44. Vassil Makarinov Presents Technology and History at the Bulgarian Polytechnical Museum

VASSIL MAKARINOV PRESENTS TECHNOLOGY AND HISTORY AT THE BULGARIAN POLYTECHNICAL MUSEUM.jpg

The Bulgarian National Polytechnical Museum is a science museum that also tells the story of Bulgarian and world history. The building itself once housed a museum of a Bulgarian communist leader, and the technical artifacts on display, from simple machines to Bulgarian-made computers from the 1980s present both scientific concepts and the political contexts in which they were developed.

In this episode, curator Vassil Macaranov describes how the increasing role of technology in our lives underscores the importance of presenting scientific and technological artifacts with their historical contexts.

This episode was recorded at the Bulgarian National Polytechnical Museum in Sofia Bulgaria on June 8th, 2018. 

Guest: Vassil Makarinov

Topics Discussed:
00:00: Intro
00:15: Vassil Makarinov, Curator
00:28: Early Childhood Museums
01:09: Bulgarian National Polytechnical Museum
01:50: A Brief History of Bulgaria
05:23: Early Bulgarian Computers
07:15: Educating Bulgarian Children
10:09: Technology Within Historical Contexts
10:52: Outro - Made possible by listeners like you. Join Club Archipelago today.

43. Blake Bradford Aims To Increase Number of Black Museum Professionals with Lincoln University Program

Bradford.jpg

In episode 36 of this podcast, Bill Bradberry, Chair of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Area Commission, described encountering the glaring lack of cultural diversity within and around the museum industry, particularly in leadership. He cited the new Museum Studies program at Lincoln University as an example of a program that addresses the problem directly.

Blake Bradford is the director of that Museum Studies Program, a partnership between Lincoln University and the Barnes Foundation. In this episode, Bradford describes ways to change museum institutions that already consider themselves successful. He also talks about museums as public-facing institutions, inviting his students to think critically about how truth is established through museums, and what surprises him about his students.

Guests:
Blake Bradford

Topics Discussed:
00:00: Intro
00:15: Blake Bradford
00:53: Museums Accountable to The Public
01:49: Convincing Museums to Do The Right Thing
02:24: Museum Studies Program at Lincoln University
03:20: “Safe” Diversity is Not Diversity
04:30: Critical Analysis Curriculum
07:10: Taking The Magic Out of Exhibit Production
08:36: Post-Museum Students
11:01: Outro

42. Freddi Williams Evans and Luther Gray Are Erecting Historic Markers on the Slave Trade in New Orleans

 Freddi Williams Evans and Luther Gray at the Transatlantic Slave Trade to Louisiana historic marker in New Orleans.

Freddi Williams Evans and Luther Gray at the Transatlantic Slave Trade to Louisiana historic marker in New Orleans.

Until a few weeks ago, one of the only places in downtown New Orleans acknowledging the city’s slave-trading past was a marker in Congo Square, erected in 1997. The New Orleans Committee to Erect Historic Markers on the Slave Trade has since put up two new markers, one on the transatlantic slave trade along the Moonwalk and another on the domestic slave trade at the intersection of Esplanade Avenue and Chartres Street. Author and historian Freddi Williams Evans and activist Luther Gray are the two original co-chairs of the committee.

In this episode, Evans and Gray describe New Orleans’s past as the center of the overlapping international and domestic slave trades. They also discuss their conservation efforts at Congo Square, the logistics of erecting the markers with a sankofa bird instead of a pelican at the top, and the Maafa ceremony, which will host the unveiling of these markers later this year.

This episode was recorded on May 10, 2018 in New Orleans. Committee members mentioned in this episode are Guy Hughes, Leon Waters, Ibrahima Seck, Erin Greenwald, Joshua Rothman, Joyce Miller, and Midlo Hall. Steve Prince designed the logo for the transatlantic marker.

Made possible by listeners like you. Join Club Archipelago today.

