Tags: art, culture, literature, massachusetts, museums in the news, peabody essex museum, poetry, weather
Happy National Poetry Month, Everyone!
As you know from previous posts (2010, 2011), I love this month. I like seeing poems pop up on my RSS and Twitter and assorted other feeds; I like having excuses to talk about poetry (even more than I usually do), and I like giving myself time to read poetry in a more concentrated way. This year, I also liked developing a raft of new family-friendly art&poetry events for the museum.
The Massachusetts Poetry Festival is happening in Salem again this year, at the end of this week (Friday-Sunday). PEM is a host for a number of reading and concert events from the larger festival (I’m particularly looking forward to the Typewriter Orchestra), but I’m also spearheading a collection of activities tying the visual to the verbal arts for kids and families, including a collaborative paper mural “Grow a Poet-tree,” make your own magnetic poetry, illuminated capitals word-art, a docent-led poetry tour, and a self-guided Poet Quest.
We also have the talented and charming artist Christine Destrempes back to talk about her “River of Words” project (featured in Ripple Effect), and invite visitor participation in the next installment of same, and the highly entertaining David Zucker who will be reciting and performing “Poetry in Motion.”
We’re also highlighting poetry in the Art & Nature Center’s popular “Books and Boxes Zone”–come by to check out some of our fantastic books!
Tags: art, curatorial, eye_spy, museums in the news, pinterest, technology, tumblr, web2.0
I run across a lot of fun stuff surfing the wilds of the internet, much of which I stash away to share with you here in an eventual Brain Popcorn post. Sometimes it’s from an article on my reader (and blessings on the day I decided to invest in upkeeping my RSS feeds, or I’d miss so much cool and wacky content!), and sometimes it’s a neat link on Twitter, but recently there’s been a fair amount of it on tumblr and Pinterest. I initially resisted both sites because I need more ways to fritter away time on the internet like I need a ten-ton elephant standing on my head, but between a few influential articles and blog posts from people I admire, not to mention a few sessions at the recent National Art Educators Association conference in NYC, I decided to jump straight in.
Museums on Pinterest
If you search Pinterest users for ‘museum’ you get a fairly large number of results, which I initially found surprising, especially the heavy concentration of children’s museums, though in a lot of ways the art museums are a perfect fit. I haven’t looked at all their boards, but here are a few folks doing interesting things on Pinterest:
SFMOMA – Thematic collections of elements of their collection, and one cool and self-referential board that highlights where they turn up in the press.
Metropolitan Museum of Art – More thematic collections, and I’m particularly fond of the way they used a quote in the description section of their ‘cat’ board. (also a great resource to get to other cool museum boards: check out the list of who the Met’s following! I’m particularly keen to see what ends up on the crowdsourced Future of Museums board.)
Met Teens – The museum’s teen advisory group runs this set of boards, which they use to highlight student work (both written and visual) especially in response to museum collections, draw correlations between historical fashions and modern, and advertise upcoming teen-focused events at the museum. Very cool!
Not convinced? Right before I was putting this post out into the world, fellow museum enthusiast Colleen Dilenschneider over on Know Your Own Bone wrote a fantastically well-researched set of arguments about why Pinterest is a useful investment for the extended museum community: 5 Reasons for Museums to get on Pinterest right now.
Museums on Tumblr
This is a bit more of a stretch: I don’t actually find Tumblr to be as easy a site to navigate or search. Simply tracking the ‘museum’ tag gets you interesting photos from people’s vacations, but locating specific museum projects on Tumblr is harder.
Eye Spy: Fake or Real? – This was actually the project that introduced me to Tumblr, which was a game we designed to go with our “Playing with Perception” show at PEM last year. I really liked the format that our team put together, and I haven’t seen any similar game-style Tumblr projects out there. (But I’d love to, so if you know of any, do tell!)
SFMOMA (again) – Their general feed is interesting, but I particularly like their ArtGameLab tag, where they share visitor photos etc. from their visitor-designed game projects accessible online and in the galleries.
