This week’s Roundup shares stories of a big art museum resignation, new museums opening, a whole country celebrating International Women’s Day through its museums and some thoughts about relevancy in these times. Enjoy!
1. The big news in art museums this week was the resignation of Thomas Campbell as director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The announcement shouldn’t be much of a shock considering recent stories of the museum’s financial woes, layoffs and reduced programming despite record attendance numbers.
The sudden end to Mr. Campbell’s tenure came in recent days after key board members – including Hamilton E. James, who leads the Met’s finance committee – insisted it was time for him to go, according to people inside the Met who spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal confidential conversations and personnel decisions.
2. Santa Barbara, CA has a new science museum and it looks like a lot of fun! MOXI: the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation focuses on sparking curiosity through hands-on and immersive experiences. I’m especially intrigued by the sound exhibit with a giant guitar that visitors can go inside to learn how the instrument works.
You can walk inside a giant guitar to see how its sound works or build a race car and send it speeding down a track at a new science museum in Santa Barbara that connects science and innovation with hands-on experiences.
3. Italy plans to “celebrate the feminine world” though a series of country-wide programs in honor of International Women’s Day including free entry to all museums for women. If you can’t get to Florence or Rome, follow along at #8marzoalmuseo on Instagram. While the hashtag features images of women depicted in art, hopefully we’ll also see plenty of work by women artists, scientists and archeologists.
Italy is giving all women free entry to the country’s museums on Wednesday to mark International Women’s Day. The Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage announced on Thursday that it wanted to “celebrate the feminine world” by highlighting works of art by and of women in their collections.
4. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center opens next weekend on Maryland’s Eastern Shore where Harriet Tubman was born and escaped enslavement. She returned to the area repeatedly at great risk to escort other enslaved people to freedom along the covert Underground Railroad.
Harriet Tubman fled a life of slavery in Maryland. Now a new visitor center opens on the land she escaped.
She preferred moving in the darkness of long winter nights. She didn’t wait for late passengers: The “train” for Zion always left on time. And she carried a pistol, in case of trouble or flagging hearts. Her branch of the line began here, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, near places like Tobacco Stick, Kentuck Swamp, and Skeleton Creek, off the Choptank River, to the north.
5. Just as hundreds of museums advocates gathered in Washington for Museums Advocacy Day, Dr. David Skorton, the head of the Smithsonian, shared a wonderful essay about the relevance of museums and libraries. Get inspired by this read and then learn how to Advocate from Anywhere on behalf of museums.
Dr. David J. Skorton is the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian overseeing 19 museums and galleries, 20 libraries, the National Zoo and numerous research centers, including the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Washington, D.C. is a city of symbols.
Do you have a great museum story to share? Let us know in the comments!