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Showing posts from May, 2013

What is a Museum?

During my time as a Createquity Writing Fellow I’ve written a lot about museums partly because I am a museum professional, and largely because, being already keyed into the museum world, I find that there is just so much to write about. Although I had been aware of Fractured Atlas’s work for a long time, I first heard about Createquity when a well-known museum blogger, Nina Simon, wrote about it on her blog Museum 2.0. Simon appreciates that Createquity provides “exposure to a broader arts world.” She’s correct in her assessment that the museum world can be an insular bubble – for all the work we do on engaging our audiences and our communities, we do most of it through a museum-specific lens.

Later in that same post, though, Simon writes, “the American ‘arts’ field is in as much of a bubble as the museum industry–perhaps even a smaller one.” She refers to the museum and arts bubbles as separate, even though many people would consider museums to be a part of the arts. In …

Free to a Good Home? Or For Sale to the Highest Bidder?

Free to a Good Home? Or For Sale to the Highest Bidder? One of eleven extant copies of the Bay Psalm Book, among the first books printed in British North America, will soon be up for sale. Experts estimate it will go for $10 to $20 million. Did a private book collector die or decide to prune their collection? No, this particular volume is being sold by the Old South Church, a congregation in Boston. Opponents of the decision have expressed concerns that the book would be sold to a private collector. This despite the fact that the Old South Church owns two copies of the book and is only selling one.

Controversies like the one over the sale of the Bay Psalm Book have become increasingly common since the mid-twentieth century. Many museums and other institutions that hold cultural objects no longer believe they must hold such objects in the public trust in perpetuity. Much of the museum community has agreed on best practices for deciding whether to give up an object, yet those p…

Some recent posts for the Yoko Miwa Trio

Here are some of the posts I've written for the Yoko Miwa Trio's blog in the last few months. The posts I've written reviewing Ken Burns's film JAZZ on their blog are collected in a separate entry.

Show at Regattabar, Thursday, April 18, 7:30pm

"Reliable Rayon" at Museum Textile Services Blog

This lovely sample of wartime-era yarn was recently donated to the Museum Textile Services study collection by Mig Ticehurst of Keswick, Cumbria, England.

The company that made this yarn has gone by several names, but at the time, it was Robert Glew & Co, Ltd. We love the slogan on the label of this yarn – “Reliable rayon for dainty garments.”

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Boston Museums Offering Solace

As you may know, I am currently a Writing Fellow for the arts policy and infrastructure blog and virtual think tank Createquity. I am also a transplant Bostonian, living in the greater Boston area and working downtown in the city, so while I was safe and well during the events of the Boston Marathon bombing, they did strike close to home.

I wrote this piece about the several Boston museums that opened their doors for free one day that week. Since then, several other museums have decided to welcome specific groups, such as M.A. law enforcement officials, for free all month.