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Weekly Roundup: Museums in the News 4/7/2017

Category: Alliance Blog

This week’s Roundup shares stories about Native American art at the Met, data visualization, Olafur Eliasson and happiness. 

1. The museum field in the United States is experiencing a welcomed re-examination of the display and interpretation of Native American artworks and artifacts. As an example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is taking the opportunity of a new promised gift from collectors Charles and Valerie Diker to install indigenous art in the museum’s American Wing for the first time. At the Met, these works have been catalogued and displayed in the galleries for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas.

Native American Treasures Head to the Met, This Time as American Art

For the donors of the gift, Charles and Valerie Diker, who live in an apartment brimful of Native American pieces and American modernist painting just a few blocks from the museum, the Met’s curatorial decision is nothing less than a groundbreaking affirmation of the way they have thought about their collection for more than 40 years.

2. In a week with a lot of stories floating around about the Met, I think it’s fair to share another one here related to the museum. Oliver Roeder writes a thoughtful article with data visualizations based on a giant mega-spreadsheet of the museum’s collection. Dive into this fun and interesting read while celebrating access to collection data.

An Excavation Of One Of The World’s Greatest Art Collections

About 4,000 years ago, an Egyptian senior government official named Meketre rode up the Nile, his dozen oarsmen straining against the prevailing northerly winds. Meketre was a kind of data collector, tasked with accounting the comings and goings of royal goods.

3. If you’re intrigued by FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of museum data, check out Rob Stein’s tutorial series Becoming a Data Startup. This second installment introduces tools for making your own data visualizations and includes hands-on exercises with museum attendance data from the Grace Museum in Abilene, TX. Learn how to have fun with data and gain insights about your museum!

Becoming a Data Startup – Part 2

It’s time again for our next installment of Becoming a Data Startup! For those of you who read along in our last post, you learned some simple tips and tricks for formatting your data that I promised would make things easier for analysis and visualization.

4. Museum Exhibit developer and self-described ‘chief instigator’, Paul Orselli, reviews a NYC gallery show entitled The listening dimension commenting that “if Olafur Eliasson wasn’t already one of the world’s most interesting living artists, he would be my very favorite science museum exhibit developer.” Of course, Olafur Eliasson isn’t an exhibit developer at all, but we can take inspiration from his methods of interpretation and communication.

Review: The listening dimension

If Olafur Eliasson wasn’t already one of the world’s most interesting living artists, he would be my very favorite science museum exhibit developer. Eliasson’s elegant grasp of the connections between art and science are on display in his show entitled ” currently on view at the Eliasson says: ” The listening dimension ” Tonya Bonakdar Gallery in New York City.

5. Let’s wrap up our roundup with some happy thoughts… or at least some thoughts on happiness. Joan Baldwin, co-author of Leadership Matters, shares some tips for keeping museum staff happy and engaged. She also encourages participation in the 2017 Joyful Museums survey to measure the happiness of the museum workforce.

Museum Leaders and the Happiness Factor: What’s It to You?

A colleague of mine is not happy. Her distress has nothing to do with her home life except perhaps that a dismal work situation affects life at home. Were she asked, she would describe work as a place absent respect, transparency, challenge, and perhaps honesty. But she isn’t asked.

Happy weekend!

Do you have a great museum story to share? Let us know in the comments!

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    1. Good point, Paul! He is for sure a designer of experiences. Could they please bring that show down to D.C.? 🙂

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