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News Archives

Cynthia Robinson has received the 2017 John Cotton Dana Award for Leadership, presented by the Education Committee of the American Alliance of Museums. The award recognizes individuals outside the field of museum education who exhibit outstanding leadership and promote the educational responsibility and capacity of museums. Award judges noted Cynthia's commitment to helping museum educators write and publish in the peer-reviewed Journal of Museum Education, and to inspiring students to be activists who open museums to all audiences. One judge said that, "She has been a strong advocate for the educational responsibility and capacity of museums." Cynthia will receive the award at the AAM conference in May, and will participate in a panel discussion about leadership. The John Cotton Dana Award is conferred on an occasional basis, and was last awarded in 2015.

George Schwartz, instructor of The Meaning of Things: Interpreting Material Culture, is giving a members talk at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on Saturday October 15. More >

Ken Turino, co-instructor of the Exhibition Planning and Revitalizing Historic House Museums courses, is chairing a session at the American Association for State and Local History's Annual Meeting in Detroit on Friday September 16th entitled: AAM's Direct Care White Paper: What it Means to Your Museum. The recent AAM Direct Care White Paper addresses the history and conundrums of "direct care" as a use of proceeds from deaccessioning. This session will provide a summary of the paper, cover the ethical concepts behind "direct care" and offers guiding questions and models to help define parameters of direct care. If you can't make it to Detroit, Ken is repeating the session at the NEMA Conference this November.

Ken will also be picking up an award from the American Association for State and Local History's (AASLH) Leadership in History Awards Committee selected The Haymarket Project as a 2016 Award of Merit winner. The Leadership in History Awards, now in its seventy-first year, is the nation's most prestigious competition for recognition of achievement in state and local history. The Haymarket Project includes a book; a traveling exhibition, Haymarket, the Soul of the City; a series of oral histories; and a documentary film that reflect the stories of longtime vendors and more recent immigrants who have created a diverse cross-section of cultures at the market. Ken Turino, project manager, co-author of the book, and curator of the exhibitions' says, "this project is a real testament to all the workers past and present of Haymarket and the people of Boston whom they have served."

Summer Intern News: Cara Iacobucci is pleased to report that 17 Museum Studies students are busy with educational, curatorial, and collections-based internships this summer. Students are in positions all over New England, including the Coggeshall Farm Museum in Rhode Island, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum in Connecticut, and several museums in Massachusetts such as the Fitchburg Art Museum, the Museum of Science, the Danforth Art Museum, the Harvard Art Museums, Old North Church, the Peabody Essex Museum and many more. Plus, one student is at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Iowa!

On June 3rd, Ingrid Neuman, instructor of the Collections Care and Preservation Course, attended an ICOM-CC Legal Issues in Conservation Working Group Interim Meeting at the New York University Conservation Center which featured presentations regarding ethics, working with artists and community and ritual art.  In addition, Ingrid participated in a Socratic Dialogue about "The Rights of Living Artists with Respect to the Conservation of Their Work" which was moderated by Bill Wei of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. The experience of participation in a Socratic Dialogue was so thought-provoking and beneficial to deep listening and non-judgmental discussion that Ingrid hopes to incorporate this experience into her Collections Care and Preservation syllabus next spring 2017.

Ingrid was recently the courier for a 1942 polymer work by Hungarian artist László Moholy-Nagy which traveled from the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art to the Guggenheim in New York.  It will be a part of a traveling exhibition which will also go to the Art Institute of Chicago and the Los Angeles Museum of Art. This is the first retrospective of this artist's work in 50 years. Ingrid highly recommends that if you are in NYC this summer to stop by the Guggenheim to appreciate how well this artist's work works in the unique exhibition space of the Guggenheim's seven ramps and inclining spaces. The exhibition will be up until September 7.

Cynthia Robinson, museum studies director and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Museum Education, reports the publication of the latest issue of JME. Its guest-edited section focuses on how museums contribute to the health and wellness of their communities.

One of Jenna Fleming's (instructor of Museums and Digital Media) projects has won a Media & Technology MUSE award from the American Alliance of Museums. As explained by the awards organization, "MUSE awards recognize outstanding achievement in Galleries, Libraries, Archives or Museums (GLAM) media." The winning project was a web site for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum exhibition, Ornament & Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice. The site can be accessed at crivelli.gardnermuseum.org.

Ingrid Neuman had an article recently published in the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art's periodical entitled : The Manual (Issue number 6). Ingrid wrote "Learning from the Buddha: The Conservation of a Multipart Japanese Wooden Figure." This 12th century colossal wooden figure has been an iconic sculpture in the museum's collection since 1936 when it was acquired. As with most works of art with the museum context, an opportunity for deep study often reveals more questions than answers. From a technical art historical perspective, this sculpture appears to be a very rare one indeed. Come to RISD and see for yourself!

Exhibiting now at the RISD Museum of Art is All of Everything: Todd Oldham Fashion, a large exhibition of textile design, textures and materials that is a treat for the eyes! On view from April 8 until September 11, 2016.

