Categories
Museums

Museums and the Future

In a recent opinion piece in the NY Times, Museums Need to Step Into the Future, Darren Walker calls for museums to embrace a new and more diverse society, to relinquish their role as “guardians of a fading social and demographic order.” Instead, he believes, “museums have the responsibility to hold a mirror up to […]

Categories
Exhibitions

Astronomy and Printing

The Printing Museum in Tokyo has what looks to be an amazing temporary exhibit right now on astronomy and print, aptly named “Astronomy and Printing. In search of new world vision.”[1] The exhibit brings together nearly 100 printed objects stretching from the 1450s to the 1870s.[2] In addition to showing an impressive range of items, […]

Categories
History

Astrolabes or Mariner’s Astrolabe—A Primer

Celebrations are afoot in Ontario celebrating 400 years of Francophone presence in the region. An important part of those celebrations is Samuel de Champlain’s exploration of Ontario and his early encounter with First Nations cultures. Simcoe.com has a short post on an exhibit that includes one of Champlain’s navigational instruments: “Historic astrolabe on display in […]

Categories
Teaching

Field Trip to The Chemical Heritage Foundation

Each time I teach Collecting Nature & Displaying Authority we take three field trips to local museums. Our first outing took us to the ‎Chemical Heritage Foundation. Megan, one of the Visitor Services Assistants, led us around on an informative tour and engaging tour of the permanent exhibition, Making Modernity. The students were pensive and […]

Categories
Museums

Video Game Museums Abound, and Falter

The BBC’s coverage of the Museum *of Soviet* Arcade Machines has been attracting considerable attention recently. The Museum *of Soviet* Arcade Machines joins a number of other video game museums (most of which seem to be struggling to survive), including: The International Arcade Museum—which claims to be the world’s largest. The American Classic Arcade Museum. […]

Categories
Collections

Corporate, Personal, and Neon Museums

For more than 500 years people, governments, churches, and other institutions have used their collections of things to assert, display, and establish their own authority and standing. Arranged in cabinets of curiosity, cabinets of wonder, Kunstkammern, Wunderkammern, or museums, the artifacts in such collections often reflect a logic of display idiosyncratic to the collector’s own […]

Categories
Collections

From Trash Collecting to Collection of Trash

Another article in the NY Times raises questions about the nature of features of a museum. This time, a NYC sanitation worker, Nelson Molina, has spent the last 20 years collecting things that other people have thrown away. His collection now includes around 1000 pieces of art that he has arranged in the second floor […]

Categories
Collections

Another NY Times Article on Museums

The NY Times is once again covering museums. The latest article, “In Texas Tradition, Museums That Enshrine the Quirky,” underscores how any collection of things can be displayed and called a museum. Apparently, collectors in Texas take seriously the American Association of Museums’ criteria that to be a museum it must make a “unique contribution […]

Categories
Collections

Collecting Everyday Objects

Related the article in the Smithsonian Magazine I discussed in Collecting Salt Shakers … is this article in the NY Times: “A Family History, Liberally Peppered. In this case, another quotidian table utensil, the lowly pepper mill, has been extracted from the world of utility and elevated to an objet d’art. For the family, collecting […]

Categories
Collections

Collecting Salt Shakers …

An article in the Smithsonian reports on an enormous collection of salt and pepper shakers: “Would You Like Some Salt and Pepper? How About 80,000 Shakers’ Worth?.” This collection, despite receiving the imprimatur of the Smithsonian, is no better or worse than Harley Spiller’s collection of 10,000 Chinese takeout menus: Inspector Collector: Chinese Menus. In […]