Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

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Upcoming Panel Discussion at TUAG on 11/8

Next week, the Tisch Family Gallery will host a panel discussion among curators and art historians about the role of art education.

Panel Discussion: Does Education Define an Artist?

The predominantly self-taught artists in the current Tufts’ exhibition Expressions Unbound prompt us to consider how artists have been trained and identified throughout history. Join Tufts University Art Galleries for a discussion on the role of art pedagogy.

Panelists include, Jamie Franklin, Curator, Bennington Museum, Susan Jahoda, Core member BFAMFAPHD, Chiara Pidatella, Research Curator, Tufts University Art Galleries, and Jacob Stewart-Halevy, Assistant Professor of Art History, Tufts University.

See you there!

When: Thursday, November 8th, 2018

Where: Tisch Family Gallery, Tufts University Art Galleries, 40 Talbot Ave.

On Education and the Vote

Museums have, for many decades now, been sites of learning and exploration for people of all ages, economic classes, and educational levels. The idea of informal learning spaces assisting with civic education of newly arrived Americans has its roots in a Progressive Era ethos of immigrant assimilation, with the accompanying racist and xenophobic undertones one might expect. However, some of the programs provided by settlement houses and other progressive aid organizations had a significant impact on the lives of immigrants eager to learn about their new country and to advance within it.

Regardless of the flawed origins of these programs, the value of civic education that unites all Americans and enables advocacy and enfranchisement is not to be denied. This understanding of the role museums can play in the pursuit of civic engagement is fully realized in programs like New-York Historical Society’s Citizenship Project. This class uses art from New-York Historical’s collection to teach prospective citizens about American History and Civics through art in the collection. The course does not shy away from informing the students about the darker aspects of American History, including Native American removal, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and the Civil War. The Society also hosts naturalization ceremonies for students after they complete the program and pass their citizenship exam.

Of course, for those of us already enfranchised, we don’t have to wait long to exercise our right to vote. There is a midterm election fast approaching on November 6. Aside from the noble causes museums can assist with, like citizenship courses or enhancing student learning by providing material culture to augment in class learning, we know that museums are affected by political decisions every day. From federal funding of the arts and history projects to local budgets supporting field trips, elections matter when it comes to keeping museums open, encouraging new work to be done, and extending access to museums for students and other prospective learners.

This blog encourages you, museum professionals and students alike, to make sure that you make a plan to vote on November 6. The state of Massachusetts, where Tufts is located, has a sample ballot available here to help you prepare for voting and a way to find your polling location here. Other states have also posted their ballots and polling place locators online. Making decisions about who and what will best represent your life and your institutions is an important responsibility that comes with civic education. As John Dewey once noted, “Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.”

 

Weekly Jobs Roundup!

Hope these jobs are a treat! Here’s the roundup for the week of October 28th.

Northeast

Director of Interpretation [Historic Deerfield / Deerfield, MA]

Constituent Information Manager [Historic New England / Haverhill, MA]

Member & Visitor Services Representative [Museum of Fine Arts / Boston, MA]

Data Integration Specialist [Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum / Boston, MA]

Executive Director [Cape Cod Museum of Art / Denis, MA]

Mid-Atlantic

Manager of Learning and Engagement [National Children’s Museum / Washington DC]

Assistant Manager of School Programs [New-York Historical Society / New York City]

Assistant Director of Education [National Museum of the American Indian / Washington DC]

Southeast

Research Historian [History Associates Incorporated / Rockville, MD]

Museum Education & Training Specialist [Ringling Museum of Art / Sarasota, FL]

Executive Director [Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum / Wytheville, VA]

Conservator of Sculpture & Decorative Art [Ringling Museum of Art / Sarasota, FL]

Midwest

Associate Curator of Exhibitions [Sheldon Museum of Art / Lincoln, NE]

Executive Director [Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum / Detroit, MI]

Associate Director of Learning [Museum of Contemporary Art / Chicago, IL]

Collections Associate [Obama Foundation / Chicago, IL]

Project Curator [The Henry Ford / Dearborn, MI]

West

Assistant Curator [El Paso Museum of Art / El Paso Texas]

Interpretation and Accessibility Manager [Phoenix Museum of Art / Phoenix, AZ]

Education & Public Engagement Manager [Agua Caliente Cultural Museum / Palm Springs, CA]

Director of Visitor Engagement [SFMOMA / San Francisco, CA]

Associate Curator, South Asian & Islamic Art [San Diego Museum of Art / San Diego, CA]

Assessing Allyship with the AAM

October is a great time to talk about LGBTQ+ identity in museums! You may be thinking, “Isn’t Gay Pride in June?” and you’d be right, but October is also a key month for discussing more than just pride. Not only was National Coming Out Day held on October 11th, but it also happens to be LGBT History Month in the US and UK. Additionally, the first annual International Pronouns Day was observed this year. This event seeks to normalize the practice of recognizing preferred pronouns and asking for them in public spaces. Considering as well the recent rumors that the Department of Health and Human Services is about to propose changes to the federal definition of of gender to exclude trans and genderqueer people from federal civil rights protections, the time is right to evaluate how museums are treating their LGBTQ+ audiences, staff, and subjects.

