Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Carol Krukoff and the Types of Museums

For my Social Theory class we were supposed to see a social worker speak and write about it in some form. Unfortunately, all of the interesting talks available to me this semester were are on class dates ARGH! So when I heard the museum educator Carol Krukoff would be lecturing to my Museum Education class I decided to see if I could make her work as my social theorist. After all, educators of any kind are constantly reassessing the environment around them and interpreting things about the world to their students or visitors.

When Carol walked in I felt humbled, here was this woman who had to be at least 75 years old still very much involved with the museum education community. Carol is a Chicago legend. She began her work at the Chicago History Museum, then worked in the education department at the Naper Settlement (a landmark museum) and now is the Director of Education at the Oriental Institute of Chicago (at University of Chicago). In addition, she is a grant reader for IMLS (museum and library services) and allocates thousands of dollars a year to those trying to do something profound in the museum community. Needless to say, Carol knew a lot about museum governance which was the topic she would be speaking on in class.

She explained that there were four main types of museums: private/non-for-profit, public museum, university museum, and public university museum. Each have a different hierarchy. For example, the University museum educator reports to the Board of Trustees at the University, the President of the University, the Provost, the Dean of the Department, the Department Chair, and then finally the director of the museum. Carol talked about how fast or slow changes can be made depending on how many people have to approve it and how having so many people to go through can affect the culture of the museum. Meaning, how collaboratively the educators, curators and other staff work together. She also discussed how sometimes having so many people to go through can be a good thing. A museum needs layers as a checks and balances system to make sure that there is not just change for change sake.

Carol also talked about the stability of the different kinds of museums within the economic crisis. As a class, we decided that public art museums are in the best position because they will always be funded by the government. While some of the staff jobs might be cut like other museums, it is unlikely that the museum will be shut down because they are a sign of a flourishing society. The government does not want our country to seem poor even though it might be and they definitely do not want it to be seen as an under-cultured country. This leads to a larger question of the function of museums in our American society. It is place for groups to gather, it is a place for the education of society, it is where priceless pieces are held and displayed. A museum is a monument in our cities and shows that we are still a great world power. Anyways, I'm getting a little off track but I think Carol's main point was not only how museums function internally, but also how they become symbols for our community and how they interact with groups within these communities.

I was so fortunate to meet someone who does exactly what I want to do. Our class had a great discussion about the roles of educators in museums and our obligations. To see the work Carol Krukoff has been doing at her museum, visit the Oriental Institute of Chicago on the University of Chicago campus or visit their website .

Museum 2.0 Post

Museum 2.0, a blog I heard about through our Cyberpedagogy class recently had an interesting post about  redesigning a museum website. I thought this was VERY relevant to what we had been learning in class about how websites can support or hinder museums.

Museum Website Redesign

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Internship Countdown Week 3

This week it was all about getting ready for Treasures and Tea which will be happening on the 11th of December. Mainly today I edited the docent scripts and made texture boxes that will be used for the Mukenga Mask site. In teen lab tonight, we got to critique the student's digital sketchbooks. Their digital sketchbooks are i movies that have a theme about what they have seen and experienced in the museum. I was PLEASENTLY surprised. Not only were their movies well thought out and personal, they did a great job at critiquing each other's work as well. Great job teens!

A Day in the Life

Ricki, Heather and I's video that we made for Cyberpedagogy. It's awesome!

A Day in the Life

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My boyfriend's sister Allison Gregory made this beautiful cow as a part of a collective effort hosted by the city of Austin. Her work raised over 100,000 dollars. I'm so proud of her! Check out an article about her painted cow below:

Allison's Cow

Internship Week 10 and 11

So for the past two weeks it has been all about installation!!!! Taking pictures out of frames, drilling screws, measuring... oh the measuring. Measuring walls, measuring art, measuring frames, measuring the amount of pain in my feet from standing all day. But overall it was a really good experience. It is VERY useful to know how to install. In all, we installed the Steve Jenkins show, the artwork for the Ryan Education Center, and began to install the game and pictures I created for the Family Room.

