Archive for March, 2011

Critical eyes (and ears)

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 by Wendy Pollock

If you’re thinking of visiting New York or Washington, D.C. any time soon, check out the exhibition reviews by all of the museum studies students from Bank Street College and George Washington University. They’ve been fanning out to museums throughout those cities over the last several weeks and together have posted nearly 50 reviews. Thanks to their observations and critiques, we have a record of some temporary exhibitions like the Whitney’s Glen Ligon: AMERICA and fresh takes on some exhibitions and experiences like the Tenement Museum. (At right is an image by Amanda Salles from MOMA’s Looking at Music 3.0.)

Thank you to all of the students for sharing your experiences and your thinking. With your newly honed critical skills, we hope you’ll continue to contribute even when your classes end. And thanks also to Paul Orselli, Kathy McLean, Dana Allen-Greil, and Carrie Kotcho, who encouraged their students to share their reviews with the ExhibitFiles community.

Museums, memorials, sites of conscience

Friday, March 25th, 2011 by Wendy Pollock

NAME (the National Association for Museum Exhibition) is seeking article proposals for the Fall 2011 issue of its journal, Exhibitionist, on the theme “museums, memorials, and sites of conscience.”NAME journal cover

Editor Gretchen Jennings writes that the journal is particularly interested in through case studies and analyses of

  • The emergence of museums and memorials in the United States and around the world that commemorate human suffering and injustice
  • Challenges faced by museum professionals, particularly those in the exhibition development field, in creating effective exhibitions, public spaces, and programs.

Challenges might involve:

  • History and geography: can this story be told at this time in this place? If not, why not; if so how?
  • Point of view: from whose perspective(s) will the story be told?
  • Audience: who is the intended/appropriate audience?
  • Mission: is the institution for reflection; for raising social consciousness; for inspiring action; all or some of these?
  • Design: Are there common design/programmatic features as well as new ideas for engaging visitors with these difficult topics?

Abstracts (maximum 250 words) are due by April 22. Briefly describe your article; how it relates to issue theme; your background/qualifications for writing the article. Abstracts are vetted by the NAME editorial advisory board and authors notified of acceptance or non/acceptance within several weeks. First drafts (maximum 2,400 words) are due June 24 and final drafts by July 31, 2011. Contact: Gretchen Jennings, Editor, NAME .

Practicing conviviality

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 by Wendy Pollock

The Convivial MuseumWith deep thanks to all of the museum planners, photographers, and authors who contributed to the making of this book, Kathy McLean and I would like to announce the publication of The Convivial Museum. The book explores key dimensions of a defining quality of vibrant public places that we call “conviviality”—a welcoming spirit, orientation to the community, comfort, opportunities for social engagement, and places for healing and renewal. The focus is on the physical character of museums, which, while all too often overlooked, has profound effects on the quality of a museum experience.

For all those who share a vision of the broad social role of museums, we offer The Convivial Museum as a timely reminder of the simple but deeply important practices that make museums critical components of civic life. Designed for ease of browsing, the book includes more than 130 images and thought-provoking quotations, some contributed by ExhibitFiles members.

The book complements an earlier, companion volume, Visitor Voices in Museum Exhibitions, which advocated for active individual and community involvement in creating museum exhibitions and programs. Both books were supported in part by grants from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Convivial Museum is available in a limited, print edition. To order either book (or both) visit the ASTC website.