13. Museums at a Crossroads with Rainey Tisdale

Curator Rainey Tisdale sees two possible futures for museums: they play a more interdisciplinary role for their audiences or keep going down the same path they're on, becoming less and less relevant each year.

Why should it be the job of the museum to enter the domain of other traditional institutions? And how can museums engage the public in new ways? 

By bringing together brain, body and spirit.

Notes:

- City Stories
- @raineytisdale

12. Dead Bodies in Museums Part 2

 Lenin's mausoleum, Moscow. CC by  Veni

Lenin's mausoleum, Moscow. CC by Veni

The American Association of Museums (AAM) has this to say about human remains in its code of ethics: “The unique and special nature of human remains and funerary and sacred objects is recognized as the basis of all decisions concerning such collections collections-related activities promote the public good rather than individual financial gain.” When AAM uses the word “special,” it means that every instance of a dead body is special, not a special body from a special person. What is different about displaying the everyman?

In the second half of this two part series about dead bodies, we look at how cultures view their own dead from museums to mausoleums. We explore the Body Worlds exhibits, which bring visitors face-to-face with dozens of dead bodies, all identifying markers removed. We also discuss a landfill in Staten Island, where much of the sorting of museum artifacts and human remains from rubble took place after the September 11 attacks. 

NOTES: 

Give Me My Father's Body: The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo

Regarding the Dead: Human Remains in the British Museum - The British Museum creates guidelines for displaying dead bodies. 

Code of Ethics for Museums - AAM

11. Dead Bodies in Museums Part 1

 A rendering of Minik in the  New York World

A rendering of Minik in the New York World

When Robert Peary brought six Inuits from Greenland back from his Arctic expedition, they landed in the care of the American Museum of Natural History. Among these people were an eight year old boy named Minik and his father Qisuk.

After Qisuk became ill and died, the museum staged a fake burial and put his remains in the museum as artifacts. 

This is part one of a two-part series on dead bodies in museums.

NOTES: 

Give Me My Father's Body: The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo - The work on which most of this episode is based. 

Regarding the Dead: Human Remains in the British Museum - The British Museum creates guidelines for displaying dead bodies. 

American Experience . Minik, The Lost Eskimo | PBS

10. Framework For Engaging with Art

 Creative Commons Image courtesy of  lawrence's lenses  on  Flickr

Creative Commons Image courtesy of lawrence's lenses on Flickr

At an art museum, would you rather listen to a detailed guided tour or just enjoy the art without any interpretative support? Are you more comfortable visiting with a friend, or do you prefer being in a group of interested strangers?  

The Dallas Museum of Art has determined that visitors fall into one of four clusters, based on their preferred learning styles. While she was director of the museum, Bonnie Pitman applied the results of the survey to make the museum more engaging to all types of visitors.

In this episode, we take a look at the four clusters, analyze the study, and talk to Bonnie Pitman.

Notes: 

Ignite the Power of Art: Advancing Visitor Engagement in Museums (Dallas Museum of Art Publications) by Bonnie Pitman and Ellen Hirzy

Dallas Museum of Art: Home

Dallas Museum of Art on Twitter

Framework for Engaging with Art | Dallas Museum of Art

 

8. Calatrava and the Museum Icon

This week, we visit two museum works by architect Santiago Calatrava: the Prince Felipe Museum of Science in Valencia, Spain and the Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, USA. Both museums look nothing like the museum icon on maps and in mapping programs. Do these facades have anything to say about about what the museum icon might look like in 50 years? Do these buildings even make good museums?

Correction: This episode misidentifies the Milwaukee Art Museum as the Milwaukee Public Museum. 

Notes: 

Santiago Calatrava - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

City of Arts and Sciences - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Milwaukee Art Museum | Museum Info

6. Muzeiko

Until Muzeiko opened in Sofia, Bulgaria on October 1st 2015, there were no children’s museums in the Balkans. 

One of the reasons for the lack of children’s museums was a cultural attitude towards childhood education during communist times, according to Vessela Gercheva, the Programs and Exhibits Director for Muzeiko.

In this episode, Museum of Museums visits Muzeiko to find a shifting attitude towards children's education. 

Notes:

Muzeiko - Official Site

A Children’s Museum Comes to Bulgaria - NYT

5. StalinWorld

 Monika Bernotas and her family interact with statues of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin that were previously located in the cities of Lithuania at Grutas park.

Monika Bernotas and her family interact with statues of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin that were previously located in the cities of Lithuania at Grutas park.

Go to the central square of any Soviet influenced country like Lithuania, and you will find empty pedestals.

The pedestals used hold monuments to Soviet leaders. Where there once were statues of Lenin and Stalin, you now find overgrown bushes and pop-up cell phone stores. 

Where are the statues now? In Lithuania, they are in a pseudo-theme park called Grūtas Park or, unofficially, Stalin World.

With special guest Monika Bernotas.

Notes and Links: 

Grutas Park and the Fate of Soviet Statuary in Lithuania

Grūtas Park - Wikipedia

Music composed by Adam Emanon from his album for rest (2008). Used under a Creative Commons licence. 

 

4. Bison Hunt on Horseback

Built in 1966, the Bison Hunt on Horseback diorama at the Milwaukee Public Museum is a beautiful throwback to an older style of exhibit, without projectors or screens.

This week, Dr. Ellen Censky, Senior Vice President and Academic Dean at the Milwaukee Public Museum, talks about the diorama and modern exhibit design.

3. Authority

As you empty your pockets, how you lay their contents on the table reflects how you value their differences and interpret their functions. 

When we go into a museum, we trust that objects are laid out across the table with some expertise. Who gets to decide where the objects go? Should visitors ever have that authority?

This week, special guest Seb Chan, Director of Digital & Emerging Technologies at Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, joins Ian to talk about museum authority against the backdrop of the web.