Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

Author: aking14 (page 1 of 3)

Virtual Reality Experience

MASS MoCA has virtual reality (VR) experiences from Laurie Anderson, which you can view through 2020. She has developed projects there in the past and was an artist-in-residence. Anderson is a poet, filmmaker, vocalist, and multimedia artist, and the VR experiences of Chalkroom and Aloft showcased that. For both you would sit in a swiveling chair, place a VR headset with earphones over your head, and then were transported to another place and time that was like a curious dream of hers that you had entered. 

Chalkroom is a massive labyrinth of black walls marked with chalk and glowing portals that you can fly through with a push of your arms. Aloft begins with you sitting in an empty plane that gradually comes apart around you until you are floating in the air, using your virtual hands to grasp at objects swirling around you, to listen to Anderson’s hypnotic anecdotes. When I experienced the latter, I grasped onto the seat because my stomach dropped at the illusion of being up high. In the former, I was giddy flying through and exploring the chalkroom. It was a strange coincidence that I had been seriously considering the importance of VR technology in museums just a month prior, and then got to experience it firsthand. 

VR technology allows the audience to be emerged in the experience of a work of art, or it can act as a tour through a gallery. Curators, artists, and educators alike can utilize this technology for a new perspective on content. It connects to younger audiences that struggle to engage with static exhibits. VR can engage your hearing, movements, thinking, and visual perception. Though VR can draw people to museums, VR also means that people with impaired mobility or trouble accessing museums due to its location, cost, or social atmosphere can access great works of art and history from a remote location.

Money and timing are important factors. VR headsets can range from $20 to $1000 depending on whether you want headphones, hand controls, hand sensors, and a comfortable head clasp. By timing, I mean that if a museum could afford the technology, there would certainly be a limit on how much they could afford, so there may be two headsets that people must take turns to use, like at the Anderson installations that had six altogether and people had to schedule an appointment to have the experience. Despite this, VR technology can encourage new and returning visitors to offset the cost.

Hopefully, museums across the world will engage with this more immersive version of VR technology so that everyone can experience the richness of many cultures from close to home.  

Weekly Jobs Round-Up

Northeast:

Visitor Experience Supervisor (Connecticut Science Center, Hartford, CT)

South:

Educator for Gallery Teaching (Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN)

Curatorial Assistant (The Menil Collection, Houston, TX)

Special Events Manager (Army Historical Foundation, Fort Belvoir, VA)

West:

Manager of Youth Programs (Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Los Angeles, CA)

Manager of Exhibitions and Publications (Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA)

Mid-Atlantic:

Manager of Public Engagement (Jackie Robinson Museum, New York, NY)

Assistant Curator (Glenstone Museum, Potomac, MD)

Fellowships (Met, New York, NY)

Associate Administrator, Egyptian Art (Met, New York, NY)

Midwest:

Curator (Cleveland Clinic Art Program, Cleveland, OH)

Community Arts Program Assistant (John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI)

Weekly Job Roundup

Northeast:

Exhibition Assistant (for a Korean Art show) (Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA)

Exhibit Technician (Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, Cambridge, MA)

Collections Curator and Registrar (Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, Clinton, NY)

Midwest:

Curator of Education (Wyoming State Museum, Cheyenne, Wyoming)

West:

Community Outreach Archivist/Librarian (Anchorage Museum, Anchorage, AK)

Major Gifts & Planned Giving Officer (Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA)

Mid-Atlantic:

Cultural Resources Professionals (PB&A, Washington, D.C.)

Program Specialist (National Museum of African History and Culture, Washington, D.C.)

Advancement Assistant (Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C.)

South:

Volunteer Manager (Country Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville, TN)

Associate Registrar (The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL)

Assistant to the Director and Special Projects Manager (Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL)

Autumnal Museum Day Trip

As we say goodbye to the summer and step into fall, I want to plan a Spooky Season day trip for people. The month of Halloween, aka October, is an opportunity to enjoy local and tourist fun by heading to Salem, and more specifically, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM). The museum just opened their new wing that has three floors to explore, plus a garden to relax in. I happened to walk by with friends to see the huge throngs of people that were lucky to get free museum admission on this opening weekend.

New wing on right

So, from Tufts, you want to get to North Station. You could drive on to the Mystic Valley Parkway about a mile away from the university, and then head to Salem via I-93 N and I-95 N, or just I-95 N if you want the extra scenery, or you could even take the Lynn Fells Parkway. The parking at the Salem T station is M-F $5 and $2 on the weekends. The PEM/Mall garage is $1.25/hour, but the rates kick up in their primetime, so maybe public transit is the best option.

Or, if you are pressed for coin, you could take the train. Grab the 101 bus to Sullivan, take the Orange Line to North Station, and then the Newburyport/Rockport Line 1113 towards Rockport, and get off at the Salem station, which is a couple minute walk from PEM. So, now you arrive on a Tuesday through Sunday betwixt 10 and 5. Last time I visited, Tufts’ IDs got you in for free, otherwise the student ticket price is $18. 

PEM main entrance

Their Expansion page on their website wants to entice with their mission of “creating transformative experiences of art, culture and other forms of creative expression that encourage exploration, discovery and wonder.” Not just exhibit space, but a collection center will be completed—perhaps a future Tufts Museum Studies field trip could get us a BTS sneak peek.

The new installations are with the times, so to speak, and highlight key points from our courses. The Asian export art exhibit doesn’t shy from the fact that some of the pieces are originally purchased with illegal opium trade profit. It’s important for museums to maintain transparency and trust with their community, and there’s an added history lesson. Another installation is Figurehead 2.0 which integrates digital media into the exhibit and demonstrates new ways to connect with its audience.

Also, their PEM Connect Campaign aims to make differences in our children’s lives, and their children, and so on. They hope to achieve this through new programming but weren’t clear on what that includes. Take note, museum websites should be clear also because people want to be informed about what there is to do at a museum. We will cut them slack since they are still renovating through 2021.

Let us know your review of the new building and share exhibit critiques. And happy fall! 

Weekly Jobs Roundup

Northeast

Arts Center Educator (Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, New York)

Contract Registrar (Willem de Kooning Offices, New York, NY)

Mid-Atlantic

Education Programs Manager (The American Civil War Museum, Richmond, VA)

Major Gifts Officer (National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC)

South

Museum Assistant Registrar (Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU, Miami, FL)

Registrar (Lightner Museum, St. Augustine, FL)

Midwest

Associate Conservator/Conservator of Paintings (Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, MO)

Collections Database Administrator (Penn Museum: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, PA)

West

Museum without Walls Collection Strategist (Los Altos History Museum, Los Altos, CA)

Development Assistant (Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, NM)

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