Simple solutions: When you have a display plinth too large to balance on the trolley, use a counterweight! What should you use as a counterweight? Whatever is to hand and safe really....
Over the past few days I have had adventures in archive documentation... It's worth knowing that most of our archive documentation/database is kept in a series of excel sheets, rather than any sort of database or archiving software.
Excel can be a very effective tool, but in the same way that using a loaded gun as a paperweight is an effective tool - fine until someone does something uneducated, hurried, or plain daft with it.
Archive Adventures 1.
N/A is never something one should be allowed put into the “Date” entry for an archived item.
The date is always applicable, even if only an estimate.
Archive Adventures 2.
Archive Adventures continue… In this Excel document, some boxes are formatted as text, some are formatted as numbers.
So when you try to sort data into date order, it effectively creates two lists, one above the other, one with the text dates in alphabetical order, one with the numerical dates in numerical order.
If you will insist that Excel is fit for purpose, at least be consistent with it?
Archive Adventures 3.
Six identical items, split into two separate listings.
One listing has a manufacturing date.
The other listing says manufacturing date is TBC.
The items were all manufactured at the same time.
Methinks someone “updated” the archive by adding three new items, without first checking if there was an existing listing to just expand.
Archive Adventures 4.
The date is always applicable, even if only an estimate.
"Old" is slightly better than N/A, but very only slightly just better.
Archives are kept for a reason, accompanying documentation is created for a reason. The database documents what you have, how many you have, if there are restrictions on use, where to find things... It can also help you understand what you don't have, and any gaps in the collection it would be appropriate to fill.
A sloppy archive and database documentation are almost more of an impediment than the "room full of stuff, and one person knows how it works" school of archiving. I'm nigh on wishing we were back in those days, where a well timed ask for a favour got results faster than an argument with Excel.
Interesting times over in Poland.
You know it's interesting times when in January, the director panic opened the not entirely completed Museum of the Second World War early, because he was worried that his government was going to close it down before it officially opened up.
"The minister of culture has made public statements criticizing the way history is being presented at Machcewicz's museum — that it doesn’t conform to official “historical policy.”"
"“They criticized that this museum does not represent the glorious side of the war, they criticized that this is a pacifist museum, that we show the war as a great tragedy,” says Machcewicz.
The war according to the Law and Justice party can “shape characters and make people brave and industrious.” "
Full story I read is here.
We then move on to this later article, explaining the Provincial Administrative Court ruling which blocked the Supreme Administrative Court's OK for the government to merge the museum with an as yet none-existent museum - thus bringing the Museum of the Second World War under their direct control. At the time of writing this blog, the Minister of Culture had taken things back to the Supreme Administrative Court, and a result is still pending.
"The situation is a worrying one for the museum and other cultural institutions in the country as the nationalist government has already assumed control of the state broadcaster, civil service and the highest court in the land, the Constitutional Tribunal.
“We are an example of an institution that is independent of politics and an organisation that is and should be objective. What is happening is that the government is trying to put politics into our institution and that is not supposed to be the way. They are trying to rearrange our interpretation of the main exhibition and to replace it with a more Polish point of view.”"
This is something which should not only be discussed in museum circles, but much wider. As we take an interest in the nationalism, slanting of facts, and outright lies of "alternative facts" happening in America, it's worth remembering that America is not alone in worrying governmental manipulations - in fact, they seem to be running behind some countries.
Watching as a government in the middle of Europe grips routes of information, and then turns its eyes towards a museum it wants to re-purpose for national propaganda, is genuinely beyond worrying. Especially when it is happening in Poland, a country all too familiar with what happens when nationalism is misused.
This teacher was amazing.
He had read the educational visits advice.
He had already set the kids up to follow it.
He had equipped all of the kids with a clipboard, pencil and paper, so he could set them quick little tasks to keep them occupied if they started to get bored in the museum.
"I think I love you" was actually said to him, with ensuing explanation about how he'd exceeded usual expectations.
Sometimes we get randomly contacted by event organisers with insane ideas for using our museum.
Or people offering their services as entertainers or contractors for events held at the venue.
Usually they are very out of keeping with what we want to offer anyone visiting us.
It's not often we get an email which is unsolicited, poor English, but so tempting to propose to the managers (while keeping a straight face)
I think our products can help your business to be better.Dinoosaur costume is always our star product.Its carve length is 4.2m and very vivid and realistic.You can image when a real dinsoaur appear our real life... it must be popular among people.
I think the staff would look great in 4.2 m long dinosaur costumes.
I REALLY hope this is a legitimate TFL sign.
Fist spotted and posted by https://www.facebook.com/mymuseumlife/
"It's NOT a two tripods stood next to a Christmas tree in a cabinet. It's a quick sketch of what a new display could look like, with a stick man and woman stood next to it for reference. I admit, he does look like he has three legs, and that triangular...
No. Fine! If you think this looks like two tripods stood next to a Christmas tree in a cabinet. Our next display is solved. You can install that for the next exhibition."
To be fair, what was drawn to illustrate the point being made about exhibition design did look like two tripods stood next to a cabinet with a Christmas tree in it.
It was all in good humour , and taken as such!
Webcomic and occasional blog about the heritage sector.
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