Guests:
Freddi Williams Evans
Luther Gray

Topics Discussed: 
00:00: Intro
00:14: The New Orleans Committee to Erect Historic Markers on the Slave Trade
00:35: Freddi Williams Evans and Luther Gray
01:13: Origins of the Committee
01:45: The History of Gatherings in Congo Square
03:30: The International Slave Trade and the Domestic Slave Trade in Louisiana
06:20: The Lack of Documentation of African Presence in New Orleans
07:00: The Preservation of Congo Square
08:02: The Logistics of Setting Up Markers
10:34: Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project
11:11: The Maafa Ceremony
12:43: Outro

41. 16,000 Years at the Meadowcroft Rockshelter with David Scofield

 The Meadowcroft Rockshelter near Avella, PA, USA

The Meadowcroft Rockshelter near Avella, PA, USA

As the oldest site of human habitation in North America, the Meadowcroft Rockshelter has a challenge: how to convey its mind-boggling timescale, spanning from prehistory to the 19th century? David Scofield, director of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, describes how the museum is designed to connect the big changes in how people lived through 16,000 years of history.

The Meadowcroft Rockshelter opens for its 50th season on May 5th, 2018. It is part of the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pennsylvania.

Made possible by listeners like you. Join Club Archipelago today.

Guest:
David Scofield

Topics Discussed
00:00: Intro
00:14: David Scofield, Director of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village
01:02: What Else Was Happening 16,000 Years Ago?
01:30: Discovery
04:20: Beringia
05:44: Expressing Large Timescales in Museums
08:55: Meadowcroft’s 50 Season
09:14: Outro

40. Conserving Digital Photos with Jenny Mathiasson and Kloe Rumsey

  The C Word: The Conservators' Podcast  is a podcast about conservation and conservators.

The C Word: The Conservators' Podcast is a podcast about conservation and conservators.

Jenny Mathiasson and Kloe Rumsey started The C Word: The Conservators’ Podcast to broadcast their friendly and professional discussions about conservation. Each episode features a different hot topic in the conservation world, and the podcast stands out for its hosts willingness to tackle complex topics.

In this episode, the hosts discuss whether photos are data or objects, the Digitized Photograph Project at the Rwandan Genocide Memorial Centre, and museums asking people to bring in their own objects. 

For new listeners, Mathiasson and Rumsey recommend starting with S01E01: Demographics.

Made possible by listeners like you. Join Club Archipelago today.

Guests:
Jenny Mathiasson
Kloe Rumsey

Topics Discussed: 
00:00: Intro
00:15: Jenny Mathiasson and Kloe Rumsey
00:45: The Origins of The C Word Podcast
01:45: Photos As Data Or Objects
04:25: Digitized Photograph Project at the Rwandan Genocide Memorial
06:03: Privacy and Data
08:10: Queer Britain 
09:00: Best C Word Podcast Episodes to Start With?
09:25: Outro

39. Hans Sloane and the Origins of the British Museum with James Delbourgo

  Montague House  on Great Russell Street in London, the inaugural building of the British Museum. 

Montague House on Great Russell Street in London, the inaugural building of the British Museum. 

Over the course of his long life, Hans Sloane collected tens of thousands of items which became the basis for what is today the British Museum. Funded in large part by his marriage into the enslaving plantocracy of Jamaica and the Atlantic slave trade, and aided by Britain’s rising colonial power and global reach, he assembled an encyclopedic collection of specimens and objects from all around the world.

James Delbourgo, professor of History of Science and Atlantic World at Rutgers University, is the author of Collecting the World: Hans Sloane and the Origins of the British Museum. In this episode, Delbourgo describes Sloane’s formative years in Jamaica, how his collection was an attempt to catalogue the wonders and intricacies of a divine creation, and how the British Museum, which opened in 1759, came into being as a result of the terms Sloane laid down in his will. Delbourgo also discusses how Sloane’s idea of universal public access to his collections remains radical to this day.

