American & New England Studies Material Culture Series at Boston University

A terrific-sounding series, relayed to us by Museum Studies certificate alum Gretchen Pineo, who’s doing an MA in Historic Preservation at BU right now.

The American and New England Studies Program Announce Their 2012 Conversation Series:

MATERIAL CULTURE

Please Join Us For the First Meeting

Dale Broholm, Senior Critic of Furniture Design & Daniel Cavicchi, Associate Professor of History, Philosophy, and Social Sciences, Rhode Island School of Design will present:

“Witness Tree Project: Teaching History and Material Culture Through Object Creation”

When: October 22, 2012

Time: 6:00 PM

Where: CAS 200 / 725 Commonwealth Avenue

The Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site is currently exhibiting artwork from the Rhode Island School of Design’s Witness Tree Project through September 30th. The exhibit, entitled “Echoes of the Olmsted Elm,” presents student works created from the wood of the Olmsted Elm, a tree that for nearly 200 years graced the landscape of Fairsted, Olmstead’s home and office. Please visit www.nps.gov/frla/planyourvisit/elmexhibit.htm for more information.

Learn more about future events in the series at their website.

“Critical Conversations: The State of History in the National Park Service”

Great event, free to the public. Check it out, and if you go, write us a recap for the blog! The report they’re talking about can be found here.

“Critical Conversations: The State of History in the National Park Service”

In 2012, the Organization of American Historians released a report
critically examining the state of history in the National Parks.  Imperiled
Promise: The State of History in the National Park Service reveals the
findings of four historians who embarked on the study in 2008.  The report
identifies and addresses thirteen areas of concern.  Our discussions will
focus on the History/Interpretation Divide; Partnerships for History; Fixed
and Fearful Interpretation; and Civic Engagement.

At “Critical Conversations,” NPS staff tasked with the myriad
responsibilities of engaging the public with the past at the nation’s
parks– interpreters, historians, curators, and their colleagues-will
reflect on the report and its implications, and brainstorm ways to meet
identified challenges.  What will it take for the NPS to “recommit to
history,” and where we might go from here?

Join NPS staff and the UMass Boston History Department for an afternoon of
two consecutive roundtable discussions where participants will reflect on
the major findings of the OAH report; discussion with the audience will
follow.

The roundtable discussions will be followed by a reception.

Where: Massachusetts Archives
220 Morrissey Blvd., Columbia Point, Boston
3rd floor, Room 315

When: Friday, November 2, 2012

Time: 1:00-6:00 pm

Free and open to the public.  Parking available.

Co-sponsored by University of Massachusetts Boston History Department, and
Boston National Historical Park

Questions:  contact Jane Becker, History Department, UMass Boston
jane.becker@umb.edu

Food for Thought: Should Museums Accession lolcats?

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 that’s not a cool job, I don’t know what is.)

Food for Thought: Architecture With a Purpose

Check out this TED talk by Joshua Prince-Ramus. He and his architectural firm have designed a number of cultural spaces through a process he calls hyper-rationality, by listening to the needs of the space and providing the flexibility in which to serve the public. I was particularly struck by his responsiveness to the social aspects of these culture centers – one of which is a museum – and by the way in which architecture was not the star of the show, but in service to the greater mission.