Weekly Jobs Roundup!

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

How do we portray education in museums?

One of the (many) ongoing debates in museums concerns the definition of what is educational. At first glance, you would think that this would be fairly simple: an activity that teaches or imparts information in some way. In reality, it is far more complicated. Where do we draw the line between education and entertainment? Many museums struggle with finding the correct balance of fun and learning without straying into the realm of “edutainment.”

Enter the City Museum in St. Louis. The Museum has been around since 1997, when the International Shoe Company was converted by designer Bob Cassily into the current Museum. Arguably, the best way to describe it is as a gigantic playground for adults and children alike. Visitors are encouraged to explore a humongous 10 story slide (as opposed to the less humongous 5 story slide), a huge ball pit, realistic underground caves, and planes to explore. If you haven’t had a chance to check out what their museum offers, I would suggest you visit their website or check out this video.

So what is the educational value of the City Museum? Is it merely an amusement park dressed up as a museum? Cassily, founder and designer of the Museum, believes that the point of the Museum is not to have people “learn every fact;” rather, the purpose of the Museum is to instill a sense of exploration and discovery that is not place-specific. To Cassily and the City Museum staff, if the Museum is effectively educating, it sees itself as helping its visitors take what they practice in the museum and use it to navigate the outside world.

If we consider what the Museum is doing as more entertainment than education, what does that mean for our children’s museums? Is it a slippery slope? Or is it an effective way to bring in visitors and to give a fresh face to what is generally seen as the stuffy, closed off world of museums?

If we consider it to be education, and not merely entertainment, what kind of a precedent does that set for other museums or institutions providing educational resources and activities? Is it an equally slippery slope?

What do you think?

One thing is for sure – educational or not, I’ll be visiting the next time I find myself in St. Louis.

“My Intentional Practice” blog competition by Intentional Museum

Calling all Students!  Enter our second “My Intentional Practice” blog competition

Intentional Museum is happy to announce its second student blogging competition!  We believe thattomorrow’s museum professionals will shape and change the field through their unique perspectives and new ideas, and, because of that; there is a lot we can learn from students.  New voices keep us on our toes and encourage us to consider alternate viewpoints.

We think a lot about intentional practice and would like to hear how students think about intentional practice and the impact it can have on the visitor experience.  To that end, we ask that you reflect on the following question: Through your intentional practice, how do you help museums enrich the lives of others?

Perhaps you find joy in drafting a collections care plan, ensuring that objects and artifacts are around for many generations.  Maybe you spend your time thinking about how museums can better use digital opportunities or social media to expand their reach beyond the traditional walls.  From museum education to exhibitions, visitor services to administration, regardless of your focus, we want to hear from you.  We often reflect on our professional experiences on Intentional Museum, but we appreciate the personal connection.  We want your blogs to tell a story, to speak about your experience, and to highlight your unique insight into the museum field.

·         Bloggers must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree or certificate program and have an interest in museum practice.

·         Blogs should be no longer than 500 words and written in a conversational style.  Avoid jargon and academic language to ensure clarity.

·         You are welcome to share how the work of others has influenced your practice, but this isn’t required.  If you include quotes, be sure to include citations.

·         We have no idea what the winning blogs will look like – if you look through our past posts, you will see we tell stories, share academic insights, and sometimes we are funny.  We want to hear your story, so let your passion show.

·         Check your work carefully for spelling and accuracy.  While no one is perfect, winning blogs will be error free.

·         Email your entry to craig@randikorn.com <mailto:craig@randikorn.com> by5:00pm (EST), Friday, March 13, 2015.

RK&A staff will review all entries and publish the top one or two responses on the Intentional Museum blog.  Winners will be notified and announced at the end of March.  Winning blog posts will be shared with our readers in April and May 2015.  Winners will also receive a copy of one of our favorite museum books, Stephen Weil’s Making Museums Matter, with a personalized note from Randi.

How to Enter:
·         One (1) entry per blogger, please.

·         Send your blog as a Word document attached to an email.

·         Include your name, school, degree program and expected graduation date in the body of the email, with the subject line “Intentional Museum Blog Competition.”

·         Please do not include your name/identifying information as a header to your blog entry.  Each entry will be assigned a number to ensure unbiased review.

