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Education on the Outside?

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At first glance, I was excited to read this article, as it details--at least on the surface--the ongoing commitment to fostering free-choice or constructivist learning in some of the most well-known museums on the planet. As I read; however, it became clear that the opportunities featured in the article are primarily concentrated on art making, offered under the pedagogical auspices of "being in galleries, meeting artists and understanding their world." Furthermore, most of these examples featured art making in physical spaces outside the museum, which is problematic in itself--art museum education has long been relegated to basements and other "fringe" areas of the museum...what does it mean when learning is offered outside the physical space of the museum, i.e., the pop-up center that is soon to open at the Whitney?

As I read, I recalled an interesting comment, made my by colleague and friend Professor Steve Carpenter during a presentation on reconceptualizing curriculum at NAEA. He questioned, ever so briefly, whether or not the act of art making is, in fact, the primary goal/foundation of every model of art education (his question specifically focused on Eco-environmental curriculum)? I wonder...if it is, then where does that leave the myriad other discourses that surround art education and art museum education? What happens when we as professional educators privilege a particular kind of knowing over all other ways of relating to objects in the museum, especially when very few people excel at the skills that are being introduced in these short workshops?

Mega Museum is a Go at Abu Dhabi

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It appears that construction plans for the museum complex are, in fact, on again. Frank Gehry, the architect behind the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, is also designing this building, which should look like this:



Art Handlers in Contract Negotiations

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Yesterday in the Museum Studies class, we discussed the fact that there are many museum workers whose positions and responsibilities are not known to the general public, yet museums rely on them to function at a fundamental level. Although we briefly discussed preparators, we did not discuss art handlers. This article from ArtInfo details one particular impact of budget cuts for the Whitney Museum of American Art .

Whitney Museum in Talks With Frustrated Art Handlers to Avert Whitney Biennial Strike

The Candy Wrapper Brigade

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I recently discovered this blog post by the folks at the Penn Stater Magazine about recycling unusual things on campus that are then made into interesting items. An organization called Terracycle collects things like those thin, plastic candy wrappers and turns them into little creative items for sale that can be recycled AGAIN when the owner no longer wants it. They also collect water bottles, juice box pouches, coffee bags...and a lot more.

I love this..taking insidious, ever-present junk and making it into something beautiful and functional. The company even has an "Upcycle museum," where they display products made out of recycled materials.

Social Media, Internet Technology, and Museums

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The New York Times recently published a plethora of interesting articles in a special section about museums and the use of technology to engage with visitors in new and meaningful ways. Check them out if you haven't already hit your limit of free articles per month.

Restoration of the Ghent Altarpiece

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In 1996, I took a graduate course called Art Museum Education in Belgium, wherein my mentor took a group of students to Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, and a short day trip to Amsterdam over the course of 10 days. We visited The Musee des Beax Arts, saw the Royal Palace, The Groeninge Museum, The Church of Our Lady in Bruges (which has one of the few Michelangelo scultpures outside of Italy), The Rijksmuseum (where I saw The Nightwatch but nary a Vermeer, as they were all in The Hague for an exhibition), the Van Gogh Museum, the Royal Museum of Central African Art in Tervuren, among others.

We walked through open air produce markets, ate gaufre de Liege (aka waffles!), browsed outdoor print markets where the old women in scarves served escargot by the ladle full out of huge pots of steaming water, and visited more cathedrals than I could have imagined existed. But one of my fondest memories was seeing Jan Van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece in the Cathedral of St. Bavo.  Imagine my delight this morning when I saw that it is going to undergo careful, thoughtful restoration, with help from the Getty Foundation. I'm excited to see what will come of the project.  Read more here:

A New Olympic Sport

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An Anniversary that Shouldn't be Celebrated

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It has been 20 years since the famous heist of works of art from the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum in Boston. The worth of the paintings and prints, in total, is approximately $500 million dollars. The most remarkable thing about the heist itself, besides the fact that it was successful, is the somewhat odd assortment of objects that the thieves took.

The saddest thing about this situation, at least from my perspective, is the fact that nobody else in the world has access to these works of art. The frames hang empty as a sad reminder of the actions of a few.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Are you a Museum Geek, Dork, Dweeb, or Nerd?

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Take the quiz:

A blog posting about the quiz design by Museum Audience Insight:

Oh, apparently I am a Museum Geek. But you knew that already, didn't you?

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