Have you run across any cool organizational projects on Tumblr or Pinterest? Share them here!
Or, of course, you could just come find me there! (fair warning, what you see there is often what happens in my brain before it makes it into a coherent Popcorn post)
Tags: museums in the news
The kids pile off the bus, clutching clipboards and pencils. Your heart sinks. Is this another boringly basic ‘find the painting by Copley with a teapot in it’ scavenger hunt? It doesn’t have to be. Check out this great post from the Smithsonian Museum of American History’s blog: “New Take on the Old Museum Field Trip.” Fill your field trip ‘yearbook’ with the figures of American History — Best Couple, Most Likely to Win a Medal, etc. What a great way to spark conversations and force some actual reasoning to defend your vote!
It’s possible to do this at art and science museums too. In an art exhibit, even with very young children, you could ask ‘what would you hang above your couch? Why?’ and of course, there’s the fabulous ‘What if?’ which is at the core of any hands-on science museum. Check out more recommendations for such ‘juicy questions’ at the Exploratorium’s Group Inquiry by Visitors at Exhibits (GIVE Program). Find the directions for the Juicy Question Game and suggestions on how do do this on the exhibit floor with a family or school group. Brain Popcorn + Juicy Questions = Great Food for Thought!
On the fourth day of popcorn, these ideas gave me glee: four juicy questions, three chugging trains, two coral reefs, and a pop-up folding snow-bedecked tree…
Tags: art, holiday, humor, museums in the news, reading, video/animation, winter
In recognition of the holiday season, I have decided to celebrate with twelve posts of things that make me happy, inspire me, make me think, or otherwise stick alluringly in my brain. (Expect a bit more humor and a bit less curriculum!)
Today’s Topic: Seasonal Papercraft, with a highlight on origami and snowflake making
Round Up of Origami Snowflakes and Snowmen directions from the Origami Resource Center. Very cool stuff. I love the idea of using wax paper or patty paper so that you get the layered translucent snow-like effect.
Decorating the Origami Tree at the American Museum of Natural History:
On the first day of popcorn, this idea gave me glee–a pop-up folding snow-bedecked tree…
Tags: museums in the news, professional development, reading
In January, the UK’s Telegraph reported “Museums ‘should provide more hands-on experiences for children’” with the subtitle “Children are getting bored with ‘interactive’ push-button displays in museums and would rather dress up and touch exhibits, a campaign group claims.”
…And I thought ‘campaign group? Try 9/10 of the museum professionals I have worked with and/or know!’
In fact, what surprised me most about this article was not its findings, but the fact that it provoked so few expressions of vindication in the worlds of museum education where I tread. Some of us have been saying this kind of thing for a long time.
While it’s nice to see that some of the best memory-generating (not to mention that buzzword of my museum studies’ days, ‘meaning-making’) experiences possible in museums are finally (occasionally?) getting the lauds and general public attention they deserve, I can’t help but think that it’s not exactly news. I’ll grant you I’m in a privileged position where true interactivity is concerned: hands-on inquiry is at the heart of The Discovery Museums, where I spent the last three years, and it’s most certainly an organizing principle of PEM’s Art and Nature Center where I am now. (After all, how many art museums do you know that let you leave your own recycled cardboard and oddity ‘trashimals’ in the same gallery space as ‘real’ professional artists’ works?)
More exciting to me than the Telegraph’s non-news is the advent of The Participatory Museum, written by Nina Simon of Museum 2.0. She’s graciously making the content of her book entirely available for free online, as well as for paid pdf download if you like the pretty formatting. Almost all chapters are up as of this post, with the rest due to be available by the end of March. One of the things that I find most intriguing about the way she approaches participation is that she’s inspired by some of the very cool tech-y projects and possibilities, but is not confined by them. Things don’t have to involve the internet–or a computer at all–to be fascinating, relevant, memorable participatory experiences. And she goes many steps beyond the ‘touch a whalebone’ approach mentioned in the Telegraph article, into ways to promote conversation. I’ve only just started making my way through the chapters she’s posted, but I’m looking forward to several hours’ worth of pondering!
