Museum Studies at Tufts University

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MFA, Boston Receives 113 Masterpieces

113 Dutch and Flemish painting masterpieces, have been gifted to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, doubling the institutions Dutch collection. Couples, Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo and Susan and Matthew Weatherbie, decided to contribute their two private collections to the museum, which include Rembrants and Rubens. This gift constitutes one of the most significant donations in the institution’s history, and the single largest gift of European Art ever bequeathed to the MFA. According to the Boston Globe, The MFA was one of a handful of New England Museums(who were not named) competing for the van Otterloo collection. Rose-Marie van Otterloo reported to the New York Times that she and her husband are happy their collection will be housed at the MFA where “it can be displayed, loaned and shared with the widest possible audiences.”


In addition to their generous art donation, the van Otterloos also intend to establish a Center for Netherlandish Art to house the Haverkamp-Begemann Library. This center will serve as a scholarly research area, and will consist of 20,000 books.


Rather than stuffing these collection pieces into storage, the MFA, Boston has graciously decided to host a special installation displaying pieces from these private collections. Visitors can view the art in galleries 243 and 244, and can expect to view 17th century masterpieces such as “Portrait of Aeltje Uylenburgh” by Rembrandt, “Coronation of the Virgin” by Peter Paul Rubens, and “Orpheus Charming the Animals” by Aelbert Cuyp. This will certainly be a gem to explore!

Weekly Jobs Roundup!

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. Happy hunting!

New England        





NEMA Call for Papers


Editors:  Rebekah Beaulieu, Dawn E. Salerno, and Mark S. Gold

We are inviting submissions to be included in this forthcoming book to be published by MuseumsEtc on the centennial of the founding of New England Museum Association (NEMA). Submissions are limited to members of NEMA.

Widely respected as a locus of educational, historical, and cultural activities, New England has long served as a region founded in tradition and expanded with innovation. New England has made innumerable contributions to the museum field in the establishment of museums and academic programs. The founding of New England Museum Association in 1918 fortified the region’s commitment to the development of museums, and it is in the same spirit that we issue a publication dedicated to the state of affairs in museums on the centennial of NEMA. This publication is the first to bring together diverse voices, linked by their commitment to NEMA, in order to contemplate the issues, challenges, strengths, and developments within today’s museums. Curated by NEMA thought leaders, this volume will celebrate and essentialize the tenets at the core of the NEMA mission and of museum leaders everywhere, exploring issues of community, advocacy, thought leadership, other topics in candid considerations of the past, present, and future of museums.


  • To coalesce a variety of perspectives from our members into a publication reflecting the current state of museums, and to consider our roles as producers and consumers in the museum world, and in the context of the evolution of the museum field over the course of the 100 years of NEMA’s existence.
  • To recognize the shifts in culture, urbanization, technology and diversity that have affected and continue to impact the mission, operations, and priorities of museums.
  • To reflect on meaningful museum experiences which NEMA members have been a part of – either as professionals or as visitors – and to contemplate where our field may venture in the future.
  • To offer a diverse range of voices from academic and professional fields, of all backgrounds and age levels.
  • To celebrate the NEMA Centennial by creating of a record of past developments in the museum field, impressions of the current state of museum affairs, and thoughts to lead us onto the future of museums.


We welcome proposals for essays from members of NEMA. Not a member of NEMA? Join today!

Aspects of interest include – but are not limited to –

  • The future of the field and the potential legacy(ies) of museums in America and particularly (but not exclusively) in the New England region
  • The role of innovation, including professional practice and audience programming.
  • Positive and impactful museum experiences.
  • Successful work of museums, including discussions of institutional structures, policies, or practices, inclusive of administration, operations, finances, fund-raising, facilities, collections management, technology, and ethics.
  • Museums as personal, professional, and cultural motivators of change.


If you are interested in being considered as a contributor, please submit a proposal and a short biography (in Microsoft Word format). Proposals should be 300-500 words in length and biographies 100-200 words.

You can propose to submit either a chapter or a case study. Chapters will be 4000-6000 words in length. Case studies will be 1000-2000 words. The inclusion of images is encouraged. Please prepare your proposal with these parameters in mind. The work should not have been published elsewhere and all contributions must be submitted in English – translation services will not be provided.

The deadline for proposals is Monday, November 20, 2017. Please email your proposal to both the editors [] and the publishers []. Any queries in advance of submission should be sent to the editors.

The State of Museums: Voices from the Field will be published by MuseumsEtc in print and digital editions. Contributors will receive a complimentary copy of the publication and a discount on more.


Proposals Due:  November 20, 2017
Contributors Notified:  December 11, 2017
Completed Papers Due:  March 5, 2018


Censorship and Expression: The Challenge off the Provocative in Museums.

