Jamie Glavic, one of the co-organizers of Museum Blogs Day yesterday tagged me with 11 Questions for a Museum Blogger (you can see her responses here on her blog Museum Minute) that originally came from Blogstockchen). I didn't quite make my answers in time for the day, but here they are. I loved learning about blogs to keep an eye on, and thanks to Jamie and Jenni Fuchs at Museums140 for a great day.
1. Who are you and what do you like about blogging?
I’m Linda Norris, and despite a pretty considerable amount of time in the field, still think of myself as an emerging museum professional. I live in a tiny village in upstate New York and have done everything in museums, from working at a children's museum, giving tours at a wine museum, running a small historical society, developing exhibits and interpretation, heading up a museum service agency, and now working independently. I blog as a way of keeping conversations going. Sometimes those conversations are just with myself, sometimes with museums I’ve visited, with ideas, and most of all, with you, my colleagues. It’s been incredible when those conversations (like with Jasper Visser last month) have turned into in-person ones. I love it when blog readers come up at conferences and introduce themselves to talk. In our book, Rainey Tisdale and I talk about creative people being open, generous and connected--the blog lets me be all that. I also like that I can do it in my pajamas.
2. What is the most popular post on your blog?
The most popular posts often seem to be those where I’m just an observant museum visitor, reporting on what I see and learn from big places. Recently a post about the Rijksmuseum’s great labels and handouts got great traffic, as have posts on the Minnesota Historical Society’s inventive labels and a wonderful docent at the Getty Museum.
I’ve been blogging a long time (since 2007) so picking one favorite is hard as so much of my blogging is so tied up with my own memories and experiences. But as I look back, my favorite ones are from my first months in Ukraine as a Fulbright Scholar, where now, I can really see myself trying to puzzle my way through an entirely different culture and way of thinking about museums. You can find those in January-May, 2009 if you’re interested.
4. If you had a whole week just to blog: which subject would you like to thoroughly research and write about?
I am just a ditherer, with so many things I’d like to spend more time on. Currently these questions on my short list:
- Are museum studies programs producing the next generation of great, creative museum professionals? And if not, why not?
- How can service organizations inspire their member museums in addition to serving as a place for information and resources?
- And the really big one—how can museums be more meaningful in their communities, particularly in communities undergoing rapid change or disruption?
5. If you could ask anyone at all to write a guest post for your blog (you can be as utopian as you like), who would you chose and what would you ask them to write about?
Hmmm…I think I’d ask some great storytellers to write about narrative. I’d love Hilary Mantel or Adam Johnson, both of whose books enthralled me; or alternatively, Wes Anderson, about how he creates entire visual worlds in his films and how that might relate to what we do.
Definitely impossible to choose.
7. What was the last museum you visited and how was it?
Fascinating, unexpected, slightly impenetrable—my last museum visit was to the Museum of Innocence in Istanbul. I’m still pondering on how to write a blog post about it.
8. Share your favorite photo with us that you took at a museum.
A couple different ones (do you get the sense I have a hard time making choices?) At the top of the post, boys on a school trip at the Louvre filling out worksheets on nudes; and center, someone role-playing at the DDR Museum in Berlin. I still remember Katrin whispering to me upon seeing him, "Look, he makes himself physically like a bureaucrat on the phone!" Totally immersed, solitary, in the moment.
I’ve been really lucky that my work life over the last couple years has led me to so many amazing places around the world—but the museum I would most like to visit is one that surprises me—so I won’t know until I stumble across it.
At the moment, Museum of Jurassic Technology, Los Angeles and Teyler's Museum, in Haarlem, the Netherlands.
11. Do you have any insider tips on any of the museums you have visited or blogged about?Here’s a tip I learned from my colleagues at Context Travel who provide in-depth walks of many of the world’s great museums. Go the opposite direction from everyone else. Sounds silly, but it’s amazing how often you can find galleries with a bit of space for solitary reflection when you reverse against the crowd. And the second: if you travel at all, an ICOM membership is a fabulous thing—admits you free almost everywhere. (and it’s also great to be a part of that world-wide community).
And passing it forward, I'm tagging three more bloggers I admire: Gretchen Jennings, Anne Ackerson and Nicole Deufel in the hopes they'll respond as well. Here's your task:
- Answer the eleven questions – you can adapt them a little to fit your blog, if you like.
- Include the BEST BLOG image in your post, and link back to the person who nominated you (that would be me, by the way, or more specifically, this blog post).
- Devise eleven new questions – or feel free to keep any of these ones here if you like them – and pass them on to how ever many bloggers you would like to.
Here's my questions for you.
- Who are you and what do you like about blogging?
- What search terms lead people to your blog?
- Which post on your blog is your personal favorite?
- If you had a whole week just to blog: which subject would you like to thoroughly research and write about?
- If you could ask anyone at all to write a guest post for your blog (you can be as utopian as you like), who would you chose and what would you ask them to write about?
- What was your first museum job?
- What was the last museum you visited and how was it?
- Share your favorite photo with us that you took at a museum or historic site.
- If time and money were not an issue, which museum in the world would you most like to visit?
- What's the biggest lesson you learned from a failure?
- If you could work anywhere, what museum would you like to work in?