Next Friday is scheduled to be my last day at the museum. And, not coincidentally, in museum work. After my boss told me a few months ago that my contract was not going to be renewed, I did a lot of soul searching. I’ve been working in trying to work in museums for more than 10 years. Every career move I have made was with the goal of securing a stable, long-term position in a museum, but no matter how hard I’ve tried to make this career path work for me, it just hasn’t. I stumbled on the … [Read more...] about Now What?
Museums strive to influence culture, to argue that they are a nexus, the ground zero of things like civic engagement, social responsibility, and visual learning. Ha! That is such bullshit. An example: the web. Museums are constantly looking at emerging technologies as in, How do we get in on that? Museums say “What’s with this Twitter thing? What is the need for social networking?” rather than sitting around thinking proactively about how to put these tools to use -- its all retroactive. It’s … [Read more...] about The Trend-Followers
The other shoe dropped. Today my boss presented to myself and the president of the board her plan for her maternity leave. She’s taking her leave starting now, even though the baby’s not due for another two weeks. And then after her six weeks off, she’s returning to work. Via telecommute. From home. Part time. So I’m going to continue to be expected to handle all on-site concerns and duties. For six months after her maternity “leave” ends. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? But something interesting … [Read more...] about An Unlikely Ally
My inquiry into the museum’s past helped me understand where the museum was and where I think it should be. Over the past couple of days, that distance has grown exponentially as I mentally list all of the steps that have to take place on my end to make that happen. Museum exhibits and educational programs are the public face of the institution. They are, in effect, the museum’s identity. The most any average visitor interacts with a museum is typically a visit to the website and a brief tour … [Read more...] about How do we Get There?
I already have two immediate projects on my plate at my new job. One is that in a couple of months, the museum will start major building improvements. The museum is installing better climate control and compact shelving in collections storage, where all of the artifacts are stored. As a result, I will be in charge of managing and coordinating the move of all collections. We have to clear everything out of collections storage before construction and renovation can begin, and then move everything … [Read more...] about Legal Mumbo Jumbo
Before the Thanksgiving holiday, we had a staff meeting about the fallout from Twitwit’s firing. No juicy details, but this is going to be major. Until the museum hires a new education director, I am to take over that position. All duties, responsibilities, and tasks of the education department. On top of my regular job. Which is the job of about 6 people. I’m the curator, but I’m also the registrar, collections manager, the exhibit developer, the volunteer coordinator, and the … [Read more...] about Work. Sigh.
Today was the museum’s first special event that I had to work. Special event is code for fundraiser, by the way. And also “special” in that, ahem, special sense. My sole responsibility was to pull together a mini-exhibit. Just an exhibit case or two with some things that Twitwit had arranged to borrow for the event. Except it was like pulling teeth with her. I couldn’t get a list of what objects were coming, any photos of the loaned items, forms to document the loans, what the objects’ … [Read more...] about Did Twitwit Set me Up?
I have a lot on my plate at my new job already. Working at a local history museum on a very small staff, I have several job duties, one of which is managing, researching, and creating exhibits. This is the most challenging, but also the most exciting for me. The museum has two exhibits. The first is a permanent exhibit whose purpose is to orient visitors to the overall history of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. The second is a space for changing exhibits that examine one aspect of local … [Read more...] about The Path Ahead