251 Slices
Medium 9781442267794

KEYNOTE The Times of the Curator

Collections Altamira Press ePub

History of Consciousness, University of California—Santa Cruz

“The Times of the Curator”… My title evokes two senses of temporality:

I’ll be speaking of both. My concern is the discrepant temporalities (sometimes I want to say “histories,” or even “futures”) that are integral to the task of the curator today.

“The task of the curator.” I like the conference title chosen by Lucian Gomoll and Lissette Olivares because of its invocation of Walter Benjamin and the problematic of translation, which in his famous essay, “The Task of the Translator,” is fundamentally a temporal and open-ended process. For Benjamin, of course, the discordant times of the past would be activated and “made new” by a critical-materialist form of historicizing that could challenge and open up closed narratives, the inevitable realisms of the victors.

I believe that what’s going on today in museums has the potential to make this kind of critical intervention. For the museum is an inventive, globally, and locally translated form, no longer anchored to its modern origins in Europe. Contemporary curatorial work, in the excessive times of decolonization and globalization, by engaging with discrepant temporalities—not resisting, or homogenizing, their inescapable friction—has the potential to open up common-sense, “given” histories. It does so under serious constraints, a push and pull of material forces and ideological legacies it cannot evade.

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Medium 9781442267763

Crossroads of Culture, Anthropology Collections at the Denver Museum of Science & Nature

Collections Altamira Press ePub

by Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh, Stephen E. Nash, and Stephen R. Holen. Boulder, CO: The University Press of Colorado, 2010. 174 pp. ISBN 978-1-60732-024-1

Reviewed by Deborah Rose Van Horn, Registrar, Kentucky Historical Society, 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601; email: deborah.vanhorn@ky.gov

The book, Crossroads of Culture, Anthropology Collections at the Denver Museum of Science & Nature, is an overview of the museum’s Anthropology collections. The authors provide their audience with a brief history of the institution, the history of the Anthropology collections and a look at where the Denver Museum of Science & Nature intends to take its Anthropology collections in the future. This synopsis is enhanced by beautiful color photographs and first-person narratives by collections stakeholders.

The authors begin with a brief history of that institution and the goals of this publication. The main focus of the volume is to introduce the Anthropology collections to a wider audience. As part of this process, the authors provide information about and access to the collections through the volume. According to the authors, only one percent of the museum’s holdings are on exhibit at any time and only a fraction of this percentage is the Anthropology collections. This is why they have chosen to publish this volume and provide access to the materials in the collection in this way. They proceed to do a departmental breakdown of the Anthropology collections including the history of the departments, the scopes of the anthropology collections, and future goals for that department.

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Medium 9781442267817

The Deaccessioning and Disposal Practices of Small Museums in Kentucky and Indiana

Collections Altamira Press ePub

Gwen Corder

Independent Scholar; email: gfcord013@gmail.com

Abstract A survey conducted in 2008 for a graduate degree examined the methods that small museums use to deaccession and dispose of permanent collection items and compared findings against AAM and ICOM standards. An instrument was mailed to 200 large, medium, and small museums. Fifty-seven museums agreed to participate, 33 of which were small museums. Follow-up telephone interviews were conducted with six small museums. Some findings indicate that: small museums use untrained volunteers; small museum administrators do not have in-depth professional museum-training or education themselves; and small museums use money from the sale of collection items to finance operating and facilities’ costs. From these findings and fourteen years of personal experiences, it appears that small museums staff, board members, and volunteers need in-depth education and training in museum and collections management so that they can make better decisions about their collections.

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Medium 9781442267756

Notes from the Field

Collections Altamira Press ePub

Pamela White

Pamela White, J.D., Ph.D., Office of the Provost, University of Iowa, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242 phone: (319) 335-3500; email: pamela-white@uiowa.edu

Editor’s Note: The following is an account by Pam White, then-Interim Director of the University of Iowa Museum of Art, of staff and volunteers actively caring for their collections in the summer of 2008, just in advance of the floodwaters that would consume their building and destroy the home for thousands of objects. As Pam recounts, evacuations were already occurring on campus, in city and town alike, and across swaths of land in the Midwest plains. Waters began to rise on June 8 and continued until July 1. While no permanent home has been claimed for the museum, the institution has arranged partnerships, such as that with the nearby Figge Art Museum in Davenport. Stay tuned for further updates.

The call woke me at 5:45 AM. I left the museum at 11 PM the night before with my Weimaraners, Hansel and Gretel, in tow. I felt I could no longer safely handle art or record accession numbers or even form sentences. I was bone-tired — jet lagged from my recent return from Ireland in the wee hours of June 11. It was now June 13 and we were to have at least until 5 PM that day to remove more art from the impending flood. I did not really believe that the museum would flood — we didn’t in 1993 and why was this going to be worse? The news from Cedar Rapids was dire: they were hit by an overnight deluge. I was concerned, but not overly so. Somehow I thought it would be all right in the morning and that I could return home despite my daughter and I being evacuated with the dogs and with suitcases yet unpacked from the trip. I really couldn’t think about my personal life — the museum’s collection consumed my thoughts.

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Medium 9781442267763

Artists, Patrons and the Public: Why Culture Changes

Collections Altamira Press ePub

by Barry Lord and Gail Dexter Lord. Lanham, MD; Plymouth, U.K.: AltaMira Press. 2010. 216 pp. ISBN: 978-0-7591-1848-5

Reviewed by Susan Martis, Ph.D., SAGES Fellow, Case Western Reserve University, Crawford Hall 110 LC7178, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106; email: susan.martis@case.edu.

Artists, Patrons and the Public: Why Culture Changes by Barry Lord and Gail Dexter Lord features an examination of aesthetic culture while elucidating its relationship to life experiences in general. By focusing on cultural change and the people who participate in it, this book provides a distinctive analysis of aspects often marginalized in textbooks and exhibitions. The authors utilize familiar works of art and their creators from art history, music, theater, and literature to explain their statements, but concepts emerge from and will appeal to a broad range of academic and general interests. Indeed, the last two chapters address topical issues of the environment, globalism, urbanism, and technology.

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