On a related online-resource-note, I’ve collected a number of new and awesome useful links which I’ll be adding to the resources page through the rest of this week, so check back for those soon!
Tags: archaeology, art, history, museums in the news
There’s been a lot of fun stuff going on in the world to do with archaeology!
Upcoming local event if you’re in Boston:
Next week is Archaeology Week at the Museum of Science. Though The Discovery Museums sadly isn’t going to be there this year, we were last year and it was a blast. I highly recommend the Fair on Friday and Saturday. Hopefully we’ll see you there next year, too!
Awesome new discovery in England:
Just a few weeks ago, news broke of a hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and metalwork found in a private farmer’s field by an amateur with a metal detector. More details on Huffington Post and more pictures on National Geographic.
For kid-friendly background on the Anglo-Saxons, check out the BBC Primary History site here, including activity suggestions on the Teacher Resources page.
There aren’t a lot of metal working simulation activities out there for kids–I intend to do some playing around with aluminum foil to see if I come up with anything fun, and if I do, I’ll be sure to post it.
Archaeology as a Character in Art:
Have you ever heard of Goverthing, the lost New York settlement last seen around the mid-1950′s? Neither have most other people, but in a really neat confluence of art, imagination, and archaeology, visitors to Governor’s Island witnessed a dig uncovering this buried town. Playing with the ideas of how we look at history, what we believe based on what’s buried in the ground, and just how gullible people are or aren’t, this exhibition looks like it was a lot of fun.
Tags: art, geography, graphics, museums in the news, photography
Today I bring you a few ‘fun-with-photos’ links.
The Infinite Photograph from National Geographic’s Green Guide — You’ve probably all seen those really cool photocollages: VanGogh’s Starry Night redone through tiny pictures from NASA, Yoda reconstructed with a million Star Wars screencaps, etc. If you’re anything like me, you’ve wished over and over for a magnifying glass while you were looking at them–fortunately, the folks over at NG seem to be a lot like me. *wink* Their Infinite Photograph gives you an opening scene, into which you may zoom to see how it is constructed out of hundreds of other photographs, and keep zooming in until you get an entirely new scene–then start zooming all over again from there. Not just a really whizbang techno effect, it’s also a collection of incredibly beautiful images from all over the world. And if you’re lucky, it will also inspire you to pick up your camera and head outdoors.
Miniature Art — I happened across this collection of photographs/miniatures by accident while working on an Inventors’ Workshop challenge. There’s something fascinating about seeing the world from the Brobdignagian point of view, and though some of the pictures in this collection are clearly the work of a somewhat quirky sense of humor and propriety, they’re fascinating, fun, and a great way to start a discussion about scale in math, form, function, and design in science, point of view in literature or art, and ‘just why are the Belgians so fond of Mini-Europe anyway?’ in geography.
Behind the Scenes at the Harvard Museums — Have I mentioned yet my firm belief that a lot of us who work in museums do so because we really like getting to go through the ‘staff only’ doors to see the cool hidden stuff? Wired Science brings us some really beautiful photos of some of the strangest, coolest, most random hidden favorites from the Harvard Museum of Natural History. (I notice they do not include the classroom where I had my Urbanization of Ancient Cultures class. Which was cool. And dusty.)
And finally, a graphics resource, just for the heck of it. You have a pretty cool picture for an exhibit/mailing/program/birthday card, but really don’t know how to frame it or what color scheme to use?
Check out Pictaculous, which allows you to load a picture and then will give you a selection of color palettes from which to choose for further graphic design. It’s a fun tool, and if you’re feeling really brave you can screencap your favorite palette and drop it right into your photo editing program to have available for your color selection tool.