Vote Mississauga!

I don’t know if you guys have seen this or not, but the When You Work at a Museum website has been holding the most amazing museum dance off competition. The competition is up to Day 8, Round 1.

Two things:

  1. Museum people are totally fun…(and relevant)
  2. Vote for Mississauga in this round, it’s where my people are from in Canada.

Note to Self: Don’t Forget Podcasts

I ran across this “Project Showcase” on the NCPH website today. It reminded me that public history is so much more than working at museums and historic sites. Public history is also about taking academic conversation outside of the universities and to the public.

This also made me start to think about the podcast series that is going along with the travelling HAL exhibit. The whole thing seem so terribly vague, I’d like to learn more about it. Podcasting might also be something that we want to do aside from HAL as the exhibit comes closer. We could create a story series that highlights the stories of different people whose lives a have been affected by incarceration.

This would also work perfectly with our #learnfromlistening that we were wanting to attach to  our exhibit.

It’s National Park Week!

National-park-week-2016.jpgNational Park Week is this week! From April 16th to the 24th, you can visit all national parks for free.

This article shows some really cool early anthropological sketches of some of our country’s national parks. Anthropologists have been involved in the creation of National Parks, and have been instrumental in the preservation of natural and historical resources that you can still see in the parks today.

You can visit the National Park Service website here to find a park near you. The NAA and Human Studies Film Archives have films, records, and photographs from many national parks across the United States, and many are available online. Happy exploring!

Are Museum Studies Students Zombies?!

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I was surprised when I ran across this article earlier today. I hadn’t even considered that there could be a push against hiring Museum Studies students in a museum. In Nina Simon’s words:  “I see these programs as a threat, an encroachment of schoolishness on the willfully unschooled. Following a standardized curriculum to prepare for work in the museum field homogenizes the perspectives and skills people bring to museum jobs. I think one of the things that keep museums fresh, welcoming, and non-didactic is the fact that most exhibit designers, museum educators, and conservators come from a variety of backgrounds”

Keep with the article though, there are some really great points brought up in the comments.

Clearly it is hard to pin hole all museum studies programs, as they are not all the same. After getting through this article and all of the comments, I felt even better about what we are doing at UNCG.

Museums Shooting Blanks

This was a really interesting article about how the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York got it wrong in a current exhibit on criminals. Bruce Chadwick, who wrote the article, claims that the exhibit was intended to make a connection between criminals and the Hollywood and black and white crime movies. This exhibit displays 166 years of crime in it’s photos but does not lay out the connection for guests.

The lack of connection…is it because the curators at an art museum are not well equipped to tell historical narratives in the way that the exhibit is installed?

I also think it might be interesting exhibit to visit while we’re in NY

Don’t forget your #hashtags

The reading this week about engaging with social media in the digital age led me to think about hashtags. This article is one example of how museums and historic sites can use hashtags in order to share information from their specific sites, AND to encourage participation from their followers.

 

#centralpark #newyork #museumhistory #museumweek #newyorkhistory #architecturehistory #wurstbrothers #5thavenue #josephfreedlander #architecturemw #waybackwednesday #quintessentiallynyc #museums #1930s #architecture #nychistory #nyc #history #art #nature #glenbowmuseum #artist #exhibits #creative #creations #wood #artistic #informationarchitecture #design #fashion #happy #middleoftheweek #biutiful #spring #wednesday #day #solution #louvre #museedulouvre #parisatnight #parisjetaime #adventureisoutthere #paris #vacation #france #museumstudies #favouriteplaces #museumweek2016 #travelling #behindthescenes #kunstistarbeit #museum #welovemuseums #poseforme #people #cityjourney #d610 #retina #fullframe #smartphonephotography

Drayton Hall: An Interpretive Plan

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Drayton Hall is an 18th-century plantation located on the Ashley River about 15 miles northwest of Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston is the oldest and second-largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and the principal city in the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. Charleston City has a population (2014) of 130,133. Eighteen percent are under eighteen and twelve percent are over 65. Twenty-five percent of the population is African-American and three percent are Hispanic or Latino. Nineteen percent of the people in Charleston City live below the poverty line.

Charleston City is home to over 150 historic sites, tours, and museums, including plantation homes, carriage rides, the Charleston Historical society and the Charleston Museum. Drayton Hall is a plantation home which is situated directly across the Ashley River from North Charleston, in the “Low country.” An outstanding example of Palladian architecture in North America and the only plantation house on the Ashley River to survive intact through both the Revolutionary and Civil wars, it is a National Historic Landmark. The house is operated by 30 staff members and 30 volunteers and is supported by private funds that funnel in through the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust and its board of 23 members. Drayton Hall was constructed in 1742 and is the oldest preserved plantation house in America that is open to the public.

Drayton Hall’s mission is to research, preserve, and interpret Drayton Hall and its collections and environs, in order to educate the public and to inspire people to embrace historic preservation. Most of the visitors are tourists from out of town and this seems to be an easy demographic to reach. Drayton Hall must focus on its involvement with Charleston City by building in to community partners and expanding on its current interpretive themes in order to increase its visitor numbers from local communities.

Though no conclusive visitor survey has been conducted at Drayton Hall, national trends show that visitors to historic sites and their expectations are changing. High impact and highly interactive museums are thriving while traditional historic house museums are struggling to adapt.  In today’s media saturated society, visitors are more technology driven than ever.  Historic house museums must search for ways to creatively incorporate new technologies while remaining true to their image, identity, mission, and purpose. This is a momentous task and requires the support of staff, boards, and volunteers, as well as financial investment.  Drayton Hall should expand its interpretive focus to bring more local population in and they can do it with the following:

  1. Focus on plantation farming: economy and community during the Drayton Hall Plantation era. Family life and plantation management. Reconstruction plantation community.
  2. African American life on the plantation. Sharecropper systems.
  3. Drayton Hall construction. Architectural changes in the house. The sale of Drayton Hall.

These interpretive themes are concepts that are vital to achieve understanding and appreciation of the historical significance of the people, structures, and events that transpired at Drayton Hall which would hopefully appeal to a larger local population.