Today I installed art in the Educator Resource center and in the hall of the Ryan Education Center. The art was given to us by an SAIC student named Snow Fu. Her family runs an art center in a small/poverty stricken area of China. They sent work done in oil pastel, paint, and marker. They are beautiful, colorful depictions of life in their village. Snow's parents also sent along lesson plans of the work that are available to check out in the Educator Resource Center. Go check out the work!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

VSA Access Gallery

So, as you know I've been researching for the new touch gallery at the Art Institute. I've been trying to research different types of tactile art as well as searching for artists to commission to make these pieces. Today I found a video of the VSA gallery in Denver. It exhibits a bunch of different works by artist that are tactile. The visitors have so much fun! Look below:


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Diwali Festival at the Art Institute- Internship Week 9

Last Saturday I helped out at the Diwali Festival at the Art Institute. Diwali is a festival of lights where vibrant colors and lights are used in different customs to keep away evil. I worked in the rangoli room where traditionally, families create a colorful patterns out of flour and water around a ria (the traditional clay lamp used in the festival. We used ripped pieces of paper instead of flour. Less of a mess! The best part about the day was hearing Indian families talk about the traditions and stories they tell in their households.
Our collaborative rangoli. Each family would come in and add their own design.
This little boy represented a mountain and a sky as part of a story about Krishna who sheltered an Indian community from a storm by lifting a mounting raising it over the people.
This is the dia light symbol that traditionally goes in the middle of the rangoli. Families light the dias for Diwali.
A beautiful rainbow. The little girl worked so hard!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Light Show

Wish I lived at this house... Light Show

Internship Week 8

This week at my internship I helped M gear up for her two exhibits opening this Fall. I edited all of her labels and opening paragraph for the Steve Jenkins exhibit. The shocking part was that I actually found an error in the labels concerning the medium used. Good thing I caught that! After I brushed up on my editing skills, I continued to research institutes that have touch galleries as well as found some foundations that deal with the blind population. I'm hoping to consult with the foundations about what visitors with visual impairments WANT in a museum experience. Also, I'm hoping that the foundations can give The Art Institute insight into how to make the touch gallery more innovative and new. As M said to me today while I was researching, " when we opened the touch gallery ten years ago, we were the museum that everyone was copying to start their touch galleries. NOW, we're outdated and we need to look into other institutions programs to make us current." Hopefully, I can help the education department accomplish this!

MOMA's Disability Programs

This week Julie guided us through the MOMA website. They have one of the leading accessibility programs for those with developmental disabilities. MOMA Accessibility

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Internship Week 7

Today was really all about finalizing my scripts for the 2011 Holiday Treasures and Tea at the Art Institute. In treasures and tea, the attendees (young children and parents) will visit four famous works in the gallery. Afterwards, they will be lead to a tea party with live music and more art activities! My job, was to write the scripts for what the docents will say at each piece of artwork. It was a HUGE challenge to write simple lingo that the kiddos will understand. For example, it's hard to use the word brushstroke because will kids know what brushstroke means? Learning how to take complicated language about art and relaying it to kids in a simple manner is not an easy task.

After going through three revisions of the scripts, it was finally ready. I'm so proud! I also wrote some activities for the guide book which will be given out in the beginning of treasures and tea.

A new project I started on today is researching for the new touch gallery that will be going up at the Art Institute. M has asked me to find museums that have been leading innovators in the field of accessibility. This is a great project for me since this is the kind of research I need to be doing for my thesis on developmental disability services in museums. Excited to be involved in the touch gallery process since I think it is an important for the Art Institute to be seen as a leader in the field of accessibility to disabled visitors.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The New Bill Cunnigham

Can't believe I'm just starting to catch on to this great street fashion blogger!

