Weekly Jobs Roundup

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

 

Museums Gone Viral: PEM Turner Apothecary Mood-O-Meter

Many museums struggle with maintaining a good balance of technology – enough to attract (and keep the attention of) younger crowds, but not so much that visitors who go to museums to “unplug” are unable to do so. The best solution is to give visitors options. They can sign up for the facebook and the instagram feeds; they can walk past the video touch screens. Museums Gone Viral brings you real ways that museums have used technology and the internet to reach a variety of visitor groups.

I know I’m a little late to the party, but I just recently discovered the Peabody Essex Museum’s “Mood-O-Meter.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 5.58.46 PM

A few weeks ago in the Tufts course Museums and Digital Media, we were treated to a fascinating discussion with Jim Olson, Director of Integrated Media at PEM. Among the many examples of digital media at the museum was an interactive piece created for the “Turner and the Sea” exhibition in the summer of 2014. The exhibition focused on Joseph Mallord William Turner’s work and his multitude of work focused on different depictions of the sea. Turner has such a wide variety of emotions poured into his work, some more abstract than others, that the PEM team decided to create a “period-appropriate” apothecary website. The site takes you through a series of questions and choices based on your mood, and then spits out a Turner painting that might match your current feelings.

Turner and I agree on my choice of a bright pink "Rose Madder" as my color of choice

Turner and I agree on my choice of a bright pink “Rose Madder” as my color of choice

I think this is a great way to get people more involved in the exhibition, and I love that you can access it at home as well as in the exhibition (when it was up, the space included ipads that hosted the site). The Mood-O-Meter is fun and slightly cheeky, which makes you want to use it again and again, finding a Turner piece for every mood you might have. Beyond the amusement, it dives deeper into Turner’s painting methods, asking users to pick a color of paint that they feel drawn to and explaining how it was created or used.

The website fosters a feeling of personal investment in the painting – after all, your mood might be close to Turner’s when he painted it, or perhaps to the mood of the sea on that day, and it creates a desire for visitors to take a closer look at the painting and spend more time with it. You can even access the Mood-O-Meter at any time, even though the exhibition closed over a year ago. If you know that the website is there, you can continue exploring Turner and his artwork for as long as you please. Check it out here.

Playful and funny, the Mood-O-Meter even has you choose your cheese preference before telling you about Turner's own love of cheese.

Playful and funny, the Mood-O-Meter even has you choose your cheese preference before telling you about Turner’s own love of cheese.

Here is what the Mood-O-Meter decided I would enjoy looking at based on my mood (click on the image to zoom in):

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 6.03.21 PMI have to say that I did enjoy it, probably more than I would have if I was just encountering the painting on my own. I don’t generally like or truly appreciate works of art that are more abstract, but I found myself looking more closely at the chosen painting for ways to connect my mood with the piece.

If you want to know more about how the Mood-O-Meter came about, check out this discussion with creators Jim Olson and Caroline Herr.

Constructed Landscapes: Photographing America in the Twentieth Century

Seven months after Tufts’ Exhibition Design class made me realize that a 7-foot panel was not enough space in the gallery for me, I’m very happy to announce the opening of my exhibition: Constructed Landscapes: Photographing America in the Twentieth Century!

Constructed Landscapes is in the Slater Concourse Gallery (composed of two 40-foot facing walls in Tufts’ Aidekman Arts Center on Talbot Ave in Medford). This gallery is open to temporary exhibitions curated by campus groups, faculty, staff, and students through an application process. As such, there have been some incredibly diverse materials exhibited throughout this semester! My show displays American photography, with a focus on the urban or semi-urban landscape. All of the photographs are from the Tufts University Permanent Collection.

I will be writing a series of posts to describe the general process of applying for a Slater exhibition, how my particular show worked out, and what I learned from the process. I look forward to your feedback on the exhibition and the blog posts!

What Good Is A Museum? Secret Shelters at the Heritage Museums and Gardens

Today we bring you an article by Kathryn Sodaitis, currently a Tufts student in the Museum Studies certificate program. For Museums Today: Mission and Function, the foundation course required for all Museum Studies students, students read Adam Gopnik’s “The Mindful Museum” and use it to create a discussion around the question, “What Good Is A Museum?”.

