Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

Weekly Job Round-Up

This week has been full of job postings. Best of luck to our hunters! These are the postings for the week of June 16:

Northeast: 

Director of Conservation Partnerships (The New England Aquarium, Boston, MA) 

Director (Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts, Lynn, MA) 

Director of Finance and Administration (Discovery Museum, Acton, MA) 

Executive Director (Museum L-A, Lewiston, ME) 

Manager of Adult Education (Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA) 

Research Communications Associate II (Museum of Science, Boston, MA) 

Collections Assistant/ Exhibit Preparator (Concord Museum, Concord, MA) 

Development Officer (Concord Museum, Concord, MA) 

Astor Curator and Department Head, Printed Books and Bindings (The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY) 

Director of Philanthropy (New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA)  

Planning and Logistics Administrator (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA) 

Assistant Director of Procurement (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA) 

Art Educator (MassArt Art Museum, Boston, MA) 

Digital Marketing Associate (Old North Church & Historic Site) 

Senior Institutional Giving Officer (Historic New England, Boston, MA) 

Manager of Development Events (John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, Boston, MA) 

Museum Partnerships Growth Associate (Cuseum, Boston, MA) 

 Historical Interpreter/Actor (Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, Boston, MA) 

Program Coordinator (Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA) 

Gallery Learning Museum Educators (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA) 

Family and Art Lab Programs Coordinator (The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA) 

Teaching Artists (Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA) 

Senior Assistant Director, Prospect Research and Management (American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY) 

Manager of Adult Programming (Jackie Robinson Foundation, New York, NY) 

Senior Curator (Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, NY) 

Executive Director (Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY) 

Director of Development (Seward House Museum, Auburn, NY) 

Executive Director (Nantucket Preservation Trust, Nantucket, MA) 

Midwest: 

Senior Curator (The John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI) 

Bloch Family Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow (The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO) 

Educator, Adult Learning (School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL) 

Community Arts Program Coordinator (John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI) 

Outreach Coordinator (John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI) 

Director – Library and Museum Manager (Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota Duluth) 

Museum Associate Preparator (University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK) 

Curator of Public Programs (Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Cleveland, OH) 

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL) 

Vice President, Design & Exhibits (John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL) 

Senior Manager, Collections, Education, and Operations (Missouri Botanical Garden, Chesterfield, MO) 

K-12 Programs Coordinator (Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis, MO) 

Park Superintendent III (Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, North Platte, NE) 

Executive Director (Organization of American Historians, Bloomington, IN) 

West: 

Director of Education (Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ) 

Vice President, Education and Engagement (San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego, CA) 

Deputy Director, Advancement (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA) 

Director, Donor Relations (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA) 

Assistant VP, School and Family Programs (LACMA, Los Angeles, CA) 

Executive Director (Museum of Western Colorado, Gran Junction, CO) 

Director, K-College Programs (The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Los Angeles, CA) 

Education Director (California Museum, Sacramento, CA) 

Curator of Latin Music (The GRAMMY Museum, Los Angeles, CA) 

Curator of Education and Interpretation (Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA) 

Executive Director (Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM) 

Curator of Interpretation (Wyoming State Museum, Cheyenne, WY) 

Education & Public Engagement Manager (San Diego Museum of Man, CA) 

Southern: 

Vice President of Education (Orlando Science Center, Orlando, FL) 

The Jorge Baldor Curator of Latin American Art (Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX) 

ICAA Digital Humanities Specialist (The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, TX) 

Director of Development (The Children’s Museum of the Upstaate, Greenville, SC

Executive Director (Stonewall National Museum & Archives, Fort Lauderdale, FL) 

Education and Programs Coordinator (Briscoe Western Art Museum, San Antonio, TX) 

Director of Development (National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Pooler, GA) 

Chief Philanthropy Officer (The Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas, TX) 

Mid-Atlantic: 

Museum Deputy Directory for Education and Special Programs (Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons, MD) 

Chief Curator (Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ) 

Museum Curator of Latinx Political History (Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.) 

Assistant Director for Education, Outreach, & Visitor Services (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.) 

