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Science in Museums: The Circle of Life

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on February 19, 2014 in Science in Museums |

by columnist Jenna Conversano

Hi all – I’m Jenna, a new Science in Museums columnist, with a particular interest in biology, zoos, and aquariums.

The “hot item” in the news last week was the euthanasia of Marius, a two year-old giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo, followed by a massive uproar across the web. If you somehow missed this news story, here is a short recap: the Copenhagen Zoo euthanized their two year-old male giraffe with a shotgun on February 7th. The giraffe’s genes were overrepresented in the EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquariums) population and would present an inbreeding risk. Other options—such as sending to a non-EAZA zoo or private individual—were not considered viable. After Marius’s death, zoo staff led a public dissection of the giraffe, followed by visible feeding of the giraffe to its lions. The EAZA executive director, Leslie Dickie, published a statement via CNN fully supporting the Copenhagen Zoo’s actions. The AZA, while itself operating under a firm contraceptive policy, has also been supportive.

One point to consider here, in terms of this column, is whether the Copenhagen Zoo’s culminating actions—the dissection and feeding—was a step towards transparency and the furthering of public science or a misstep in the public perception of zoos.

Read more…

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MIT’s List Art Center needs your help this Vacation Week!

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on February 18, 2014 in Uncategorized |

Here’s the call from Campus & Community Outreach Coordinator Courtney Klemens for volunteers to help with the List Art Center’s School Vacation Week programs. Their biggest need is Wednesday morning, but the full schedule of activities is below. If you’d like to volunteer, contact Courtney at cklemens@mit.edu.

 Family Week at the List

Tuesday, February 18 through Friday, February 21

Full shifts: 11 to 4 pm, or, Half-shifts: 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and 1:30 to 4:30 pm)

  • Facilitate hands-on artmaking projects with children
  • Create example artworks
  • Help with clean up and set up
  • Looking for an engaging storyteller for Wednesday Feb 19
  • Free lunch!

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Weekly Jobs Round-up!

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on February 14, 2014 in jobs listings |

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

 

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Announcing a new museum studies website!

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on February 13, 2014 in tufts program news |

Congratulations to the department and staff for all their hard work on the new Museum Studies department website!

Check it out at museumstudies.tufts.edu

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Science in Museums: Planning and Development of a Digital Gallery Guide

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on February 8, 2014 in Science in Museums |

by columnist Cira Brown

I am in currently in the midst of a project at the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments at Harvard University as part of my fellowship, but I thought it would be useful to write about some of my experiences. My primary responsibility has been the planning and development of digital gallery guide for our upcoming exhibition on the cultural history of anatomy. The curatorial team has defined 3 major thematic narratives (Preparation, Practice and Afterlife) as well as 3 key time periods (roughly, the 16th, 19th and 20th Centuries). Read more…

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Weekly Jobs Round-up!

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on February 7, 2014 in jobs listings |

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

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Why blogging matters…

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on February 3, 2014 in Uncategorized |

by editor Phillippa Pitts

This year I kicked off a new project instead of pretending to have a New Year’s Resolution. Starting 2014 was like stepping onto a roller coaster anyway: finishing up at Tufts this spring and off to who knows where in a few short months! So, like so many of us, I started a blog.

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The blog is called The Tertiary Source Project. It’s an idea that sprung out of a semester-long Proseminar project. I was working on late 19th century and early 20th century postcards and their depictions of my favorite subject — war. (Not joking, I really do specialize in the intersection of art history and war.) I expected to find myself immersed in the visual language of the time. However what emerged as the really interesting theme were the thousands of miniature histories that these cards told.

Read more…

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Travel Grants!

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on February 3, 2014 in professional development |

An incredibly generous travel grant to visit and work in London, England is now available through the Sir John Soan Museum Foundation. The deadline to apply is March 1, so you have plenty of time to apply!

Purpose

The purpose of the Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation Traveling Fellowship is to enable students in graduate degree programs in the history of art, architecture, interior design, and the decorative arts to travel to London to pursue research projects related to any aspect of the work of Sir John Soane or Sir John Soane’s Museum and its collections. Annually, the Foundation entertains and reviews proposals from qualified candidates from universities and institutions around the world. Two awards are presented – one to a student of architecture and the second open to all candidates. Recipients are selected by Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation Fellowship Advisory Committee.

Background
The Traveling Fellowship was established to support research in art, architecture and the decorative arts, in the Soanean tradition, in accordance with Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation’s mission to foster the knowledge and appreciation of art and architecture in the United States and abroad.

For more information, visit their website.

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The Wider World: Shh! It’s Tuesday

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on February 1, 2014 in The Wider World |

by columnist Tegan Kehoe

Sometimes, you just need to get up on a soapbox for a moment to get something out of your system. I have some thoughts rolling around in my head that have been bothering me for … I don’t know how long now… and maybe if I blog about them, it will be a step towards being less antsy and more pragmatic about the issue. Maybe readers will be able to help me figure out where to go from here.

Why don’t more loud museums have quiet days? We’re all familiar with the growing trend that museums are becoming more active, interactive, and generally loud. There’s also a fair amount of buzz about the backlash, from people who go to museums for retreat and respite, or who like to observe museum objects in silent reverence. (Recently, this controversial article and the many responses, including this one.) On the whole, I agree with those who say that noisier museums are a good thing, and I’m frustrated by the overtones of elitism that sometimes creep into the arguments for more quiet. Still, we know that many people do like museums for their ability to provide retreat (think of John Falk’s category of “Refreshers”) and I wonder if there isn’t some way we can compromise. Read more…

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Weekly Jobs Round-up!

Posted by Phillippa Pitts on January 31, 2014 in jobs listings |

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

 

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