When You Work At A Museum is a website dedicated, like here, to this folks who know the joys, pains and mixed bag of working for art galleries, museums etc, and they have sort of accidentally created a monster.
Having shared a video created by a museum, based on Farrell William's Happy video, they got a few more videos sent to them, and joked about a dance off. Then it got serious, and museums across the globe got in touch to ask "we've not made one yet, but would like to..."
Cue over 30 venues now submitting their dance off contenders to the ring, and a series of semi finals and finals where you get to vote. Find out more here. You can now vote on the second two contenders.
Do, please keep an eye on this over the next few weeks, as it looks to be crazed and just enjoyable.
My vote yesterday went to the Hamilton Museum of Steam of Technology, for bravely picking a slightly obscure song, rewriting the whole thing especially for their venue, singing it themselves, explaining science in their video, and holding what looks like the strangest rave ever. (Even though the other video had Asian Harry Potter cuddling a human skull in a library...)
So I've heard some quiet outrage about the 9/11 Memorial and Museum having a gift shop, and my reaction is a positive one, which leaves me feeling in a strange place.
You can see some of their store items here www.911memorial.org/catalog These are what I've based my reflections on, so there may be items in the physical store at odds with these, please do let me know if you;re aware of anything else.
I went to a Titanic exhibition at the MOSI a good few years back, and was horribly jarred stepping from the room listing all the names of the dead, through to the gift shop. The issue there was in the main part going from a somber, well presented, touching area, directly into a brightly lit, brightly coloured, overly commercially aware space. There was also issue though with some rather odd choices of merchandise, such as the iceberg ice tray. Nice.
The Fourth and final of a few cartoons relating to the same art exhibition - where beautiful yet delicate pieces of vellum were displayed in the open on plinths, secured by pins. First cartoon here. Second cartoon here. Third cartoon here.
The artist insisted that the pieces not be boxed up or roped off, which may have worked well in a dedicated arts venue, but in a mixed heritage site/local museum/visitor attraction it just attracted the wrong kind of attention.
After many incidents where members of the public had touched, poked or outright picked up the pinned down artwork, a very serious conversation was held with the artist. The artist offered to come and make good any damage which took place during the period of the display. But would charge us for that service, which could be understandable, as it is their working time. As a venue with limited resources, the balance of not enough staff to man the room full time, refusal to allow us to restrict access, and fee to fix damage was a troublesome issue to manage.
I was very thankful to not be our boss during these negotiations.
I awoke this morning to Radio 4 "...off the north coast of Haiti...underwater archaeology...one of the most important discoveries in recent years... More in depth report later"
And I thought, "My gods, they have replaced football with archaeology, as we joked about yesterday..."
Don't know the joke? Well here's what the world would be like if we had avid archaeology fans, not football fans.
Firstly, imagine every time within a day that football is mentioned by someone else. Secondly, replace it with something that you don't want to hear about every day. Say... Archaeology. Then, think about how an average day would pan out.
So, you awaken to the clock radio. It's 7AM. Just as you awaken, it's time for the news and archaeology already. Not news and other historical investigations, like library restorations or museum openings (unless there's another event happening), but just the news and archaelogy. Malaysian plane is still missing. Pistorius is still on trial. New dig announced in Giza. Ancient Mayan temple discovered. Exciting stuff.
I have just had an email from a different area of our business asking if they can borrow something very important, expensive and delicate, without their really understanding how we use that item (It's in a working collection used on site), and why I can't just decide to loan it off site for the day (because I would be loaning out an item essentially already on loan to us... because it sets a precedent... because of loss/damage/handling...).
They would be very grateful, and would "definitely arrange for some beer tokens to come your way in return"
This could be counted as offering a bribe/influencing in a rather bad way, were it reported in those terms.
I have never been vaguely bribed before.
And that is a pretty sucky bribe.
I have an interesting task, how does one limit the reflections on glass and perspex displays when using a non-reflective material isn't an option?
Thus far I have:
Diffuse light sources.
Angle light sources (both internally and externally)
Use info screens or hanging banners to block/diffuse ceiling lights/other conflicting sources.
Possibly try applying a non-reflective film...
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