Weekly Jobs Roundup!

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

 

#MuseumWorkersSpeak: Boston Edition

#MuseumWorkersSpeak, one of the results of the rouge session on museum activism at AAM’s Atlanta conference this year, is meeting up in metro-Boston for the first time on Wednesday, June 24th, from 6:30 to 8:30. The group conversation and potluck is at 17 Tudor St, Cambridge, MA 02139

From the facebook event page:

Join fellow museum professionals and non-profit workers for an action-oriented discussion about applying a social justice lens to labor practices at mission-driven institutions. We’ll be discussing privilege, power, racism, sexism, classism, fair wages, leadership, graduate programs, unpaid internships, and any issue that you raise at the meeting.

You may have heard of the Museum Workers Speak rogue session at the American Alliance of Museums conference in Atlanta or participated in the ongoing Twitter chats. So far there are has been a subsequent conversation in D.C. and another scheduled for the end of this month in Chicago to continue the conversation regionally. This will be the first MWS discussion held here in Boston.

We’ll be meeting at Wistia near Central Square. Street parking is free after 6pm. Feel free to bring snacks to share, potluck style.

See you there! Please direct questions to Margaret Middleton: margaret.k.middleton@gmail.com

Museum Workers Speak Facebook community: https://www.facebook.com/MuseumWorkersSpeak

Article from the Center for the Future of Museums: http://futureofmuseums.blogspot.com/2015/06/unsafe-ideas-building-museum-worker.html

Hope to see you there!

Weekly Jobs Roundup!

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

Eating in museums

We normally think of eating/drinking and museums as mutually exclusive, but here’s a couple of fun, local events this week that put that idea to rest:

  • For “Historic Beer in a Historic Place,” the Old State House is hosting Blue Hills Brewery for a chance to “taste beer, learn about pubs and drinking in the 18th century, and listen to a Blue Hills Brewery Representative speak about their delicious beer.”
  • The ICA’s “Talking Taste” program is billed as a time to “join Boston’s best chefs for Friday-night al fresco cooking demonstrations–and tastings! Learn trade secrets and sample delectable bites, all while enjoying breathtaking waterfront views of Boston Harbor from the ICA Grandstand.” This Friday’s chef is Alexander Crabb, Chef/Co-Owner of Asta.

“Modern Art, Ancient Wages”: MoMA Staff Protests and Museums as Employers

MoMa workers protest outside Party in the Garden benefit. Photograph: Stacey Anderson, from The Guardian

MoMa workers protest outside Party in the Garden benefit. Photograph: Stacey Anderson, from The Guardian

Last Tuesday was MoMA’s annual Party in the Garden, a benefit that honors artists and boasts an impressive VIP guest list. This year, the guests, who paid $25,000 to $100,000 per table, were greeted by dozens of museum staff with signs that read “Modern Art, Ancient Wages” and “MoMA, Don’t Cut Our Healthcare.” The protest, organized by MoMA staff and their union, is in response to proposed cuts to their healthcare plan. While there is a long and rich history of protesting MoMA, these actions highlight the politics of museum employment that extend far beyond MoMA’s midtown territory.

Art history is a strange field. Our scholarship focuses on a world full of very expensive objects with actual monetary values and still manage to produce volumes of fundamentally Marxist-dominated discourse. Art museums are steeped in cultural capital and often have correspondingly high admission fees (obviously, MoMA is no exception to this). However, the salaries of museum employees, the people who are responsible for the museum’s daily function, rarely correlate to the public view of museums as places of wealth.

Victoria Wong, a library assistant at MoMA, truthfully told Hyperallergic that “nobody gets a job at a museum to become a millionaire.” Unless you’re working at the very top, the museum world is overly competitive and underpaid (not the mention the gendered and racialized politics of who becomes directors). American artist Fred Wilson perfectly proved the disjuncture between the visibility and respect of different positions in the museum when he dressed in a guard’s uniform and was subsequently ignored by the visitors as part of his 1991 installation, Guarded View.

Black headless mannequins dressed as museum guards, from Fred Wilson's Guarded View. Image from Arts Observer.

Black headless mannequins dressed as museum guards, from Fred Wilson’s Guarded View. Image from Arts Observer.

So why do we choose to enter this field? Personally, I’m doing it because I genuinely care about preserving all material forms of history and displaying them for public access. And although the answer will undoubtedly vary between individuals, I’d bet we all have a honest connection and dedication to the true mission of museums. And if you follow the MoMA Local 2110’s instagram, you’ll get a taste of their undying love for MoMA’s collection, even while protesting. However, no institution should take advantage of its employees’ honest commitment without proper compensation. We talk a lot about making museums inviting and attractive to the public, but we also should hold them to the same standards as workplaces for employees.