What makes some exhibitions more memorable than others?  A meaningful experience can delight and surprise us, and motivates us to return.  This summer, I visited Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, MA where I had such an experience.  Heritage has a small permanent collection of Americana–antique cars, scrimshaw, folk art, and an antique carousel–all located in several buildings scattered throughout the grounds, and a special exhibition gallery, which houses new exhibits each summer.  But it is the gardens that make Heritage Museums unique. They span 100 acres and include paved walking paths as well as unusual features such as a flume waterfall installation, a maze, and a labyrinth.  Each season, different artists are invited to build temporary installations.  

Heritage offers its visitors a specific type of outdoor experience, merging the natural world with creative works.  It is these outdoor installations that offer a different experience of time and place.  This type of work requires full presence in order to engage with the art.   

The pieces I encountered on this trip were part of a temporary exhibition entitled Secret Shelters.  Each piece is placed into the land, bringing your attention to a specific location:  surrounding a tree, set inside a grassy valley, up on a hill.  Not only do you engage with the artwork, but you engage with the physical landscape.  The installations set into the scale of the land allow you to fully experience the art with your whole body; art is experienced on the human scale and in relation to the vast landscape.       

Yugon Kim's "Outside-In." Photo from the Heritage Museum and Gardens.

Yugon Kim’s “Outside-In.” Photo from the Heritage Museums and Gardens.

One of these exhibits, titled “Outside-In,” by artist Yugon Kim is a circular bench made of recycled waste wood surrounding a tree.  From afar, the bench itself is enticing to the weary visitor, but as you approach, you notice how it is put together.  Many hollow cubes of wood, stacked and fastened together make up the structure of the bench which encircles the tree.  An opening on the far side requires the viewer to walk around the tree before entering and sitting.  This tree, unnoticed and unseen before the construction of the bench, now becomes an object of significance.  The texture of the bark, the shade of its canopy, the diameter of its trunk are now acknowledged and appreciated.  In the shadow of this looming tree, standing in this place only because of the artistic intention, I realize I am just a part of the larger artistic experience.  The artist’s contribution to this moment is felt.    

The next piece I enountered took a bit of work.  I wandered off the paved pathway, through the vast Hydrangea Garden into a grassy meadow down into a valley.  I might not have seen the piece titled “Eaves/Grass” by Joel Reider made out of living grass had the structure not jutted out in its rectangular and pointed house-like shape, complete with a front door and side window.  Constructed out of wood supports and covered with sod, the grass house sat comfortably into its landscape.  Its attempt at

Joel Reider's "Eaves/Grass."  Photo by Jan Crocker from the Heritage Museums and Gardens

Joel Reider’s “Eaves/Grass.” Photo by Jan Crocker from the Heritage Museums and Gardens.           

camouflage unsuccessful (this is an art piece after all), it struck me as something that shouldn’t exist (but it did).  Once inside, I saw the square mirror, the same size and shape of the window on the opposing wall.  Looking out the window, I saw the landscape. Looking into the mirror, I saw myself in the very same landscape.  This hidden gem, both seen and unseen, tucked into a secluded space, yet deliberately sought after, reminded me of what I most appreciate in a museum experience: the joy of surprise.  Where else can we go expecting and yet still experiencing surprise?   The artists bring the experience of the (sometimes) absurd into existence, but the viewers may not know to look for them without the presence of the museum.           

These landscape pieces, especially the temporary ones, would not exist without the ability of the museum to create a space that brings artwork and viewers together.  Museums create a space for artistic encounters between artists, objects, and viewers. These encounters can be emotional-visceral experiences, bringing the viewer to full attention, awakening feelings of surprise and delight.  This might be described as the “mindful museum” experience, one that is personal, place-centered, and belonging to the “here and now”.  

 

Here is a link to the museum’s website, which details the exhibition, Secret Shelters.

 

Weekly Jobs Roundup

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