The American Alliance of Museums has made a guide for welcoming LGBTQ+ people available for several years now and it is an excellent place to start when evaluating if your museum is doing all it can do to support the LGBTQ+ members of its community. The guide is multi-faceted, applying LGBTQ+ concepts to AAM’s seven Standards of Excellence, ranging from Facilities Management to Public Trust and Accountability and everything in between. Like their Standards of Excellence, the LGBTQ+ Guidelines provide a handy self-assessment checklist to aid museum staff in evaluating their own institutions. So what do these standards look like?

 

 

 

 

In this example from the Public Trust and Accountability section, you can clearly see how a Standard of Excellence, in this case adherence to all federal, state, and local laws, can be put through an LGBTQ+ critique that results in guidelines that surpass the requirement to comply with laws. While your institution will of course continue to follow any governing statutes, regulations do not always protect people from harassment on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, for example. In a case like this, creating an internal policy that assures your LGBTQ+ staff and visitors that harassment or bias is not permitted on site helps your organization move from indifference to welcome.

 

 

 

Here, within the Mission and Planning standard, the recommendation to be inclusive of local communities when making decisions regarding collections, exhibits, or programming is applied specifically to the LGBTQ+ community. Moving beyond “token” attempts at diversity to build relationships with your local LGBTQ+ community groups shows an investment in the people that make up your audience. Consulting with LGBTQ+ experts and groups when putting together exhibits demonstrates an interest in accurately representing a marginalized community.

The intention of these guidelines is to provide measurable benchmarks that indicate that an institution has moved past “tolerance” of LGBTQ+ people into “inclusion” or better yet, ownership and community collaboration. In a time where rights that have been secured are at risk of being rolled back, it is worth taking a fresh look at these guidelines to consider if your institution is doing all it can to be an ally of the LGBTQ+ community.

Weekly Job Roundup!

Good luck finding your dream job! Here’s the roundup for the week of October 21.

Northeast

Genealogist [New England Historic Genealogical Society / Boston, MA]

Community Engagement Program Liaison [Boston Children’s Museum / Boston, MA]

Curatorial Administrator & Assistant [Wadsworth Atheneum / Hartford, CT]

Manager of Special Collections [Mary Baker Eddy Library / Boston, MA]

Museum Educator, Exhibit, & Interpretive Planner [CT Landmarks / Hartford, CT]

Mid-Atlantic

Assistant Director of Visitor & Guest Services [National Museum of African American History & Culture / Washington, DC]

Project Curatorial Assistant [Carnegie Museum of Art / Pittsburgh, PA]

Research & Production Assistant [Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY]

Curator of Judaica [The Jewish Museum / New York, NY]

Executive Director [Monmouth County Historical Society / Freehold, NJ]

Southeast

Curator of Public Programs [Alabama Department of Archives & History / Montgomery, AL]

History Research Fellow [NC African American Heritage Commission / Greenville, NC]

Director of Education & Public Programs [National Museum of African American Music / Nashville, TN]

Curator of Exhibitions [International Museum of the Horse / Lexington, KY]

Exhibitions & Collections Assistant [The Society of the Four Arts / Palm Beach, FL]

Midwest

Executive Director [Clinton County Historical Society / Wilmington, OH]

Education Manager [Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, Indianapolis, IN]

Manager of Community Engagement [Haggerty Museum of Art / Milwaukee, WI]

Executive Director [Armstrong Air & Space Museum / Wapakoneta, OH]

Curator & Exhibits Manager [Door County Maritime Museum / Sturgeon Bay, WI]

West

Chief Curator [African American Museum & Library / Oakland, CA]

Contemporary Art Department Head [Asian Art Museum / San Francisco, CA]

Director of Curatorial Affairs [Museum of Pop Culture / Seattle, WA]

Senior Curator [Museum of Flight / Seattle, WA]

Site Manager [Texas Historical Commission / Rockport, TX]

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