Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

Exciting Upcoming Events!

Looking for something fun and engaging to do now that summer is in full swing? Here’s a list of upcoming museum-related events to check out for the month of September:

Thursday, September 1:

Friday, September 2:

Saturday, September 3:

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Thursday, September 29:

Friday, September 30:

Weekly Jobs Roundup

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. *This week we are trying out a new format for our jobs listings! Instead of the links below leading you to a posting on this blog, they link directly to the webpages where they were found. This way, you are able to find any additional information you may need more easily as well as apply for certain jobs directly on their website! However, any job listings that were sent directly to us via email or jobs that do not come directly from a webpage will still link to a post on this blog. Let us know which format you prefer in the comments!*

Happy hunting!

Staying Updated on Museum-Related Social Media

Today’s  post comes to you from Colleen Sutherland, recent Tufts Museum Studies graduate and previous co-editor of the Tufts Museum Studies Blog. To read some of her previous work, click here.

Hi there!

I’ve recently been doing some social media culling, trying to stay relevant and on top of interesting things in the museum field. I may have only graduated in May, but it’s remarkable how fast you start to panic that you’re not as on top of it as you were when you had professors and other students to guide you. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, you may feel that way at some point in your career, which is why I’ve compiled this list of other pages and blogs I’ve started following in the past few months. (Obviously this blog is fantastic, but as any museum professional knows, multiple perspectives are important!)

Some, like EMP (Emerging Museum Professionals), are pretty big and you may already know about them. Hopefully there are some new ones on here for you. It bears repeating that my interest lies in education, so some of these are more education-focused. However, I think that all of them can be relevant in different ways, whether it concerns interpretation, creating inclusive spaces, or museum trends in general. I’d encourage you to at least check them out and decide for yourself.

What else is on your list? I’d love to broaden my reading, especially with non-education-specific sites, so let us know in the comments!

Pages

  • AASLH – Interesting perspectives from history organizations of all sizes, but most topics are relevant to museums that focus on other disciplines. I especially love their post about the presentation of the role of women in museums
  • Bank Street Leadership in Museum Education – Again, not all about education. A lot about creating safe spaces, introducing inclusive practices, and helping visitors feel welcome while still staying innovative.
  • Emerging Museum Professionals – I find it helpful to follow the different regional EMP groups. Part of that is to see how museums in different regions are responding to their communities, and part of it is because I know I’ll want to move in the next few years, and it’s helpful to know what museums in different regions are focusing on (plus they post local job postings!)
  • NEMA YEPs (Young & Emerging Museum Professionals)
  • Museum Hack
  • Teaching Tolerance – While it may seem on the surface like this site is only about classroom teaching, it actually does a great job keeping plugged in on national events. It has great resources for creating inclusive, welcoming, safe spaces, as well as great ideas for activities and books.

Blogs

I’m also enjoying the Museum People podcast – check it out if you haven’t already!

And if these aren’t enough, here’s a whole list of 100 best blogs: http://museummedia.nl/links/100-best-curator-and-museum-blogs/

P.S. Looking for more ways to stay on top of the field? Check out the What We’re Reading section!

Weekly Jobs Roundup

Here’s our weekly roundup of new jobs. *This week we are trying out a new format for our jobs listings! Instead of the links below leading you to a posting on this blog, they link directly to the webpages where they were found. This way, you are able to find any additional information you may need more easily as well as apply for certain jobs directly on their website! However, any job listings that were sent directly to us via email or jobs that do not come directly from a webpage will still link to a post on this blog. Let us know which format you prefer in the comments!*

Happy hunting!

What We’re Reading: Trust Me, I’m a Museum

I recently went to a family reunion last week and, as these things go, I repeatedly got asked by distant relatives what I was doing with my life. As I explained to them that I was in the midst of completing a graduate program in museum education here at Tufts, I seemed to get the same general responses: “Huh, I didn’t know museums did that,” or, “Usually museums are places where you can’t touch anything,” or, “What does that mean?” or…*sigh.* You get the point. Sadly, this is not the first time I’ve had to defend and/or explain my field, as I’m sure many of you have as well. Indeed, almost no one I have talked to about museums over the past year seem to know what the phrase ‘museum education’ means and they either continued to hold the antiquated view that museums are stodgy old curiosity cabinets or that museums were simply places of entertainment for a rainy Saturday. We as museum folk know this to be (mostly) untrue today as museums are trying harder and harder to break that mold and become known as places where education, entertainment, discussion, and innovation all converge. And while these ideas are coming directly from my own interactions with others, I recently read an article about public opinions of museums that suggests my 3rd cousins twice removed are not alone in their mistaken, albeit understandable views on museums.

The article, titled “Trust Me, I’m a Museum” from the Center for the Future of Museums discusses how the public views museums and what they consider to be the essential purposes of museums. It frequently cites a UK study done in 2013 which reported that, “when invited to weigh in on what does not fit in the essential purposes of museums, the UK participants listed promoting justice and human rights, and providing a forum for debate. These activities were cited as ‘undermin[ing] the essential values of trust and integrity that people cherish with regards to museums.'” (Side note: this topic is especially interesting to consider when thinking about one of our previous posts by Colleen Sutherland, in which she discusses the importance of museums joining the national conversation on social justice.) Further, the article argues that if museums choose to discuss issues of contention such as climate change or human rights, we may run the risk of shutting out the many people who feel that one of the core museum purposes is “to provide a family-friendly, enjoyable and entertaining day out.” As Nina Simon writes in the comments, this “reinforces the idea that people may have antiquated ideas about what museums are for or ought to be for.”

So, where do we go from here? How do we assert ourselves as places that can effectively facilitate discussions on important issues on while dispelling commonly-held antiquated views of what museums are really all about? Do you have any thoughts or experience with these issues in your museum? I’d love to see them in the comments below!

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