Censorship and Expression: The Challenge off the Provocative in Museums.

When is provocative too provocative? This past week, three pieces were pulled from the Guggenheim Museum’s show “Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World”  due to protests from animal rights activists concerned about the portrayal of animals in this exhibit. The works pulled from the exhibit depict eight Pitbull’s on eight treadmills trying to fight each other, pigs engaged in intercourse, and insects, snakes, and small lizards underneath a lamp.

The removals from the Guggenheim follow the removal of Scaffold, a sculpture opposing capital punishment, drawing from controversial hangings in U.S. history from the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, as well as protests at the Whitney Museum of Art surrounding Dana Schutz’s painting Open Casket,  portraying  Emmitt Till’s mutilated body.

The censorship vs expression battle between museums, artists, and the public is nothing new. Marcel Duchamp faced criticism for his found object art in 1917, and Picasso’s 1937 mural depicting the massacre of a Basque village was censored in the 1960s because Americans thought it was insensitive to Vietnam.

Artists have a right to express, but does a museum have the right to display works that may cause harm to others or that causs harm to the subjects of the work (in the Guggenheim case the animals)? If museums are held in the public trust, they should listen to the responses of the audience. Yet at the same time, museums are not neutral institutions. Whether implicitly or explicitly they push social, political, and even economic themes. The issue of censorship becomes clear when the staff, faculty, and museum goers safety comes into question. If the public is threatening violence over an exhibit, pieces need to be removed.

Perhaps in the case of the Guggenheim the works were correctly removed because they display physical harm done to animals, which is not good art. The animals were actually in these perilous situations to be photographed. Yet in cases such as Dana Shutz’s at the Whitney, she was not putting any creature in physical harm with her paintings, rather members of social activist groups did not feel she had authority as a white woman to paint a black man’s brutal  death. In the cases of censorship how does a museum weight physical vs. emotional harm in their decision to remove a piece?

As with most controversy, there is no clear answer to the expression v. censor debate. Yet I do feel that any physical harm or violence incited over the pieces in a museum should trigger the removal of the object so as to protect the workers and visitors. These protests against artwork may begin to pop up more frequently as social media fuels social protests and change. Museums will need to figure out a means to deal with the bold and provocative while remaining safe institutions for the public.

Audience Engagement Coordinator [Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, PA]

The Museum: From the pre-revolutionary drama of the French & Indian War to the legendary match-ups of the Super Steelers, discover 250 years of Pittsburgh history at the Senator John Heinz History Center. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the History Center is the largest history museum in Pennsylvania with six floors of long-term and changing exhibition space. The History Center’s museum system includes the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, a dynamic museum-within-a-museum; the Fort Pitt Museum in Point State Park; and Meadowcroft Rockshelter & Historic Village, a National Historic Landmark located in Avella, Pa. in Washington County. The History Center presents the most compelling stories from American history with a Western Pennsylvania connection, all in an interactive environment perfect for visitors of every age.

The Position: The Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the largest history museum in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is currently seeking a full time Audience Engagement Coordinator to become part of a dynamic and growing Education Division program. The Audience Engagement Coordinator will report to the Director of Education, working to oversee the Education Division’s interpretive volunteers, including docents and gallery volunteers, and to develop in-gallery learning experiences for the public. These learning experiences should maximize the engagement of both interpretive volunteers and visitors. The Audience Engagement Coordinator develops and implements programmatic opportunities and leads the recruitment of a diverse volunteer corps, scheduling, training, and evaluation of the interpretive volunteers who support these gallery-based programs. Beyond solidifying and strengthening the existing interpretive volunteer program, the Audience Engagement Coordinator will collaborate with the Director of Education, Volunteer Program Coordinator, and Museum Division team to create new roles for interpretive volunteers in the galleries to increase the range of opportunities available. This position also works to establish and maintain positive relationships between the interpretive volunteers, museum staff, and audiences.

Requirements: This position requires a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in education, history, museum education, education, or other humanities or liberal arts discipline. The ideal candidate will: have a minimum of one to three years’ experience managing volunteers and developing programs for the public; demonstrated skills in developing and implementing training programs in an informal learning setting, with preference for museum-based experience; effective oral and listening skills and the ability to work effectively with people of diverse cultures, ages, and economic backgrounds; excellent writing skills; must have a positive approach to problem solving, collaborating with others, and in approaching new tasks; excellent project management skills and ability to use Microsoft Office suite of programs.

Application Process: We are an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or disability. Minorities are encouraged to apply. Qualified applicants should submit a cover letter, including salary requirements and how you learned of this vacancy, and a resume to:

Renee Falbo, Director of Human Resources

Senator John Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222


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