·         Email your entry to craig@randikorn.com <mailto:craig@randikorn.com> by5:00pm (EST), Friday, March 13, 2015.

Other Important Information:
·         RK&A reserves the right to edit winning blog entries for content and length.

·         Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond with their contact information for book delivery.

·         Books will only be mailed to those in the United States and will be sent via the US Postal Service no later than May 1, 2015.

·         If a winner does not respond in the allotted timeframe, an alternate winner will take his/her place.

·         Winners will be asked to submit a picture of themselves for publication with their blog.

Still have questions?  Contact us at craig@randikorn.com <mailto:craig@randikorn.com> , or ask in the blog comments!

Emily Craig, Research Associate, RK&A

Learn with us:
On our Website: www.randikorn.com <http://www.randikorn.com/>
On Twitter: @IntentionalMuse <www.twitter.com/IntentionalMuse>
On our blog: www.intentionalmuseum.com <http://intentionalmuseum.com/>

2417 B Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301

The Massachusetts Historical Society’s Current Exhibition, “Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country,” Explores the Experience of Massachusetts Women in World War I

The Massachusetts Historical Society’s latest exhibit, “Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in the First World War,” tells of the Great War from a lesser-known perspective: that of American women. Featuring photographs, letters, diaries, and memorabilia, this exhibit captures the experiences of Margaret Hall and Eleanor “Nora” Saltonstall, two women from Massachusetts who served in France and Belgium as volunteers for the Red Cross.

The exhibit is simple and sparse, but the poignant voices of these women shine through. Both women witnessed some of the most climactic months of the Great War and both documented their experiences in great detail. Margaret Hall’s photographs serve as powerful images of battered and war-torn Europe. Hall’s large-format photographs, which are on loan from the Cohasset Historical Society, strikingly hang on the gallery walls. She captured various subjects with her camera lens, from the crumbling ruins of Reims, France, to candid moments between Italian soldiers outside of battle.

Eleanor Saltonstall wrote many letters home to her family while she was a nurse in France. It is through her words that we get a more vivid and complete understanding of what the experience as a volunteer nurse was like during World War I. In one letter dating from 1918 that is on display, Saltonstall explains why she is serving abroad. She writes, “Don’t look upon me as headstrong and seeking excitement; I’m not, but I have been hunting for a job which is real work and which is a direct help, even if it is the tiniest drop in the bucket, to the ultimate close of war.”

Accompanying this exhibition are powerful World War I propaganda posters heralding American patriotism and service. In “Persuasive Images,” the visitor gets a more broad sense of the war effort at home.

“Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country: Massachusetts Women in the First World War” is open at the Massachusetts Historical Society until January 24th, 2015. The exhibit is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

Behind the velvet rope: Revealing process with museum tours and programs — guest post by instructor Ken Turino

Tufts Instructor Ken Turino passed along this article he published last month on Public History Commons.

Public History Commons Editor’s Note: In “What I’ve Learned Along the Way: A Public Historian’s Intellectual Odyssey,” outgoing NCPH President Bob Weyeneth issued a call to action to public historians to include the public more fully in our work by “pulling back the curtain” on our interpretive process-how we choose the stories we tell. In this series of posts, we’ve invited several public historians to reflect on projects that do exactly that, assessing their successes and examining the challenges we face when we let the public in through the door usually reserved for staff.

Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, in Gloucester, Massachusetts is now interpreted as the home of a gay man.

As a public historian working in a museum, Robert R. Weyeneth’s call to “lift the veil” and bring the public into the interpretive process is welcome–and necessary if we want to broaden the kinds of stories we tell. As Jennifer Pustz writes in Voices from the Back Stairs, “the influx of academically trained historians on museum staffs and the subsequent influence of social history on exhibitions and interpretation have resulted in a broader definition of authenticity that can encompass the whole truth, warts and all, and the history of all Americans.” [1]

Why, then, are many museums and historic sites so reticent to explore diverse stories? Do they fear the public’s reaction? If so, why aren’t we involving the visitor more in the process of historical interpretation?

– Read the full article at http://publichistorycommons.org/behind-the-velvet-rope/#sthash.OmXhPsHs.dpuf