Director of Guest Experience and Operations (Liberty Hall Museum, Union, NJ) 

Curator of Community and Academic Programs (Biggs Museum of American Art, Dover, DE) 

Director of Inclusion (American Alliance of Museums, Arlington, VA) 

Historic Site Manager (NOVA Parks, Alexandria, VA) 

Exploring Xiangtan Museums

In May, I took a trip to China to visit a friend who is working as an English teacher in the city of Xiangtan. While I was there, I wanted to visit as many museums as possible to see if there was a cultural difference. Of course, I could only visit museums that were near the city, but I felt that I left with some new inspirations and understandings of the way we run our museums in this country. My few key takeaways:

Small projection of a pig statue that rotates for visitors to see all sides of the object.
Pig statue projection.
  1. Technology was everywhere!
    From the moment we walked in the door at the Xiangtan museum, we were surrounded by technology, but it didn’t feel obtrusive. Instead, it was used to bring the visitor closer to the objects. The picture to the right shows the projection of a statue of a pig that was on display in one of the museum’s cases. The projection of the statue allows the visitor to see all sides of the object because there were designs that were hidden in the case display. This technique worked particularly well for vases or objects that need to be displayed in-the-round. In fact, they had a section dedicated exclusively to pottery with the technological ability using QR codes to bring up digital recreations of vases and pottery that matched some pottery shards that were on display (see picture below). Using technology to put the objects in a greater context was an excellent way to engage visitors, who otherwise might have passed over this section of fragmented pottery.  
  2. This history was so much older than I expected. While in the US, we have Native American art and artifacts, which I have seen dating back as far as 12,000 years old, it was a totally new experience to see some pieces in the Xiangtan museum that could be dated as far back as 300,000 years ago! This was not something that I had thought in-depth about prior to visiting. The artifacts that have survived this long are mostly fragments of stone tools, and the technology that the museum incorporated allowed the visitor to feel like they could actually interact with the object because you could pull it up on the touchscreen kiosks to look more closely at them.  
  3. Less programming – the museums that we visited had less programming and more focus on history and the objects in the collection. In the United States, museums often attract people based on their programming, which is designed around their objects and the stories that the museum is trying to tell.  None of the Xiangtan museums that I visited had programming to supplement their exhibits.  

While I cannot speak for the culture of museums in other parts of the country, I had an excellent time visiting the ones in Xiangtan and seeing new ways to integrate technology into the experience. Even though I personally prefer our model of involving community programming, I found it compelling that the objects were such a focus in the museum experience.  

My friend, Mariah, using the interactive display about pottery.

Making Use of the Tools We Have

This week the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) announced that they will be closing their doors for four months later this year to complete their ongoing renovation and completely rehang their collection. When the museum reopens in the fall, they will rotate their collection more frequently, juxtapose works in different mediums, and, crucially, include more works that emphasize the contributions of women, people of color, and non-European artists to modern and contemporary art. They will also partner with the Studio Museum in Harlem, an American art museum that focuses on African American artists, to display their collection while that museum is being renovated.

This is a massive and much needed undertaking. Women and people of color have historically been included in MoMA’s exhibits in marginal ways. A 2015 Artnet survey of solo exhibitions from 2007-2014 at major American art museums found that only 20% of MoMA’s shows featured women artists. Not that these types of exclusion are limited to MoMA. Artnet recently looked at exhibitions of work by black artists at 30 major museums from 2008 to 2018 and found that they accounted for a mere 7.6 percent. So full-throated attempts to remedy these biases and gaps are welcomed. But not every museum can afford to close for months to revamp their space or aggressively collect work from marginalized artists. What can workers at those institutions do?

I recently attended a workshop on Social Justice and Museums run by Nicole Claris, Manager of School Programs at the MFA, Boston, and Sara Egan, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The workshop was put on by the Young Emerging Professionals group of the New England Museum Association. Its focus was on how to marshal resources to create exhibits, programming, and other experiences that surface marginalized lives and multiple points of view. Examples of real life successes were shared, like revamping a volunteer training program to give docents the knowledge and tools they needed to tell inclusive and truthful stories. Then step by step instructions for how to apply these intentions to your institution were shared:

  1. The work begins with you. Take a moment to check with yourself and see if you are able to take feedback about your work. It is ok to make mistakes, but we also have to be able to learn from them. This is how we build more inclusive experiences that share multiple perspectives.
  2. Define your goals and audience. What tools and objects do you already have in your institution? Perhaps it is a piece of art featuring a person of color. Are you telling that story? Maybe your historical institution starts its narrative when Europeans came on the scene. Can you surface the indigenous story as well?
  3. Get support. Determine how the actions you want to take relate to your institutional values and priorities. Identify people in your institution that could be allies. Build an external network of people who can help you do this work – who is doing this work that you can point to as a leader? What community organizations can you build relationships with to help your organization change? Who can help you with your blind spots and keep you honest?
  4. Identify activities that align with your goals. External resources from organizations doing this sort of thinking can help. Among those recommended were the Teaching Tolerance Project from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Empathetic Museum Maturity Model.
  5. Use your collection! Know what you have, through and through. Take opportunities to research objects that you think might have another perspective to share.
  6. Picture success. What will change look like in your institution? Remember that incremental change is better than no change at all.

