A Latte of Museum Fun in Seattle

Written by Justine Rothbart

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With our lattes and umbrellas in hand, museum professionals arrived last week in the city of Seattle. We came prepared to the 2014 American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo. This year’s AAM Annual Meeting took place on May 18 – 21 and covered the theme “The Innovation Edge.” The sessions spanned a wide range of subjects, from “Preserving Collections in a Digital World” to “S#!t I Wish They Taught in Grad School.” Attending this conference with a fellow CHIM Cohort member, Kelsey Conway, made us both reflect on the relationship between our current studies and the museum world. As we navigated this conference, we became profoundly aware how important the role of library and information professionals are to museums.

Justine Rothbart (Me) and Kelsey Conway at the 2014 American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA

Justine Rothbart (Me) and Kelsey Conway at the 2014 American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA

At this conference, there were curators, education specialists, graduate students, collection managers, exhibit design specialists, historians, and archivists. Some had multiple titles and wore many different hats, while others just had one. With our varying titles, we had one thing in common: museums. Our connection to museums may be different, but we all understand the importance and significance of these cultural institutions. Author of The Devil in the White City and Keynote Speaker Erik Larson said, “I’m not a historian. I’m an animator of history.” Whatever the title is, each of our roles play a significant part in shaping the future of museums.

In the session “Innovations in Using Museum Collections for Learning,” Amy Bolton, from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, discussed their new interactive exhibit “Q?rius.” She discussed not only the aspects of creating a hands-on exhibit, but she also discussed the creation of their digital library. In the “Topics Library” users can click on a subject and find the relationship with the related objects, media, and resources all in one location. In the session “Preserving Collections in a Digital World,” Leah Niederstadt from the Beard and Weil Art Galleries at Wheaton College discussed a future project where Google Earth will be used to visually track the provenance of the objects in the collection. These are just a few examples from the conference that tie into our current Library and Information Science studies.

The convergence of libraries, archives, and museums (LAM) was prominent throughout this conference. During our first semester in the Spring of 2013 at Catholic University we discussed LAM convergence in our class History and Theory of Cultural Heritage Institutions with Prof. Stokes. In our class we were lucky enough to have Ford Bell, the President of the American Alliance of Museums, as a guest speaker. Seeing Ford Bell address the hundreds of conference attendees last week was very different to when he spoke to our CHIM cohort in our small classroom. But it just reemphasized the important connection with library and information science and museums.

As a graduate student, attending a conference, like this one, is a great way to see how our studies are implemented through real-life examples. It’s also a great way to meet new people and meet up with old friends. Whether it’s in a session or at the top of the Space Needle, this conference was all about the making new connections with people who share the same passion (and having fun at the same time!).

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Click here for more information about the American Alliance of Museums.

 

Bitcoin: how do we display the intangible?

A really fascinating concept from a curatorial perspective: neo/crypto-numismatics and how to curate objects that are, by their very definition, intangible. As we move ever forward towards an increasingly digital landscape, how do we develop curatorial methodology and foundations for something with no true instantiation?

British Museum blog

bitcoin miner Benjamin Alsop, curator, British Museum

The Citi Money Gallery charts over four millennia’s worth of monetary history. The Department of Coins and Medals cares for over one million objects in the Museum’s collection and like any museum with a growing collection, the most pressing questions are what should we collect and where should we put it all? Yet a recent concern for me as the curator of the Citi Money Gallery is not which objects should I select from our vast collection for a new display, but whether we had any suitable objects at all. This may sound like the murmurings of an eccentric curator, but let me explain myself.

Bitcoin token, designed by Mike Caldwell (CM 2012,4040.4) Bitcoin token, designed by Mike Caldwell (CM 2012,4040.4)

If the gallery is to be a record of the changing nature and form of money through the ages, then it is just as important to reflect the modern world as it…

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The Semantic Web… With Penguins

Thanks to “Media Theory for the Average Penguin” by caitlinelizabethmullen, here’s a neat little explanation of the Semantic Web, complete with penguin illustrations. This post comes to our attention thanks to Daniel Pett of the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the British Museum. Read; enjoy; pass along.

Web 3.0 / The Semantic Web.

via Web 3.0 / The Semantic Web.