer each day is given a free muffin before noon. Sure, you think – restaurants must comp food all the time. What makes this different? […]

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Center for the Future of Museums

Posted by Amanda Gustin on August 17, 2011 in future of museums |

We’ve posted about this before, but I just finished reading my weekly newsletter from the CFM and thought that a reminder would be in order. If you are not yet following the work of the AAM’s Center for the Future of Museums, you really should be. This great group of people – check out this […]

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Crowdsourcing History

Posted by Amanda Gustin on August 8, 2011 in forum not temple |

Nice and timely, two very interesting and very different ways in which museums and archives are crowdsourcing their materials. In case you’ve never heard of it, “crowdsourcing” is a term used to refer to the placement of a task – or more usually a very large series of tasks – in front of an audience, […]

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The Met and the Encyclopedic Museum

Posted by Amanda Gustin on August 5, 2011 in forum not temple |

New York Times art critic Holland Cotter seems to be arguing for the death of the encylcopedic museum. What do you think?

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Satire and the Museum

Posted by Amanda Gustin on August 3, 2011 in forum not temple, potpourri |

The always-interesting blog Asking Audiences, which is the voice of Slover-Linett Strategies, has a good response to the recent Onion article that cleverly (and painfully!) characterizes art museums as “art jails.” The Onion’s art museum joke is worth taking seriously

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Blue Avocado

Posted by Amanda Gustin on July 29, 2011 in forum not temple, free resources, professional development |

Some thoughtful reading for you going into the weekend. Blue Avocado is a very thoughtful newsletter/magazine/blog dedicated to solving issues in nonprofits. They tend to focus on “community organizations” but their advice is practical, timely, and spot-on for museums as well. Enjoy, and hopefully you are all now craving guacamole right along with me…

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Using Historic Places

Posted by Amanda Gustin on July 26, 2011 in forum not temple |

I’m sure many of you have heard about the Month at a Museum program that the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago does. Last year was a big success, and they’re going ahead with a second program this year. I don’t know about the rest of you, but this hits all the museum-loving buttons […]

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An Interview with Historypin Founder Nick Stanhope

Posted by Amanda Gustin on July 15, 2011 in forum not temple |

Nick Stanhope, CEO of We Are What We Do and the founder/creator of Historypin, was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule of press promotion this week to talk to me about Historypin, and how he see it working with museums and archives. He has some really interesting ideas about how […]

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Historypin Launches

Posted by Amanda Gustin on July 11, 2011 in forum not temple, free resources |

Get excited, because this is really, really cool, and it launches today. Historypin is a website that enables users to upload their own historical content – of any kind – and then tag it on Google Maps. It is then geo-cached and dated. You can layer historical streetviews over existing streetviews – or see the […]

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Museum Admissions Fees

Posted by Amanda Gustin on June 30, 2011 in forum not temple |

This is a bit older, but it still discusses the question in a variety of interesting lights: The Cultural Calculation: Museum Fees. On the one hand: museums need any source of revenue they can get, and shouldn’t be selling themselves short. They are great enough that people should be willing to pay for the quality […]

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State and National Parks in Trouble

Posted by Amanda Gustin on June 15, 2011 in forum not temple |

Last week, I posted a roundup of great On Point episodes about museums, and last week they had one to add to the list: National and State Parks at the Crossroads

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Ranking Charities by Administrative Costs

Posted by Amanda Gustin on June 13, 2011 in forum not temple |

Interesting post from the Freakonomics blog about why ranking charities by their administrative costs is a bad idea. In short: nonprofits should be evaluated by mission, and how they’re fulfilling that mission. Obviously, careful frugality is important, but if you look solely at the numbers for overhead, you’re missing most of the picture. Those of […]

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Nonprofits Losting Tax Exemption

Posted by Amanda Gustin on June 10, 2011 in forum not temple |

Quick post of an article that caught my eye from the recent newsletter from the Center for the Future of Museums: 275,000 Groups Lose Tax Exemptions After Failing to File Paperwork With IRS The CFM estimates that’s about 1,000 museums. Some of those museums, of course, haven’t existed for years. You can actually see the […]

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First Lady Michelle Obama Joins IMLS to Launch “Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens”

Posted by Amanda Gustin on May 26, 2011 in forum not temple, museums in the news |

I’m going to post a recent press release I received from AASLH, and then pose a few questions at the end of it. It’s a really interesting initiative that deserves some good thought. First Lady Michelle Obama Joins IMLS to Launch Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens For more information, visit: Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens […]

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The Newest in Remote Participation: MyFarm

Posted by Amanda Gustin on May 11, 2011 in forum not temple |

Wimpole Farm, a working farm run by the UK’s National Trust in Cambridgeshire, England, is hoping to capitalize on the internet obsession with FarmVille by opening up its operations to 10,000 internet fans. They’re calling the project MyFarm. By paying 30 pounds a year, internet users the world over can have access the world over […]

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The Pitfalls of Non-Profit Accounting

Posted by Amanda Gustin on April 25, 2011 in forum not temple, potpourri |

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, […]

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Musuems and the World: Whose Story Is It?

