A long silence on the old blog. It is a well-known fact that an idle blog is a dead one, but this has been more of a medically induced coma. It’s not that I’ve been lazy, just preoccupied.
I submitted my resignation on Wednesday and am leaving the Museum of Science, some thirty-odd years after I first walked through the doors as a very junior Junior Volunteer. And the planning, worrying and waiting that accompanies leaving an institution after so long has consumed most of my brainpower. It’s exciting, scary, and very odd to think of myself going somewhere different every day. Grad school feels like a walk in the park compared to the prospect of diving into a new job, and a completely new culture. But, dive I will.
I have accepted the job of Associate Director of Integrated Media at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, and for the next four years will be managing a wide range of media projects projects for their temporary exhibitions *and* preparing for the 2017 reopening of the museum, which will entail 175,000 square feet of new exhibit space and a complete reinstallation of the collection! They don’t lack for ambition at PEM, and that’s exciting! My interest in the intersection of the digital and museums is pretty obvious if you’re reading this blog for more than the first time, and my position at PEM will be a great opportunity to turn ideas into practice. A trifle overwhelming right now, but invigorating.
Which doesn’t make leaving any easier. When you’re engaged in project-based work, there’s never a good time to leave other than at the end of a project, and like so many other colleagues, I rarely work on only one project at a time any more. So I’ll be leaving loose ends that my coworkers and friends will have to tie up. That’s a hard thing to come to terms with, but that’s the reality of it. I won’t see the final version of that interactive. I won’t be at the opening of that exhibition. I will have not any stake in who the Museum hires to fill vacant positions, including mine.
Time to mount up and move on.
I’ll be at Museums and Web representing my my new employer, so if you’re in Portland, do come by and say, “Hi!” I’ve been going to MW since the late 90s and always gotten something out of the experience. I’m really looking forward to going in my new role, to see the conference with a fresh perspective and different questions and hopes for what I can learn there. It’ll be fun to be an oldish newbie.
Which brings me to my first question for you:
What resources would you recommend I check out, as a freshly-minted art museum professional, to get a start on understanding the state of art museum educational theory and practice?
Anything is fair game; books, articles, websites, people, places outside the field worth looking at, etc… I know it’s a broad question, but it’s intentionally so. I’m in the divergent phase of my research and I like to throw the net wide and gather as many data as I can. There’ll be time later to process and converge. For now, I’m hungry and I hope you’ll feed me. And don’t limit yourself to technology. As an example, I’d been dabbling a bit in Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) at the Museum of Science and wondering how they might apply in a science museum context.
I’m also an experiential learner, and like to immerse myself in places. I’ve always got a list of museums I’m dying to go visit, but I’d like to ask one more question of you:
Which art museums are on your top ten list of institutions doing interesting work?
I know, I know… It’s another stupidly broad question, but bear with me, OK? I’m new to this! ;-) If you could tell me a museum that’s on your list and what about it puts it there, I’d be grateful. As an example, my personal list includes Cleveland Museum of Art because of the philosophy behind Gallery One, as well as the technological details of implementing it. The list also includes Dallas Museum of Art for their “DMA Friends and Partners” program. Ditching paid admission and membership for an interaction-based economy is endlessly fascinating to me and I look forward to seeing how it plays out.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and input.