The Tufts Museum Studies blog is seeking new contributors!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on August 11, 2014 in blog news, professional development |
The Tufts Museum Studies blog is always open to new contributors, but as the new school year rolls around, we are actively recruiting. The blog is authored and managed by current students — alumni and experienced museum professionals are welcome to contribute guest posts.

Students, whether you are brand-new to Tufts this Fall or you’ve  been around for a while, consider writing a stand-alone blog post or a column. Columns can be weekly, monthly, you name it. You can work with others or on your own. If you prefer to create photo collages or some other media rather than writing, we’re open to that, too!

Feel free to browse the archives for inspiration. Here are some topics that have been covered on the blog in the past, but aren’t being covered on a regular basis now. You are welcome to pick up one of these and make it the theme of your own column or blog post, or start from scratch!

  • Museums in the News
  • Book reviews and recommendations
  • The future of museums
  • Interviews with museum professionals
  • Museum reviews
  • Science Museums — we haven’t had a column on history museums, art museums, or children’s museums before, but it would be welcome, too
If you are interested or have questions, contact Tegan at tufts.museum.blog@gmail.com or comment on this post.


Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on August 10, 2014 in jobs listings, Uncategorized |

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


The Wider World: How Do You Keep Up?

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on August 5, 2014 in The Wider World |
On my first day at Tufts, when all of the new students were sitting in the sweltering heat in the Gantcher Center, one of the speakers of our matriculation ceremony said to us, “From this point forward, you are behind.” He explained that in academia, there will always be more journal articles we need to read, lectures we need to attend, and so on, and that’s okay, and it will be that way our whole careers. He cautioned us not to get too far behind, but reminded us it is not a sign of failure if we are behind.
Optimistic words.
I find that in the parts of my Tufts life and professional life that aren’t part of “academia,” this may be even more true. Museums are constantly changing, and museum professionals are constantly trying new things and studying what works and what doesn’t.  How do you keep up? Well, I’m not an expert, but I am someone with a bit of practice at trying to keep up, so here are my tips.
  • Decide what you definitely don’t need to spend time reading. In my opinion, a blog post published on LinkedIn is  more likely than not a reach for internet clout on the part of the author, rather than a real contribution to a discussion. That just goes for the blog posts, however; LinkedIn discussion forums can be valuable.



  • Use social media to your advantage. I am going to scroll down my Facebook feed a couple times a day anyway, so it’s a good way to keep up with what’s happening at museums I care about and museum organizations that are doing cool work. Personally, I frequently find twitter overwhelming because there’s just so much there, but I follow all my favorite museums, NEMA, Museums Re:Blog, and others on Facebook, and then I get the short version of the news as it’s happening.


  • Keep track of blogs and other feeds with a feed aggregator (rest in peace, Google Reader). My current favorite is “The Old Reader.” It has the features I like, such as toggling between “show all” and “show unread,” and the option to mark something as read just by scrolling past it. It also has the option of using Spritz, a third-party speed-reading tool that I enjoy using occasionally. “Spritzing” mixes up my reading routine and helps me stay focused rather than letting my mind wander while I skim articles. The makers of Spritz also offer a bookmarklet so you can use their tool on any website; I have found it easier to use on some sites than others.


  • Whether it’s news in the field or something you’re reading for a class, it’s always a good idea to pay attention to how you are reading. Simple learning tricks such as reading the table of contents first, and reviewing chapters or sections  that are less important to you by reading the first and last few paragraphs, can go a long way to sorting through the massive amounts of information out there. I strongly recommend the modern classic How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren for an in-depth treatment of these and other strategies.

This post is geared towards keeping up with information by reading, partly because a large portion of media related to our fields is print-based, but also partly because I’m a fairly visual learner, and I’m much less likely to listen to a podcast or watch a video than I am to read a blog post. If you have tips for the audio-inclined, or any other thoughts on how you keep up, I encourage you to share them in the comments.


Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on August 3, 2014 in jobs listings |

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


Weekly Jobs Round-Up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on July 26, 2014 in jobs listings |

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


Help out a NEMA session by taking this survey

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on July 22, 2014 in Uncategorized |

Do you have a few minutes to spare to help with the data behind a NEMA 2014 conference panel?

Tufts Alum Amanda Gustin is chairing a panel titled “The Graduate School Conundrum.” The panel will open with analysis of trends in museum graduate education, and in order to do that analysis we need your help!

Whether or not you have a degree, whether or not you currently have a museum job, we are hoping you’ll fill out the survey and tell us a little bit about your background and your thoughts.

Survey link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1JPVHLvpoh_oJX5vh6xEHgtia7W4qVk0_ViyY70grjKU/viewform

The data will be followed by a conversational debate between Tufts program director Cynthia Robinson and museum consultant Linda Norris (of The Uncataloged Museum blog).

Here’s the official session description:

As the museum field has continued to professionalize, museum studies, public history, and other similar graduate programs seem to multiply at an exponential rate. What’s going on? We’ll present information from a 2014 survey of museum graduates & museum programs, and then continue with a conversational debate between panelists about the state, practicality, diversity, value, and future of museum studies. We will also invite questions and feedback from the audience.