Guest:
James Delbourgo

Book:
Collecting the World: Hans Sloane and the Origins of the British Museum

Topics Discussed:
00:00: Intro
00:15: James Delbourgo
00:40: Hans Sloane
02:10: Sloane in Jamaica
02:58: Earliest Transcription of African Music in the Americas
04:21: Sloane in London
06:58: Universal Public Access at the British Museum
10:40: Admission Charges at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
11:27: Recommendation: Museums in Strange Places
12:00: Outro

38. Conservation in the 21st Century with Sanchita Balachandran

 Sanchita Balachandran. Photo Credit: James T. VanRensselaer

Sanchita Balachandran. Photo Credit: James T. VanRensselaer

Sanchita Balachandran, Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, hopes to see the field of conservation develop into more of a social process, rather than simply a technical one.

From her 2016 talk at the American Institute for Conservation’s Annual Meeting, to teaching her students how to interrogate an object in person, to her Untold Stories project, Balachandran has thought critically about the role of conservators. In this epsiode, Balachandran talks about her early formative experiences in the field of conservation and how whether or not someone’s history is worth preserving is a deeply political decision.

Made possible by listeners like you. Join Club Archipelago today.

Guest:
Sanchita Balachandran

Topcis Discussed:
00:00: Intro
00:14: Sanchita Balachandran
00:30: What Does a Conservator Do?
03:10: Early Formative Experiences
03:35: The Needs of Objects
05:35: Race, Diversity and Politics in Conservation: Our 21st Century Crisis
10:30: Objects vs. Data
13:03: Outro

37. The National Public Housing Museum with Robert J. Smith III

 Robert J. Smith III, the associate director of the National Public Housing Museum, in front of the museum’s future location at 1322 W Taylor St. in Chicago. 

Robert J. Smith III, the associate director of the National Public Housing Museum, in front of the museum’s future location at 1322 W Taylor St. in Chicago. 

It would have been much easier to build the National Public Housing Museum from scratch instead of retrofitting it in the last remaining building of the Jane Addams Homes, the first public housing development in Chicago. But doing so would have undermined one of the core principles of the museum: that place has power. 

Robert J. Smith III, the associate director of the National Public Housing Museum, describes the mission of the museum as preserving, promoting, and propelling housing as a human right. In this epsiode, he describes the history of the Jane Addams Homes, how national public policy connects to the lives of public housing residents, and some ongoing decisions about what the museum will look like when it opens next year. 

Guest:
Robert J. Smith III

Topics Discussed:
00:00: Intro
00:14: Robert J. Smith III
00:24: The Mission of the Museum
01:00: Preserving a Building of the Jane Addams Homes
02:18: The Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation
03:05: Deverra Beverly
04:41: Beyond Preservation
06:25: Docent-Guided Tours
07:00: Apartment Tours
9:50: Demand the Impossible
11:05: Housing as a Human Right

Made possible by listeners like you. Join Club Archipelago to support the show and get access to a premium audio feed that guides you further behind the scenes of museums. 

36. The Underground Railroad in Niagara Falls with Bill Bradberry

 Bill Bradberry, at the site of the future Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center in Niagara Falls, NY. Canada is in the background, across the river.

Bill Bradberry, at the site of the future Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center in Niagara Falls, NY. Canada is in the background, across the river.

Bill Bradberry, the President and Chairman of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Area Commission, thinks of the entire city of Niagara Falls, NY as an open crime scene from “the crime of holding people in bondage, and the man-made crime of trying to escape.” With Canada just across the Niagara river, the Commission conducts research on the Underground Railroad as it relates to Niagara Falls and the surrounding area — for some, the last terminus in the United States.

The Commission will open the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center on May 4th, 2018. Bradberry hopes that the center will show the full story, from black waiters at hotels helping enslaved people escape while serving their enslaves with duplicitous professionalism to massive brawls breaking out between abolitionists and bounty hunters.

In this episode, Bradberry talks about situating previously unknown stories into our understanding of the Underground Railroad, discovering the lack of non-white faces in the museum world he has recently entered, and his plan to change that.

Guest:
Bill Bradberry

Topics Discussed: 
00:00: Intro
00:15: Bill Bradberry
01:10: The Geography of Escape
02:05: The Cataract House Hotel
04:25: John Morrison
05:10: Historical Research
06:12: Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Opening
07:10: The Lack of Non-White Faces in the Museum World
11:11: Introducing Club Archipelago 

Made possible by listeners like YOU on Patreon

35. Cartoons from the Museum Floor with Attendants View

Attendants View is a blog of hand-drawn, single page cartoons that capture a slice of a museum attendant’s day. The comics show confused visitors, tourists asking the same questions over and over again, and museum board members flouting the rules.

