9 Articles
Medium 9781538119952

Reconstructing the Lansdowne Collection of Classical Marbles, Volume II: Catalogue

Decker, Juilee; Collections Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

The Anatomy of a Museum

By Steven Miller. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2018. 277 pages. ISBN: 978-1-11923-703-7.

Reviewed by Phoebe Cos, Associate Educator, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, P.O. Box 37012, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.; cosp@si.edu

Steven Miller’s The Anatomy of a Museum presents an honest, humorous, and detailed introduction to the museum field, one that would be a valuable addition to the reading list of any introductory museum class or emerging museum professional. The book is a compendium of Miller’s course “The Anatomy of a Museum,” which he teaches at Seton Hall University as part of the master’s degree in museum professions. Miller breaks down the multifaceted world of the museum into 19 easily digestible chapters ranging from topics commonly featured in introductory museum texts, such as “Museum Governance” and “Curating=Connoisseurship=Collecting,” to more nuanced chapters, such as “Museums and the Media” and “Architecture.” Each of these begins with an amusing quote that draw readers into the topic and contains photographs from museums around the United States to illustrate Miller’s observations. A set of class questions follows each chapter, varying between case study–specific questions and more generalized questions related to the topic. Miller poses to his readers questions and scenarios encountered and debated by museum professionals regularly in the museum field, many of which lack one correct answer. A sample of Miller’s final exam prompt is included in the appendix, creating a full class curriculum for a potential museum studies class that could be taught at another academic institution.

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Medium 9781538119952

Archives and Special Collections at the University of La Verne

Decker, Juilee; Collections Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Archives and Special Collections at the University of La Verne

Putting the Repository of a Small Liberal Arts College to Work Online

Benjamin Jenkins

Archivist, Wilson Library, and Assistant Professor and Director of Public History Program, Department of History and Political Science, University of La Verne, La Verne, CA; bjenkins@laverne.edu

Keren Darancette

Research and Instruction Librarian, Wilson Library, University of La Verne, La Verne, CA; kdarancette@laverne.edu

Abstract Archives and Special Collections at the Wilson Library of the University of La Verne, located in inland southern California, offers an informative case study of descriptive practices and metadata attached to digital collections at a small liberal arts college. Since recruiting a staff specifically tasked to manage the archives, the Wilson Library has increased the number of collections available to patrons online through the creation of a digital collections Web page. Digitized, hosted collections include the papers of a faculty member from the early 20th century, photographs of early La Verne, historic local newspapers, and manuscript sources regarding Japanese American internment. Metadata fields at Wilson Library have developed to encompass a greater variety of contextual information about digitized records, improving users’ ability to put the collections to use for research. Ultimately, this case study demonstrates what a library at a small university can accomplish with a dedicated staff and a clear objective, even with limited resources.

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Medium 9781538119952

African Art at The Kreeger Museum

Decker, Juilee; Collections Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

African Art at The Kreeger Museum

Validating a Collection and Its Historic Stakeholders

Antonia Dapena-Tretter

School and Outreach Manager, The Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco, CA; antonia@maybeorange.com

Eloise Pelton

Archivist, The Kreeger Museum, Washington, D.C.; research@kreegermuseum.org

Abstract Written by The Kreeger Museum’s former head of education and its founding archivist, this article looks closely at provenance and makes use of primary source documents and photographs to relive the rich story of how The Kreeger Museum’s African art collection came to be. A detailed account of the negotiations, communications, transactions, and circulations of people, objects, and ideas—the following narrative offers an interesting case study into the early European and American art collectors’ circuit.

Consisting of 28 art objects from at least 17 different West African cultures, The Kreeger Museum’s African collection is small but remarkably comprehensive and mostly the result of David Lloyd Kreeger’s choice to use Warren Robbins (1923–2008)—founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art—as his primary adviser. Purchased within the relatively short time frame of seven years, this important subcollection of the larger Kreeger Museum holdings reflects more than the financial success that made it possible, roughly defined by David Kreeger’s most profitable years at the Government Employees Insurance Company (better known by its acronym, GEICO).1 It also reveals a noteworthy appreciation of non-Western art, fostered during the collector’s years at Rutgers University (1925–1929), where he majored in political science and economics. As Kreeger built his collection, questions of authenticity were answered by tracing provenance back to notable European collectors or, in some rare instances, African soil and the precise moment of the object’s appropriation into Western hands. To shine a light on the history of the museum’s African holdings is to simultaneously illuminate a network of seemingly disparate connections—Dr. Albert Barnes (1872–1951), Paul Guillaume (1891–1934), and Helena Rubinstein (1872–1965)—and the colonial past that tied them and the larger Western tradition of collecting African art together.

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Medium 9781538119952

Voila!

Decker, Juilee; Collections Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Voila!

The Rockefeller Archive Center’s Exhibit Creation Process

Marissa Vassari

Archivist and Educator, Rockefeller Archive Center, 15 Dayton Avenue, Sleepy Hollow, NY; mvassari@rockarch.org

Abstract The Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) in Sleepy Hollow, New York, hosts groups ranging from foundation staff to college-level classes. Over the course of a year, the RAC hosts approximately 30 visiting groups that include from as few as 10 people to as many as 45. The aim is to engage visiting groups with the RAC’s vast collections by creating hands-on, tailored exhibits. The RAC has created policies and procedures, exhibit guides, and workflow templates that allow for documentation of each exhibit and encourage inclusiveness and transparency among staff. Employing a new, standardized approach by using these tools has made all phases of the exhibit process more efficient and allows the RAC to provide a rich, immersive archival experience for visitors. This article offers a case study in standardized exhibit creation that may benefit professionals in other institutions who are seeking to develop work processes and policies without diminishing the visitor experience.

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Medium 9781538119952

The Money Museum of the Deutsche Bundesbank

Decker, Juilee; Collections Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

The Anatomy of a Museum

By Steven Miller. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2018. 277 pages. ISBN: 978-1-11923-703-7.

Reviewed by Phoebe Cos, Associate Educator, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, P.O. Box 37012, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.; cosp@si.edu

Steven Miller’s The Anatomy of a Museum presents an honest, humorous, and detailed introduction to the museum field, one that would be a valuable addition to the reading list of any introductory museum class or emerging museum professional. The book is a compendium of Miller’s course “The Anatomy of a Museum,” which he teaches at Seton Hall University as part of the master’s degree in museum professions. Miller breaks down the multifaceted world of the museum into 19 easily digestible chapters ranging from topics commonly featured in introductory museum texts, such as “Museum Governance” and “Curating=Connoisseurship=Collecting,” to more nuanced chapters, such as “Museums and the Media” and “Architecture.” Each of these begins with an amusing quote that draw readers into the topic and contains photographs from museums around the United States to illustrate Miller’s observations. A set of class questions follows each chapter, varying between case study–specific questions and more generalized questions related to the topic. Miller poses to his readers questions and scenarios encountered and debated by museum professionals regularly in the museum field, many of which lack one correct answer. A sample of Miller’s final exam prompt is included in the appendix, creating a full class curriculum for a potential museum studies class that could be taught at another academic institution.

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