Thursday, December 27, 2007

Year End Review

So it's almost the end of this year, and the end of a year's worth of sporadic blogging and time for some random museum thoughts, based on experiences during the past year:

Best combination of place and art: visiting Arles and then the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Amazing both individually and even more so collectively.

Most entertaining and challenging teamwork: working with a talented team of staff and consultants at the Berkshire Museum on a new exhibition about innovation in the Berkshires. Very thoughtful work and a team that all respected the work of others. Biggest luxury in a work setting: getting to be a team member with opinions on this project, not a project manager.

Best volunteer organization: The Sayre Historical Society, who after long years of work, opened a part of their new museum to the public on December 16. As a board, their commitment to professionalism in building restoration, collections care and exhibit development was exemplary, and as well, they represent one of the friendliest, most enthusiastic communities where Riverhill has worked.

Blogs I'm currently reading on a regular basis and always find interesting: Museum 2.0 is written by Nina Simon and is about the ways in which "the philosophies of Web 2.0 can be applied in museums to make them more engaging, community-based vital elements of society." Thoughtful, funny reading and a great sweep of posts on influences from other places.

and CultureGrrl by arts journalist Lee Rosenbaum, who's passionate and outspoken about many issues relating to the arts and museums. She writes about art museums, somewhat out of my sphere, but it's always enlightening, and her continued push about deaccessioning in museums should be reading for all of us.

Museum I'll remember a long time--the Jewish Historical Museum of the Netherlands. Museum that was sort of forgettable: the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, despite a topic that is one that we all should be considering these days.

Topics I want to think more about in 2008: how to take interactives to a next step in terms of development and how to meet the challenge of interpretive difficult community issues in both historic houses and museums.

Exhibits or museums I wish I'd seen this year:
The Eldredge Street Synagogue, Mythic Creatures at the American Museum of Natural History, the Kara Walker retrospective at the Whitney Museum (highly recommended by a colleague), and far too many more to list!

Above from top:
Set design by Peggy Clark for a production of Philip Barry's holiday. The main character, Linda Seton, is in a playroom, awaiting the start of a New Year's Eve Party
Music Division, Library of Congress
The Sayre Historical Society's board of directors
A young museum goer and her mother at the Sayre Historical Society Museum
(last two photographs courtesy Ken Bracken)

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