The writer and illustrator behind Attendants View has been creating comics about her experiences in museums for the past seven years. About 60% of the comics are about something that has happened to her or around her personally, and the rest come from stories colleagues and others have told her. She wants anyone to feel comfortable sharing their experiences with her; for this and other reasons, she has chosen to remain anonymous for this interview.

By sharing experiences through the medium of comics, Attendants View hopes to demystify various museum jobs. In this episode, Attendants View talks about her creative process, the changes in her professional role, and voluntarism in museums. To read her excellent comics, visit the Attendants View blog here.

Special thanks to Attendants View  for taking the time for the interview. 

Guest:
Attendants View 

Topics Discussed:
00:00: Intro
00:15: Attendants View Description
00:48: Attendants View’s Anonymity
01:30: What is a Museum Attendant?
02:20: The Early Days
03:15: Powerful Stories
04:00: Changes During the Last 7 Years
05:15: Volunteer Positions
07:50: Attendants View’s Creative Routine
08:55: Sharing Your Job
09:42: Outro

34. Erotic Heritage Museum with Dr. Victoria Hartmann

 The Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada

The Las Vegas Erotic Heritage Museum is the largest erotic museum in the world. Sex scholar Dr. Victoria Hartmann has been the museum’s director since 2014, and her mission is to create a space for people to safely explore and engage the topic of human sexuality.

Dr. Hartmann thinks museums too often tell the visitor what to think. She would rather use visitors’ responses to the galleries as a starting point to further discussions.

At the Erotic Heritage Museum, there is a lot to react to: a statue of Donald Trump next to a galley of political, religious, and celebrity personalities connected to sex scandals; a huge collection of erotic artifacts from around the world; and a wall full of posters from the January 21st 2017 Las Vegas Women's March.

In this episode, Dr. Hartmann talks about the inherently political nature of sex, exhibit development with a diverse staff in positions of authority, and what visitors imagine when they hear the word museum.

This episode was recorded at the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada. Special thanks to Dr. Victoria Hartmann for taking the time for the interview.

Guests:
Dr. Victoria Hartmann

Topics Discussed:
00:00: Welcome to Museum Archipelago
00:15: The Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas
00:42: Dr. Victoria Hartmann
01:15: Wall of Shame
02:51: Educational Exhibits
04:00: Sex Comes in Many Flavors, So Do The Galleries
05:00: Exhibit Development with a Diverse Staff in Positions of Authority
06:25: What Visitors Imagine They Hear the Word Museum

33. Icelandic Museums with Hannah Hethmon

 Hannah Hethmon's Fulbright project is a podcast called  Museums in Strange Places .

Hannah Hethmon's Fulbright project is a podcast called Museums in Strange Places.

Iceland has many more museums per person than the UK and the US. The country is also in the middle of a massive tourism boom: there are several times more tourists than residents. Hannah Hethmon, an American museum professional and Fulbright Fellow living in Reykjavík, was interested in this abundance of museums and the nature of museum tourism in Iceland.

Her Fulbright project is the podcast Museums in Strange Places, which explores these and other Icelandic museum topics. In each episode, Hannah brings listeners through a different museum through the stories of the people who work there. 

In this episode, Hannah talks about what the tourist boom means for Icelandic museums, what makes museums on this island unique, and what is next for her podcast.

For new listeners, Hannah recommends starting with episode 3: A Writer’s Home.

Guest:
Hannah Hethmon

Topics Discussed: 
00:00: Intro
00:15: Hannah Hethmon & Museums in Strange Places
03:25: Tourist Boom in Iceland
05:40: Icelandic Museums Serving Locals and Tourists
08:40: Why Podcasting?
10:05: Giving the Project its Boundaries
11:30: Where Should People Start with Museums in Strange Places?