We don’t all work at MoMA, but we can all make changes that tell wider, more robust stories about art, history, science, and the world. Do you have resources for doing this sort of work? Share in the comments!

Weekly Jobs Roundup!

Hello job seekers! Please find below the national jobs roundup for the week of February 5th!

Northeast

Director, Division of Education [Marine Biological Laboratory- Woods Hole, MA]

Executive Director [Connecticut River Museum- Essex, CT]

Membership Assistant [Brooklyn Museum- Brooklyn, NY]

Education Specialist [Heritage Museum and Gardens- Sandwich, MA]

Project Manager for Community Archiving Grant [UMass Boston- Boston, MA]

Director of Museum Experience [Discovery Museum- Acton, MA]

STEAM Programs Supervisor [Providence Children’s Museum- Providence, RI]

Mid-Atlantic

Campaign Director [National Museum of African American History and Culture- Washington, D.C.]

Associate Director of Education [Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum- Washington, D.C.]

Education Specialist [Friends of the National Zoo- Washington, D.C.]

Processing Archivist [The Phillips Collection- Washington, D.C.]

Museum Educator [Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution- Washington, D.C.]

Museum/Historic Site Interpreter [Delaware State Museums- Lewes, DE]

Southeast

Manager of Family Program [High Museum of Art Atlanta- Atlanta, GA]

Museum Assistant [Rogers Historical Museum- Rogers, AR]

Associate Museum Educator [Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art- Bentonville, AR]

Audience Research and Evaluation Associate [Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art- Bentonville, AR]

Manager of Interpretation [North Carolina Museum of Art- Raleigh, NC]

Assistant Museum Curator [City of Portsmouth- Portsmouth, VA]

Midwest

Director of Curatorial Affairs [Allen County Museum and Historical Society- Lima, OH]

Exhibition Assistant General Manager [Hamilton Exhibition, LLC- Chicago, IL]

West

Curator [Draper Natural History Museum- Cody, WY]

Museum Education Assistant [Hands On Children’s Museum- Olympia, WA]

Director K-College Programs [Lucas Museum of Narrative Art- Los Angeles, CA]

 

A New Conversation for a New Year

What is a museum?

There’s a lot of ways to categorize them. Educational institutions. Tourist attractions. Repositories of knowledge or art. A place to bring the kids on spring break. One way that we like to think about a museum is as a community. The membership is a museum’s community, of course, but that is just one of many ways a museum can be a site of community. A museum can be a place where people gather, a locus that brings people together for common purposes. Museums can also be a member of a larger community, working to unite people and institutions around something bigger than itself, and reaping the rewards of that work. There’s a lot of power in that sort of engagement, and it’s something we’d like to spend more time thinking about in the pages (well, page) of this blog in 2019.

There’s a lot of ways to think about museums and community and we’re going to look at some of these in the next few months. Whether it is how Mass MOCA’s birth inside the shell of a former manufacturing plant is affecting its community in rural Berkshire County, MA, or following the progress of the Field Museum as it partners with local indigenous groups to re-envision its Native American exhibit halls, we are going to take some time to evaluate what museums are doing to create, strengthen, or expand their communities. We will also look at how arts organizations and other public spaces take on this work in ways that can be applied to museums. In taking these close looks, we hope to stimulate deeper conversations about what it means to be a museum and inspire people to look at their own organizations for ways to create new bonds with people and other organizations. Always, we hope to challenge assumptions about what and who an institution is for, who it speaks to, and what it can accomplish.

So together, let’s start thinking creatively about what it means to engage a community as a museum or as museum people. And let’s not forget that we’re a community, too, of readers and writers, and of museum students, alums, and workers! Please take a moment in the comments or send us an email at tuftsmuseumblog@gmail.com to let us know your thoughts about community and museums or to let us know about a great museum doing community engagement in a novel or successful way so we can write about it!

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