Click Here

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Internship Week 6

Today at work I learned some basic Adobe Photoshop tools. I came up earlier in the semester with the idea to create magnet animals for the family room related to the Steve Jenkins exhibition. We are meeting with graphics tomorrow to go over all the animals we want to use so they have to be the exact size and direction that we want them for the magnetic game.

Therefore today, I scanned the animals to photoshop, learned to resize, rotate and flip the animals. I also learned how to make them different colors. Yippee!! The main difficulty I had was learning how to delete an object within the picture. For example, I have an image of a parrot on a branch; and I NEED to get rid of the branch. I meticulously erased the branch with a small eraser. My hands had to be steady or else oops! there goes a foot... But by the end of the process I felt comfortable using photoshop and I'm glad I can say I'm an old pro. Well, at least at the lasso tool and the eraser. Hey, it's a start.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Make Space Blog

I stumbled upon this blog of a local artist. She interviews artists, records their spaces, and discusses issues involving the art community today. Check it out!

make space blog

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Internship Week 5

We finally got the work for the Steve Jenkins show! On Tuesday, I was able to go down with M and look at the work in THE vault. I was first given a red robe that reminded me of the ones I see art restorers/curators wear in movies. I was told that we would be doing condition reports; I would write and M would be the one handling the work. After we got on our robes, M carefully unpacked the the work. It was beautiful!!! Steve Jenkins must photograph his works for his books so they loose the detail of their texture and color. There were vivid blues, paper layered to make eyes pop out at you, and the most wonderful variations of handmade paper. My favorite cut paper piece was the mommy and baby anteater. They look so sweet and the mix of the peach and grey colors make it a peaceful composition. After tediously looking at each work and marking their scratches, folds, soil and taking down their measurements, we delicately placed them in a cubby. I am going in early on Thursday to help her move to a conservation room where we will have help matting and framing the pieces. It was exciting getting to see the ins and outs of the shipping process in a large museum. I can't wait to get the Steve Jenkins show up and running!

DMA Link

Oops! Forgot to include the link for the Dallas Museum of Art access program.

Click Here

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Access Programs in Museums

As some of you know, I want to write my thesis on disability services in museums. The Dallas Museum of Art has some great programs and even one for the autistic population which is great considering that's the population I hope to work with for my thesis!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Internship Week Four

Last week I posed the idea to my boss, let's start calling her M, that we should leave the magnet board in the family room and use the space for kids to create their own hybrid animals. My boss LOVED the idea and today my project was to choose the animals for the magnets. I love the trust that the staff has with the interns but it also makes me worried that the outcome won't be exactly what M wanted. However, I believe that having this freedom makes me only work harder and also gives me a sense of independence so that I will be ready to start my career after getting my Master's.

I chose these beautiful illustrated animals from a clip art book. The animals had to relate to the new Steve Jenkins exhibit (see older posts) but also had to connect with animal pieces in the African and Indian collections. All in all, I found about 10 pieces that I thought would make fun magnets. After some frustration with the enlarger on the copier, I printed out the animals and cute them in half or in thirds. I had a great time afterwards making my own "new" animal by putting different pieces together. Can't wait to show M tomorrow!

Lastly, M is meeting with the Director tomorrow to talk about re-installing the touch gallery. This is something I REALLY want to be involved in because I want to write my thesis on disability services in museums. We'll see if I'll get a change to be a part of the gallery...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bill Cunningham New York

Just watched an amazing documentary on the notable photographer Bill Cunningham. A great film for anyone who loves the art of fashion, or if you enjoy learning about interesting characters. Check it out! Now available on Netflix.http://www.zeitgeistfilms.com/billcunninghamnewyork/

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Internship Week 3

My internship is going really well. I've been brave enough to make suggestions and even better, my boss actually uses my suggestions! For example, today we visually put together a model of the Steve Jenkins show that's coming up in November. Since there were too many pieces, I picked five that we could possibly put in the family room instead of the gallery. I also suggested that we keep the magnet wall in the room and change the magnets to animals that you can put together to make your own species.