Look for the results and panel discussion at the 2014 NEMA Annual Conference in Cambridge this fall! (More info on the conference at http://www.nemanet.org/conference-events/conference/2014-conference/main/.


Session proposals for the AAM Conference are now open!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on July 22, 2014 in conferences |


See http://www.aam-us.org/events/annual-meeting/sessions for details.

 Session Proposal Submission Opens        July 16
 Session Proposal Submission Deadline        August 25
 Session Acceptance/Non-Acceptance Sent        mid-November


Weekly Jobs Round-up!

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on July 20, 2014 in jobs listings |

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

Director [Columbus Museum] 

Assistant Curator – Arms and Armor [The Met] 

Curatorial Assistant [Cincinnati Art Museum] 

Senior Membership Manager [National 9/11 Memorial and Museum]

Exhibitions Coordinator [Asia Society Texas Center] 

Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs & Programs [Anchorage Museum] 

Photography and Image Rights Manager [Saint Louis Art Museum]

Director of Exhibitions and Design [Saint Louis Art Museum]

Education Specialist [Key West Art & Historical Society] 

Collections Manager [Iolani Palace] 

Exhibition Designer [The Met] 

Manager of Teaching and Learning [Brooklyn Historical Society]

Associate Collections Information Specialist [The Met]

Science Educator, Americorps Service Member [Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium] 

Head of Education [Connecticut Public Affairs Network - CT Old State House] 

Assistant Curator [Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum] 

Operations Manager and Assistant to the Director [Fuller Craft Museum]

Guest Curators (Volunteer) Unbound Visual Arts, Inc.

Curator of Furniture [Historic Deerfield]

Part-Time Museum Administrator [Gibson House Museum]


Upcoming Symposium in Boston

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on July 20, 2014 in boston emps, professional development |

Recent Tufts alumna Lauren Reddy passed this announcement along. Thanks, Lauren!

Full-time student registration is $35, and there are a limited number of scholarships available.



The Boston Athenaeum, 10 1/2 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts
October 3, 2014 at 8:00 am – 3:30 pm

On Friday, October 3, five speakers from Europe and the United States will come together to share experiences from their museums and heritage sites which have successfully integrated technology into interpretations of their historic interiors and landscapes. From mobile applications to virtual recreations, learn from these 21st-century innovators and come away with cutting-edge ideas from museum professionals around the world. Please join us for this full-day event.


Lee Glazer, PhD- Associate Curator, American Art, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
Victoria Kastner – Historian, Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California
Annie Kemkaran-Smith – Curator (Art Collections) Down House, National Collections Group, London, UK
John A. Sibbald – Chairman, Virtual Hamilton Palace Trust, Hamilton, Scotland
Loic Tallon – Senior Mobile Manager, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Telephone: 617.227.6993
Email: info@nicholshousemuseum.org



The Wider World: Design with the Public in Mind

Posted by Tegan Kehoe on July 16, 2014 in The Wider World |

by Tegan Kehoe

Have you seen the news? An activist group in London has begun pouring concrete over metal spikes that deter people from loitering and homeless people from sleeping in certain areas.. As it turns out, the field of designing to influence behavior is a pretty developed one. Designers install all kinds of features to make a space inhospitable to loitering. Some features look formidable, such as spikes and rough metal, but others, such as stone fill and undulating surfaces, are passed off as decorative elements. Some people say all design aims to influence behavior, whether it’s architecture or a mobile app.  

folding cane stool


The design choices we make when trying to predict and guide the flow of people in exhibits and other museum spaces are also a form of design to influence behavior, although we may not think of them that way. You don’t put seating in an area where you want people to move along quickly. You make the font bigger when you want to make sure the audience reads something. I think that museum students and professionals could learn a lot by studying how urban planners think about design, to get an better understanding of the choices we make and how to make them.



First, there are the most direct applications. I work in downtown Boston, an area which has a homelessness problem. Until the city addresses the problem or provides adequate shelter, it’s pretty much a given that people will sleep in the covered stairwells leading into our building and many others in the neighborhood. If I had the luxury of designing a museum building, I would add an overhang with seating and a water fountain on one side, so that people who need protection from the elements overnight don’t sleep in front of doorways. It could even be heated in winter; solar-powered heated bus shelters have been around for years now. It would be a win-win, since we wouldn’t have to clear out the doorways each morning and people in need would be just a little safer and more comfortable. I don’t know if there is a solution that can be appropriately retrofit to our eighteenth-century building, but I’m going to keep thinking.



Learning from urban planning’s design for behavior can also be done in more creative ways. Museum researchers who do visitor studies look at which visitor spend time where, and with what features. Shouldn’t we all be doing that? This would incorporate a lot of existing knowledge, for example, if you want people to stay, make them comfortable, give them restrooms and seats. It would simply be a new way of looking at what we know and what we want to learn. It’s often valuable to start an exhibit planning process by asking ourselves “What do we want visitors to get out of this?” but shouldn’t we also ask, “How do we want them to behave?” As long as the outcome of this discussion is about supporting and encouraging visitors in good behavior, rather than rearranging the galleries into a panopticon with the guards at the center, I think it’s worth trying.


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