Posted by Amanda Gustin on April 4, 2011 in forum not temple, professional development |

This is an absolutely amazing-looking forum coming up on Thursday, April 14. Those of you who are not in Rainey’s Material Culture class should absolutely check it out – and please write about it for the blog! *** On April 14 2011 The Northeastern University Humanities Center will host seven leading museum professionals, philosophers and […]

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Museums: Educators or Collectors?

Posted by Amanda Gustin on March 25, 2011 in forum not temple |

I recently finished reading Thomas Hoving’s memoir, Making the Mummies Dance. Hoving was director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1967 to 1977. He was a fascinating, polarizing figure, and passed away in 2009; his obituary in the New York Times is a thoughtful summation of his life and work. Hoving had clear, definite […]

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Lessons from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Posted by Amanda Gustin on March 23, 2011 in forum not temple |

I don’t know how many museums are unionized (I’d love to hear about any, if anyone has some leads), so the specific problem that the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is facing might not have a direct correlation to museums – but other aspects certainly do. Essentially, the orchestra’s private employment difficulties have spilled out into the […]

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Improv at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Posted by Amanda Gustin on March 18, 2011 in forum not temple, potpourri |

You might well have seen this already – it’s gone viral in museum circles – but just in case you haven’t: King Philip IV recently signed autographs in front of his Velazquez portrait at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Well, sort of. Scroll down and read the comments on Improv Everywhere’s write-up of the stunt. […]

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House Appropriations Letter Supporting Office of Museum Services

Posted by Amanda Gustin on March 14, 2011 in forum not temple |

This is a move-fast kind of alert. I just completed the process outlined here by the AAM, and it took two minutes and twelve second. (Yes, I used a stopwatch.) That two minutes and twelve seconds included composing the following paragraph, which I offer here for you to cut-and-paste into the relevant section of the […]

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Audience and the Future

Posted by Amanda Gustin on March 14, 2011 in forum not temple |

Those of you who don’t listen to NPR regularly might not know that the public radio organization has been in quite a bit of hot water lately. Most recently, its former head of development was caught on tape saying some rather…ill-advised things. He believed he was talking to representatives of a potential donor; he was […]

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Happy (?) Museums Advocacy Day!

Posted by Amanda Gustin on February 28, 2011 in forum not temple |

If you haven’t been following the AAM’s Facebook feed – or any of their other communication methods – you might not know that today and tomorrow are designated as Museum Advocacy Days. The AAM, through its website Speak Up For Museums, is promoting a number of ways to get in touch with your local representatives […]

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National Arts Strategies

Posted by Amanda Gustin on February 21, 2011 in forum not temple, professional development |

This isn’t exactly a professional organization, so we’re spinning information about this great organization off into its own post. National Arts Strategies is a group that helps with “organizational leadership for arts and culture.” They provide advice, training, and general information about best practices in arts and culture organizations. Right now that means they’re putting […]

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Museums and Historic Preservation in FY 2012

Posted by Amanda Gustin on February 14, 2011 in forum not temple, museums in the news |

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is live-blogging their analysis of President Obama’s proposed budget for next year. They’ll be updating throughout the day as they discuss areas of the budget that relate to historic preservation and public funding for the arts. If you want to do your own research, there’s an interactive breakdown of […]

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Google ArtProject

Posted by Kristin Bierfelt on February 7, 2011 in forum not temple, museums in the news |

Google Art Project: Accessibility and Close Looking Google Art Project, which launched on February 1, is touted as Google Street View indoors. Art Project presents gallery views from 17 major international institutions—from the Met and MoMA to the Hermitage to Tate Britain—which let visitors explore a 360-degree panorama of almost 400 different rooms throughout the […]

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Museums and Community; or, The Best Superbowl Wager Ever

Posted by Amanda Gustin on February 5, 2011 in forum not temple |

How’s this for engaging with the community: the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art (in Pittsburgh) have thrown their weight behind their football teams (that would be the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively) in a really brilliant way. Here’s how it works: If the Steelers with the Superbowl, the […]

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