For the American Association of State and Local History Ken Turino presented a workshop on Reinventing the Historic House Museum  in St. Louis on April 4, 2016. Over 50 people attended the sold-out workshop. Max van Balgooy President, Engaging Places, LLC, presented the "Five Forces that are Affecting Your Historic House Museum," and Ken presented a session that provided participants with a comprehensive understanding of the rewards and challenges facing historic house museums today. Next up Ken and Max will present the workshop in New Orleans in May.

Ken Turino also reports that the AAM appointed Task Force on Direct Care has released Direct Care of Collections: Ethics, Guidelines and Recommendations to the field. Ken encourages you to share the white paper broadly-with members of your discipline-specific, state and regional associations, through social media and other networks you think may find it useful. He initiated a Direct Care of Collections discussion thread on Museum Junction, an online community, and welcomes your continued participation.

Ken will be leading a session on the report  at the AASLH Annual Meeting in Detroit next September and participating in a panel at the upcoming AAM conference in Washington DC in May.

On March 17, two classes, HIST 215 and 290, met at Salem's Peabody Essex Museum to meet the exhibition planning team of Asia and Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Golden Age. Following a lively and informative discussion with the museum's creative team, students received a guided tour from the exhibition's developers and designers. The PEM staff were generous with their time and their insight sharing schedules, floor plans, interpretive outlines, and the challenges and opportunities associated with this internationally collaborate exhibition. Co-organized by the Peabody Essex Museum and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, this exhibition of 170 superlative Asian and Dutch works of art explores the transformative impact that Asian luxuries had on Dutch art and life in the 17th century, bringing new perspectives on the Dutch Golden Age and its relationship to Asia.

Museum Studies New England Museum Association (NEMA) Annual Conference (November 2015)
Student, Alumni, and Faculty Gathering

About 30 Tufts museum studies students, alumni, and teachers gathered to enjoy food, drink and good conversation at an evening reception in a tavern near the NEMA conference.

Jenna Fleming, who teaches Museums & Digital Media, is working on a web microsite for a fall exhibition at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The exhibition, "Ornament and Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice," takes a closer look at the Renaissance artist's remarkable decorative style and provides opportunities to explore conservation insights about one of this paintings, including his use of pastiglia to build up the painted surface. The web site will be responsive so that it can be used on smartphones within the gallery or on desktops and iPads at home.

Update on Summer 2015 interns - Cara Iacobucci writes: This summer fourteen students are putting to practice what they've learned and studied throughout the year in internship positions around the greater Boston area (and one in Pennsylvania). While some interns are working on new and engaging educational programs, others are getting hands-on experience with art and artifacts as they catalogue, research, and help manage collections. If you're planning a summer museum visit, perhaps you can spy one of our students at places such as the USS Constitution Museum, the Buttonwoods Museum, the Fitchburg Art Museum, the Andover Historical Society, or the Peabody Essex Museum - to name just a few.

Ingrid Neuman, instructor of Collections Care and Preservation, published an entry on the pigment Egyptian Blue in the Spring 2015 publication entitled: The Manual, published by the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. In it she discusses the origin and usage of the pigment Egyptian Blue which can be found in an ancient Egyptian (1302-1072 BCE) ceramic paint box (1997.82) held in the collection of the RISD Museum. In addition to this article focusing on one type of blue pigment, the entire manual highlights all things blue!

Ingrid interviewed contemporary artist Mary Miss in April to obtain a more detailed understanding of how this contemporary artist works and how she wishes her accessioned work at RISD to be preserved well into the future. Miss's work entitled: "Falsework: Screen" from 1980 was acquired by the museum in 1981. The artist had not seen her work for several decades until this recent interview took place which made for a very exciting interview. This work is currently on view at the RISD Museum in Providence through the summer.

Ingrid attended a one-day symposium entitled: "The First Crack" which focused on the conservation and value in contemporary art and took place at the School of Visual Art in New York City on April 29. This free symposium was particularly fascinating and education because it combined conservators, curators, artists, art advisers and appraisers, art lawyers and representatives from artist estates. The information gleaned in this symposium will create new areas of exploration for next year's Collections Care and Preservation course. For those students interested in the future preservation issues regarding contemporary art, Ingrid recommends that they become familiar with this dynamic resource.

Tara Young, instructor of Curriculum Development for K-12/Museum Collaborations, was interviewed for a Harvard Magazine article on the Museum of Russian Icons. Read the article >

Ken Turino, co-instructor of the Exhibition Planning and Revitalizing Historic House Museums courses, has completed part three, "Summer", of the on-going Haymarket Project web series. Over the course of a year, Historic New England, the Haymarket Pushcart Association (HPA), and photographer Justin H. Goodstein-Aue present images and oral history excerpts conducted with members of the HPA, vendors, and customers of Boston's Haymarket. These oral histories and images capture people representing nationalities from all over the globe. The Haymarket Project features photographs of the market, vendors (pushcarts and shops), workers, and customers collected over the course of an entire year to document the market's history, changes over time, daily life at the market, special holiday foods, and challenges. The interviews reflect the stories of long-time Italian vendors as well as more recent immigrants who have created a diverse cross-section of cultures at Haymarket.

