Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring museums, ideas, and conversation

Category: Uncategorized (page 4 of 20)

The Importance of Collections Access on the Web

by guest columnist Elyse Werling

Students in this year’s Exhibition Planning class were given a challenge: choose an image that inspires you from the photographs in Historic New England’s exhibition, “The Camera’s Coast,” and use it as a jumping-off point for a full-blown exhibition plan. Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition is to take place at the Tufts University Koppleman Gallery May 6-18, 2014. Opening reception Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5:30-8pm. See the Facebook page here.

As a museum professional, you must be conscious of protecting your collection yet at the same time must facilitate access to the collection. For many, the question of whether to provide online collections access poses both risks and benefits. I have often heard that museums that post online access spur greater interest in their collections which in turn generates more visitors. I myself have often debated the risks and benefits to posting collections on line and until this point have been on the fence about it.

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Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition: “Bull” Halsey

by guest columnist Brian Miskell

Students in this year’s Exhibition Planning class were given a challenge: choose an image that inspires you from the photographs in Historic New England’s exhibition, “The Camera’s Coast,” and use it as a jumping-off point for a full-blown exhibition plan. Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition is to take place at the Tufts University Koppleman Gallery May 6-18, 2014. Opening reception Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5:30-8pm. See the Facebook page here.

My exhibition plan focuses on the career of Fleet Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey, US Navy (Retired). My photograph is of the first ship he served on fresh out of the Naval Academy, USS Missouri (BB-11).

I was recently reading Halsey’s autobiography, Admiral Halsey’s Story, which he wrote after World War II. From October 18, 1942 until July 15, 1944, Halsey served as Commander, South Pacific Area. While reading this section of his book, I saw a passage describing how Eleanor Roosevelt was to visit his area. Reading this, I recalled seeing a photograph that included someone I believed at the time could have been Eleanor Roosevelt among a large group photos that my grandfather had kept from his time serving in the 13th Army Air Force in the Pacific during World War II. After reading about the visit, I retrieved the collection of photos, went through them, and found two photos that included both Halsey and Mrs. Roosevelt. The activity taking place in one of the photos is actually described in Halsey’s book, “At one hospital, I arranged for her to pin the Navy Cross and two Purple Hearts on my ‘one-man army,’ Lieutenant Miller of the Strong.”

While I am not sure where my grandfather obtained the prints, I’m assuming they were stock photos he acquired as he wasn’t in the area at the time.

While I am not sure where my grandfather obtained the prints, I’m assuming they were stock photos he acquired as he wasn’t in the area at the time.

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My Journey on the Piscataqua

by guest columnist Amanda Breen

Students in this year’s Exhibition Planning class were given a challenge: choose an image that inspires you from the photographs in Historic New England’s exhibition, “The Camera’s Coast,” and use it as a jumping-off point for a full-blown exhibition plan. Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition is to take place at the Tufts University Koppleman Gallery May 6-18, 2014. Opening reception Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5:30-8pm. See the Facebook page here.

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My experience sailing on the Piscataqua, a traditional reproduction of the flat-bottom gundalow barges that were once prevalent along the local waterways of the Piscataqua River Region, sparked my interest in the photograph Fanny M., which was the last gundalow to operate commercially in the area. The gundalow, not especially handsome, was a practical working vessel perfectly adapted to the environment. One or two farmers could construct the utilitarian design of the gundalow over the course of the winter season. Uncaulked and unpainted, the vessels were given little care, yet the communities were entirely dependent on these vessels to transport necessary goods throughout the Piscataqua River region up until the twentieth century.

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Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition

by guest columnist Barbara Palmer

Students in this year’s Exhibition Planning class were given a challenge: choose an image that inspires you from the photographs in Historic New England’s exhibition, “The Camera’s Coast,” and use it as a jumping-off point for a full-blown exhibition plan. Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition is to take place at the Tufts University Koppleman Gallery May 6-18, 2014. Opening reception Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5:30-8pm. See the Facebook page here.

By now, you’ve probably heard that this year’s Exhibition Planning course is trying something new. Instead of curating an exhibition as a group with a set collection as in previous years, each class member is developing a proposal for an individual exhibition, with one object from a shared collection as a touchstone.

As my exhibition idea, titled, “Open Water: Women’s Swimwear and the Fight to Compete,” has grown throughout the semester, I’ve realized that developing ideas on your own can lead to feeling stuck in your own silo (or, “column of excellence,” an alternative moniker I’ve heard lately lately). Developing an entire exhibit solo not only lends a powerful feeling of freedom in making decisions without compromise or consequence, but can alternatively leave one feeling a bit alone in the planning too. In our future museum careers, the process of exhibit design collaboration in which we may be participating won’t come without a team in some way, shape, or form, so I’ve appreciated the opportunities both given and sought out to collaborate with others.

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Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition

by guest columnist Sarah McDonough

Students in this year’s Exhibition Planning class were given a challenge: choose an image that inspires you from the photographs in Historic New England’s exhibition, “The Camera’s Coast,” and use it as a jumping-off point for a full-blown exhibition plan. Snapshots: 15 Takes on an Exhibition is to take place at the Tufts University Koppleman Gallery May 6-18, 2014. Opening reception Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 5:30-8pm. See the Facebook page here.

The research process for this class has really shown just how much untapped history there is out there that most people aren’t aware of. While reading for my exhibit, A Little House on Deck: The Curious Journeys of Whaling Wives and Children at Sea, I discovered dozens of surviving diaries of women and girls who sailed as passengers on whaling ships. Reading through accounts of their adventures, it’s frustrating that so many of these people would not be remembered except for their writing, or the snippets of stories remembered about them. Here’s a particularly interesting one:

In 1846 the whaling ship Powhattan set out of Martha’s Vineyard for a hunt off the coast of New Zealand, on what appeared to be a cursed voyage. Continue reading

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