Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

Author: aking14 (page 2 of 2)

Weekly Jobs Round-Up

Here are a few of the latest postings for museum job positions. Happy hunting!

Northeast:

Exhibits Designer and Production Manager (Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, PA)

Oral Historian (Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art, New York, NY)

Museum Instructor/Curatorial Assistant (Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY)

Mid-Atlantic:

Supervisory Visitor Services Manager (National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.)

Advancement Specialist (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services, Washington, D.C.)

Corporate and Foundation Relations Associate (Obama Foundation, Washington, D.C.)

Midwest:

Database and Portfolio Manager (John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI)

South:

WEB Community Outreach Coordinator (The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL)

Art Handler (21c Museum Hotels, Louisville, KY)

West:

Associate Registrar (Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA)

Associate/Assistant Curator of European Painting and Sculpture (LA County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA)

Registrar (Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA)

Field Trip Through Time

The opportunity to travel into the past has arisen at the National Museum of Natural History in D.C. The famous Fossil Hall has been closed for renovations the past five years, and I am in the lucky position of being around when it reopened with its new exhibit: Deep Time, funded by a whopping $35 million from David Koch. Despite Koch’s controversial ties to this exhibit, I’m hoping this little peek will inspire you to travel back in time with the Smithsonian.

First, let me briefly describe the old gallery. It was basically two paths one could take between static displays of bones and replicas of said bones. There were wooden barriers keeping the visitor at bay. There was frankly little color besides white and brown—some pops of green to give the impression that we are amongst some Jurassic Park ferns. Walking through this ancient exhibit, you couldn’t feel the danger that these giant beasts once held. Those real-life monsters were once the rulers of the land, and the old Fossil Hall had its shining moment a few decades ago, but it was due for a reboot.

The new director explained how the original Fossil Hall opened in 1911 and was partially renovated a few times over the next century but had never undergone a remastering that integrated the science and technology from all that time. So, the exhibit closed in 2014 and now here we are in 2019 with an unforgettable summer for dinosaur and museum lovers. As one team member put it, this new exhibit shows how all life is connected. 

The old exhibit had the dinos mainly standing alone, but in this exhibit, they were interacting with us and each other. They are fighting to the death and hanging over to look at us as we look at them. There are versatile interactives from high-tech computer games to closer looks at 3-D scans of skeleton heads, to automatons, to bronze statues you can get up close and personal with. Though really, everything can be considered personal in this exhibit, because the message is clear as one travels from deep in time to our future that though humans weren’t there to save the dinosaurs, we are here now to save the Earth from ourselves. 

Recently, I got to sit in on an early stage exhibit planning meeting. There were basic concept designs on the screen to show where the large artifacts would go. The team consisted of curators, an educator, an editor/writer, a project manager, a designer, and a consultant for discussing the experiential side of the narrative at hand. They spent an hour trying to nail down the Big Idea and major outcomes as personalities clashed. I was reminded how much goes into making an exhibit. Also, getting to listen to a museum “outsider” in the consultant was interesting because I finally understood that I am now an insider—I’m understanding more everyday what goes into running a museum, and that is great, but it does take away the option of a simple jaunt through an exhibit when I am focused on the application of museum studies.

I will have to walk back through Deep Time with an outsider, so to speak, because their mindset is “inside” all the fun. I want to give huge congratulations to the Deep Time exhibit planning team for bringing some magic back to the museum, the National Mall, and millions of kids of all ages.

Weekly Jobs Round-Up

Northeast:

Manager of Adult Education (Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA)

Planning and Logistics Coordinator (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA)

Interactive Producer (Trivium Interactive, Boston, MA)

Mid-West:

Head of Museum Education (Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Saint Louis, Missouri)

Marketing and Communications Manager (Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, Auburn, IN)

Chief Preparator (Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, OH)

West:

Associate Curator of Latin American Art (Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO)

Curator (Draper Natural History Museum, Cody, WY)

Operations Assistant (Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, San Diego, CA)

South:

Registrar (Asia Society Texas Center, Houston, TX)

Chief Philanthropy Officer (The Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas, TX)

Traveling Exhibits Manager (National WWII Museum, New Orleans, LA)

Mid-Atlantic:

Director of Inclusion (American Alliance of Museums, Arlington, VA)

Astor Curator and Department Head, Printed Books and Bindings (The Morgan Library and Museum, New York, NY)

Research Associate (RK&A Inc., Alexandria, VA)

Weekly Jobs Round-up

Happy hunting! Here are some new job postings for the week of June 2.

Northeast

Southeast

Mid-Atlantic

Midwest

West

The Politics of Seeing

A Sign of the Times by Dorothea Lange, 1934

Hopefully summer time is going swimmingly for everyone, whether you’re in internships, jobs, or are relaxing. For museum-goers, popping into an exhibit or two (or thirty) during the dog days is a favorite past-time. And that’s exactly how I kicked off my summer, by visiting the Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeingexhibition in Nashville at the Frist Art Museum.

The difference from last summer to this one is that I have a year of museum studies under my belt, and now I am looking at exhibits with a critical (albeit, novice) eye. Here is my shameless plug and a challengeto anyone reading: send in an exhibit critique this summer for a guest spot on the blog. We would love to hear from places around Boston and beyond—for the nomads. I personally would love to read more about and experience more exhibits that show museums care about engaging all walks of life.

So, rewinding, Dorothea Lange… who is she? She’s a popular photographer from the 20thcentury who used her camera as a tool for justice. She wanted to expose inequalities in regard to race and gender, to address issues around the Great Depression and migrant workers, and to demonstrate the decline of the rural communities and environments. These topics are not unfamiliar to us today, if you will excuse the double negative.

Dorothea Lange

I’ll be frank—I am not a photography fan. I can get down with a selfie or a scenic vista, but my world isn’t transformed by many pictures. I don’t know if it was my schooling coming in handy or maturation on my part, but I appreciated this exhibit for what it was trying to do, to give its audience a lesson on a compelling woman in history who visually captured the lives of those who would have been lost to time and to subtly make a point about how the world hasn’t changed in many ways.

Like many reinvented museum exhibitions today, this exhibit was clearly standing up for something. It wasn’t shying away from pointing out the injustices of this country. The major critique I would give is that it didn’t necessarily give an answer on how to change the oppression of minorities or the neglect of the poverty-stricken in this modern age. However, it does have a charming way of showing how photographs can be edited by the owner to represent the message the owner wants, rather than revealing the whole, complex truth. 

We should care about that visitor connection for so many reasons, but I will start with a basic one: many people for centuries haven’t seen “their story” in a museum and that’s fortunately changing. This exhibit was giving a low down on some of the rundown minorities of the past, but it wasn’t as accessible as it could’ve been due to entrance fees. Go away from this article today thinking about how museums can become more connected with the unconventional museum goer. (On a personal note, feel free to drop a line about how to spice up photography exhibits.)

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