This morning I woke to the sad news of David Bowie's passing. As someone born into what Wikipedia calls Bowie's New Wave and Pop Era (1984) and classified as Generation Y, I first heard the news via social media. I didn't really grow up on Bowie's music and I've never seen Labyrinth, but I am aware … Continue reading Vale David Bowie
Just like the proverbial lunch, museum entry is never free. Whilst the visitor may not necessarily contribute to the cost of their visit, governments, tax payers, sponsors, donors, members and a host of other financial and in kind contributors, all ensure that museums are functional. In a recent article in the Guardian, Jonathan Jones, suggested … Continue reading There is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
This week I returned to Boston after two months in my native Australia. I was happy that the weather is still very pleasant and that my Halloween weekend involved apple picking rather than the wintery mix of last year. Fortunately, the weather is also still beautiful enough to spend the afternoon reading a good book … Continue reading What can I learn about Museum Engagement from Harvard Yard and Michelle Obama?
The recent debate over booing Indigenous AFL player, Adam Goodes, is well beyond a sports issue. As done by just about everyone, including sports and political journalists, comedians and social commentators, I could go on about why booing Goodes is or isn't racism. Instead, I am going to explore the opportunity this provides for education and … Continue reading Using History to Inform Current Issues
In 2006 when I began teaching, a colleague of mine taught a subject called Contemporary History. I found the class memorable for its relevant, engaging and real life approach to history. He identified contemporary, headlining news stories and explored the historical context. For example, in 2015, the subject would explore historical immigration trends and behaviours, Gallipoli, … Continue reading Should we discuss capital punishment in museums?
There are many contentions surrounding museum collections. High profile repatriation and provenance cases such as the Parthenon marbles are frequently discussed both within the sector and in the media. The issues are complex and they continue to reappear as there is no right or wrong answer or a one size fits all fix. Fortunately, some … Continue reading Museums can tell so many stories: My experience at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
This week Edutopia reposted an article about student engagement by Heather Wolpert-Gawron. Heather asked 220 of her eighth grader "What Engages Students?" and uncovered ten common themes. Whilst they are relevant to the eighth grade classroom, they are also applicable to museum visitor engagement and many of the ideas are supported by museum specific research. Below I've elaborated on … Continue reading What is an Engaging Learning Experience?
The second annual #MuseumSelfie day took place around the world last Wednesday, 21 January. The day was started by Mar Dixon via the Culture Themes website which is also behind days like #AskACurator. Further information can be found here. At Mar’s insistence on the Culture Themes site, I have left my thoughts on #MuseumSelfie Day until after the fact, … Continue reading #museumselfie
Last week an article from the Guardian, written by Paul Daley, appeared in my Facebook feed. Motivated by the words; Anzac, nationalism and war, I clicked through. The article discusses the State Library of NSW's recently digitised collection of First World War diaries, however Daley opens with a rather critical reflection of Australia's interpretation of the events and impact … Continue reading Love & Sorrow at Melbourne Museum
When this image popped up in my Facebook feed around 12 months ago, I reposted it with a comment like "Ah, see it's not just us!" Instantly I was ashamed by my immature and superficial response to what I perceive as a complicated issue; the use of screens in the modern world, particularly by my own generation, GenY. … Continue reading Don’t Put Your Smart Phone Away!