Saturday, July 14, 2012

Week 2

June 11th - June 15th

Week two was all about settling in and getting started on the Tanner packet. With Jason gone this week and Lauren preparing to leave the following week, it was important that I tap into her experience as much as I could by asking questions and volunteering to help with activities. On Monday I met the graduate school interns who would also be working in Family Programs for the summer, Kendra and Eunjung. I also got started on my Tanner research, mostly using the Hirsch's online databases and looking over PAFA's packet, and went on a staff tour of the Modern and Contemporary Masterworks from Malba – Fundaci├│n Costantini exhibit. Tuesday was a continuation of research and reading on Tanner. I attended a Learning through Art tour with one of the museum's on staff teachers, Rita. Rita actually helped develop the LTA curriculum and has been teaching with the MFAH for over 20 years now. It was interesting because I got to see some gallery teaching for the first time as well as what's involved in teaching teachers.The biggest thing that was emphasized was taking the time LOOK and take an inventory of what you see before jumping into analysis or conclusions about the work -- really focusing on knowing your process.Wednesday brought a few more orientation formalities: a tour of the Registrar (they deal with acquisitions, cataloguing, lending and loaning, etc.) and a training session for The Museum System (TMS), which is the museum's digitized catalogue of all of its works, both permanent and temporary. Tanner research continued and I began to construct a timeline of Tanner's life and accomplishments that will contextualize him by also including important political, artistic, and scientific events. This will be included as an additional resource in the teacher packet. Again, Thursday, more of the same, reading, and working on the timeline; but also feeling a little lost about how to evaluate the PAFA packet, a piece of writing by someone who I would assume has much more experience in museum education than I do. Clearly, I was feeling a bit insecure so on Friday I met with Victoria and was able to get some feedback on the timeline (finished now) and some suggestions about where to go from there. Another thing that I was busy with during the week was getting the EoTW show prepped for Austin. Kendra and I spent about half of our time during the week figuring out how exactly the photos were going to be oriented on the stands, marking the places for each work on its respective stand, writing a set of hanging instructions, rewriting and editing the text panel, and reformatting the labels to be printed.

Also, I think I mentioned before that Natalie, the Curriculum Coordinator who also works in my office, has a lot of good advice to give! I thought I'd summarize a bit of her museum education / interning wisdom here:
  • Things that it's good to have a bit of experience with for museum work:
    • Grant writing
    • Photoshop and Dreamweaver
    • Website design
    • Budgets
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions about seeing or sitting in on things!
  • Just FYI: Grant writing is a pretty interesting job. They get to assist all sorts of museum departments (because everyone needs money!). Essentially, they know the ins and outs of the grant writing process; they write most of the grant itself, but also help others with the parts that must completed by the department.
    • Glasstire (Texas specific)
    • American Association of Museums
    • New York Foundation for the Arts
  • Also, it's good to just give your resume out to any gallery, any arts space you can find. Often these sorts of places don't advertise when they need help.

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