37 Chapters
Medium 9781538104118

Silent Legacy: The Story of Vasily Konovalenko’s Gem-Carving Sculptures

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Silent Legacy

The Story of Vasily Konovalenko’s Gem-Carving Sculptures

Stephen E. Nash

Curator of Archaeology and Chair, Department of Anthropology, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO; Stephen.nash@dmns.org

Frances Alley Kruger

Senior Exhibit Developer, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO, Frances.kruger@dmns.org

Abstract  During a career that spanned four decades, Russian artist Vasily Konovalenko (1929–1989) produced more than 70 sculptures carved from gems, minerals, and other raw materials. As unorthodox, compelling, and masterful as Konovalenko’s sculptures are, they had been poorly published and poorly known. They are on permanent display at only two museums in the world: the small and obscure State Gems Museum (Samotsvety) in Moscow, Russia, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS), a major natural history museum in Colorado, the United States. This article examines Konovalenko’s life and work, as well as the unusual circumstances that led to the two exhibitions, their role in Konovalenko’s relative obscurity, and a recent resurgence of interest.

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Medium 9781442276147

Afterword

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

AfterwordExploring the Smithsonian Institution Transcription CenterMeghan FerriterChristine RosenfeldWe hope that the articles in this focus issue of the journal Collections: A Journal for Museum & Archives Professionals have given readers firsthand perspectives on a range of strategies employed, experiences fulfilled, and opportunities seized by all authors and their collaborators at the Smithsonian Institution and beyond in creating the robust crowdsourcing project known as the Transcription Center (TC). It is clear that planning and experimenting have prepared units, representatives, and volunteers alike to benefit from serendipitous moments of discovery. In case it was minimized, we would also like to emphasize the gratitude that unit representatives, the project coordinator, and the development team have for the seemingly endless enthusiasm, curiosity, and generosity of volunteers.The Smithsonian Institution mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge,” binds together a cluster of goals, strategies, objectives, and everyday tactics. The Smithsonian’s mission can guide the work of staff, supported with the values of discovery, excellence, diversity, integrity, and service. However, what else is necessary to carry out that mission in the 21st century? Creativity. Collaboration. Breaking out and improving workflows. Learning from one another in the process. With the work to create and sustain the TC and the activity of volunteers in the TC, this crowdsourcing project is actively carrying out the vision of the Smithsonian Institution in “shaping the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world” (http://www.si.edu/About/Mission).

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Medium 9781442277229

Paradoxes of Belonging in Peru’s National Museums

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub
Blenda FemeníasUniversity of Maryland University College, Department of Social Sciences, Adelphi, Maryland, blenda.femenias@umuc.eduAbstract This article examines the establishment of Peru’s national museums in the first half of the 20th century. I address the ways that art, archaeology, and anthropology intertwined in the collection of objects and the creation of buildings in which to house them. In addressing commemorative events, especially the Centennial of Independence, I argue that the performative practices of memory building depended on the creation of an idea of unity that, paradoxically, emphasized differences attributed largely to race and origin. Thus, the state’s efforts to hegemonize the past by appropriating Inca and earlier pre-Columbian cultures as Peruvian were both supported and challenged by elite vanguard artists and intellectuals who shaped the new national museums along with the concept of patrimony. In particular, I focus on the National Museum of Popular Culture, addressing the seminal role of artist José Sabogal and his circle, within the broader contexts of Peruvian and Latin American indigenismo. See All Chapters
Medium 9781442277229

Possessing an “Inner History”: Curators, Donors, and Affective Stewardship

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Amy Hildreth Chen

Special Collections Instruction Librarian, University of Iowa Libraries, Amy-Chen@uiowa.edu

Abstract Acquisition histories reveal how relationships between repository curators and collection donors shape an institution’s holdings as well as the direction of future scholarship. However, researchers often overlook the significance of acquisition histories, as cultural heritage organizations do not make this information readily available, for accession information either is considered private or is not presumed to be valuable. Therefore, tracing acquisition histories requires analyzing evidence across critical, artistic, and institutional records to see how curators recruit donors and then support the processing and promotion of their collections. The case study of curator Kevin Young and Lucille Clifton at Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Book Library provides an example of the merit of acquisition histories. While Clifton had no previous institutional connection to Emory, she chose Rose Library because she knew Young personally and trusted him, as both belonged to the same community of African American poets. I argue that Young advocated for Clifton’s papers out of respect for her legacy, which included her mentorship of his early career. This “inner history” between writer and curator, mentor and protégé, demonstrates the value of affective stewardship, or when a curator’s emotional connection to a writer generates a level of collection advocacy surpassing standard promotional practices.

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Medium 9781442276147

Planning and Storytelling with Collections

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Planning and Storytelling with Collections

Establishing the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Transcription Center Presence

Courtney Bellizzi

Museum Specialist, National Museum of African American History and Culture, bellizzic@si.edu

Abstract The newest Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), is set to open in the fall of 2016. Since its establishment in 2003, the museum has built a collection to help tell the story of the African American experience and how it shaped—and continues to shape—both America and the world. One of the ways that we hope to share our collections prior to the museum’s opening is through the Smithsonian’s Transcription Center (TC). The TC allows virtual visitors to explore and interact with Smithsonian materials in a personal way. In order to make this possible, NMAAHC developed a plan to highlight collections based around the themes of the museum’s inaugural exhibits, unexplored collections, and research interests. This article examines how collections are picked for the TC, the establishment and evolution of in-house workflows to sustain the work, and collaboration with curators, researchers, education, and social media staff to enhance the public’s online experience.

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