Ingrid Neuman, instructor of Collections Care and Preservation, recently participated in a Sustainable Preservation Practices Workshop focusing on managing storage environments led by the Image Permanence Institute (located at the Rochester Institute of Technology) and held at the Boston Museum Fine Arts. This two-day workshop allowed participants to visit the HVAC system in the bowels of the Museum of Fine Arts which was a highlight to behold! More details about the new environmental parameters for museums will be discussed in the spring semester in Ingrid's class Collections Care and Preservation. Please check the Image Permanence Institute's web-site for their 2015 schedule of FREE webinars on sustainable environmental practices; they are an excellent resource!

Additionally, Ingrid was a participant in a Laser Cleaning workshop held at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum where individuals from a British laser company demonstrated new uses of lasers for cleaning art work. This latest technology will be presented in Ingrid's class next spring!

Program director Cynthia Robinson is pleased to announce that the fall 2014 issue of the Journal of Museum Education devotes a section to teen engagement in museums, guest-edited by local museum educator Gabrielle Wyrick, who works at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. Cynthia is the editor-in-chief of JME.

At the AAM conference in Seattle, Program director Cynthia Robinson and Sara Zela (M.A. Museum Education G'12), Education and Communications Manager at the Museum of Art, UNH, congratulate Purvi Patwari, Director of Human Resources at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, upon her completion of the Museum Education MA program in May 2014. (side photo)

In June, Cynthia Robinson, museum studies program director, worked with members of the Sudbury Historical Society's board of directors to help them envision strategies for engaging community when they move to a new building. Cynthia just returned from a two day retreat with the board of the Museum Education Roundtable in Washington D.C., at which museum educators from all over the country strategized the future of the Journal of Museum Education (Cynthia is editor-in-chief of the journal).

Rainey Tisdale, instructor of The Meaning of Things: Interpreting Material Culture, travelled to Sweden in early August to present at the annual CAMOC conference. CAMOC is ICOM's international committee for city museums. She is currently serving on the board of CAMOC.

Jennifer DePrizio, instructor of Museum Education and Interpretation, has left the Gardner Museum after 8 years to become the new Director of Learning and Interpretation at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine. While she has greatly enjoyed being a part of the strong Boston-area museum community, especially the Tufts program, this is a great professional opportunity she couldn't pass up. In this new capacity, Jenn will oversee the education department and all its programming. One project she's particularly interested in getting started on is working collaboratively with her new curatorial colleagues on a major reinstallation and reinterpretation of the museum's permanent collection set for 2016. Even though she'll be living in Maine, she will continue to teach her course this fall.

Margherita Desy, instructor of Collections Management, was one of only 80 scholars, artists, historians, and writers to be chosen to sail a leg of the historic voyage of Mystic Seaport's whaling vessel, the Charles W. Morgan. The five year restoration of the Morgan, the last wooden American whale ship which made 37 voyages between 1841 and 1921, culminated in a "38th Voyage" which took the vessel from Mystic, CT to six New England ports. Margherita was selected as a 38th Voyager because, as she stated in her proposal, "...the last person to sail aboard a 19th century whaling vessel and a 19th century U.S. Navy ship and write about both experiences was Herman Melville - I am now the second person to do so." Through her capacity as historian for USS Constitution, which Margherita sailed aboard in 2012, and her time as historian during the Morgan's 1980s restoration, she will bring her unique perspective on historic vessels to the wider public through publications and presentations. While aboard the Morgan, Margherita had the opportunity to steer the vessel while underway, climb aloft in the rigging, and along with her fellow voyagers, marvel at the humpback whales while the ship sailed through Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

More than 40 recent graduates and current students attended the 95th New England Museum Association Conference in Newport, Rhode Island recently, along with faculty members Margherita Desy, Ingrid Newman, Rainey Tisdale, Ken Turino, Tara Young, and director Cynthia Robinson. Many participated as panelists or chairs of sessions as well.

Kudos to faculty member Rainey Tisdale for her book, Creativity in Museum Practice (Left Coast Press) co-authored with Linda Norris. Tisdale and Norris offer advice to inspire creativity in the daily practices of museums everywhere, including exercises to get the creative juices flowing.

Faculty member Jennifer DePrizio, Director of Visitor Learning at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, has been selected as the 2014 Massachusetts Art Education Association Museum Art Educator of the Year for her significant contribution to the field of art education in Massachusetts. She was recently honored at the organization's annual conference.

Program Director Cynthia Robinson has renewed her contract with the Museum Education Roundtable as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Museum Education. This marks the start of a new era for Robinson as she takes on the volunteer job without a co-editor-in-chief. JME is the premier journal for museum educators in the world, and it is increasingly reaching a global audience.