My boss thought it was a great idea and we are now implementing it for the upcoming show! I've realized with this internship that it is what you make of it. I might now be able to create a final thesis project this semester, but I can create sub-projects that will help me develop research for me thesis.

Feeling good about where this semester is taking me!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ways of Seeing

Just read a great book for my Social Theory class: Ways of Seeing by John Berger. Read it! Also if you're new to town, I just found an awesome Lakeview bookstore. I love this place... http://www.unabridgedbookstore.com/

Monday, September 12, 2011

Internship Struggles

After my second day at my internship, I'm struggling to find out what project I can create in the next four months. You see, every intern is supposed to come up with some big proposal/project/event that has to do with their interests. Sure I have interests... I pretty much know already what I want to do with my thesis. But learning how to take my interest and make it into a project by December is quite overwhelming.

While I do not know the exact format or subject of my thesis yet, I do know I want to research art museum education departments and the disability services they offer. Specifically, I want to create a program or a curriculum for children with Autism. To take this broad idea, and make it into something organized by the end of the semester seems impossible. As a second year suggested, perhaps I should simply make a document (a curriculum) that the museum could later use as a model. This sounds like an achievable fete. But... will anyone really ever use it or will I feel let down that I didn't reach my full potential in my time at the museum?

After some deep breaths I realized something, I have a whole two years to conduct research and do more fieldwork for my thesis. I think this semester can be more of a learning semester. Learning how the education department works, learning what programs they already have in place, and perhaps even running a family program one Saturday. I think learning as much as I can about how an education department works at a large museum is the first step to figuring out how I can help them accommodate visitors with disabilities in a more effective manner.

Hopefully over the next couple of weeks my goal for this internship will become more clear. My boss did mention that since I am in Cyberpedagogy, perhaps I could create a website that displays ARTIC visitor's artwork. Perhaps... I think I'm a couple of classes away from mastering wix.com. :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Steve Jenkins at the Ryan Education Center

In November, illustrator and author Steve Jenkins will be coming to the gallery in the Ryan Education Center. I'm lucky enough to get to help curate and install the show. Jenkins makes beautiful animals out of cut-paper and writes interesting facts about the creatures. Check out his website if you want to learn more!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day at the Art Institute

I have a FABULOUS internship this semester as a programs assistant in the education department. Mainly I'm working with Interpretive Exhibits and Family Programs. I had no idea what to expect since I've only ever worked in a small museum where the education department has no more than three people.

The first thing I did was tag along with an SAIC MAT group that was taking a tour of the teacher resource center. I had no idea you can not only create your own collections online, but you can find any resource they have in the library on their website. All you have to do is come to the teacher resource center once, register, and then you can use it from anywhere! The collection consist of lesson plans, books from the museum, and art dvds. More info is on www.artic.edu under the education > teacher section.

I then did A LOT of research on the illustrator and author being featured in the upcoming Ryan Education Center exhibit. His name is Steven Jenkins and he creates these beautiful animals by cutting unique paper from all around the world and putting it together to make life-like but lyrical animals. In his books, he reveals interesting facts about animals: did you know the giant squid is the longest sea or land creature in the world?? My boss, Mary, told me I'd be helping her matte, frame, and hang the show as well as write the lease agreement. So exciting!

Lastly for the day, I got to take a tour of all the offices including the vault... dumm duum duummm. The entire place is like an underground village with different passages and heavy security. I felt incredibly special walking through that space.

I work again tomorrow and I'm looking forward to my next assignment. PROGRAMS ASSISTANT REPORTING FOR DUTY.

Till next time,


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Website for Cyberpedagogy Class

So I had originally showed the Chicago Tribune website as my go-to blog in class. However, this one is SO much more "artsty"and interesting. Check it out: