Museum Avenue

A blog about life in the museum world.

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Museum’s Audio Guide Informs Visitors How Much More They Getting Out Of Experience Than Others

Peabody's Lament

Actually From The Onion

Vol 50 Issue 44.

CHICAGO—In addition to providing background and analysis of the artwork on display, the audio guide for the Surrealists exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago reminded visitors this week how much richer of an experience they were receiving than was everyone else, sources confirmed. “Dali was heavily influenced by Freud’s The Interpretation Of Dreams and often wrote down his dreams in a notebook, a fact that those passing through this exhibit without an audio guide are woefully unaware of,” the recording reportedly said before inviting listeners to turn their attention to a nearby Marcel Duchamp work whose nuances would “only truly be understood” by those listening to the prerecorded narration. “And if you look to your left, you will notice a number of attendees who are appreciating Yves Tanguy’s The Rapidity Of Sleep far less than you are…

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Chicago election delays Obama library decision

We’ll have to wait another month before we find out about the Obama Library.


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will hold off on announcing the location for his future library until after Chicago’s runoff election for mayor.

That’s according to two people familiar with the decision who weren’t authorized to discuss the library and spoke on condition of anonymity. They said Obama wants to avoid politicizing his legacy project or creating the appearance of giving Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel an unfair advantage.

Last year, the Barack Obama Foundation said the Obamas would announce the winner by the end of March. But the announcement is no longer expected until after the April 7 runoff.

Emanuel is Obama’s former chief of staff and is up for re-election. He failed to win a majority in last month’s vote. Emanuel faces Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in the runoff.


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How To View Critics Telling You How to View Art in a Museum

Thinking about Museums

The blind fingerless art critic by Flickr user Shareheads CC-BY 2.0 The blind fingerless art critic
by Flickr user Shareheads
CC-BY 2.0

I have a confession to make: art critics baffle me. Especially when they venture to make grand pronouncements about the right way to go about experiencing art in museums. So when I saw the title of Philip Kennicott’s piece in the Washington Post, titled “How to view art: Be dead serious about it, but don’t expect too much” I will confess that I died a little bit inside. “Sigh. Another ‘you people are doing it all wrong’ piece.” Just what the world needs, another art critic holding forth on the sad state of museums and museumgoing. But, though there is plenty of sneering, there’s also a lot worthy of discussion. And debate. Kennicott’s post didn’t stand alone too long before Jillian Steinhauer posted a reply at Hyperallergic, and Jen Olencziak a rebuttal at Huffington Post. So, let’s take a…

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Celebrating 5 Years at Cincinnati Museum Center

I know it is hard to believe, but today is my five-year anniversary (work-iversary, work-anniversary, whatever) at Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. In the last five years I have been apart of some of the most amazing blockbuster exhibits ever traveled. I’ve been knee-deep in Gold, lived in an underwater archaeologist’s dream with Cleopatra and relived the final hours of Pompeii. I’ve stood in awe at one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of all time – the Dead Sea Scrolls and celebrated the life of Princess Diana. 

When I started five years ago, I had 65% of a bachelor’s degree completed and Union Terminal had been just approved to go onto the fall ballot for an operating levy for the upkeep of Union Terminal. I had just moved to Cincinnati and did not fully comprehend the importance and magnitude of the building. My how we have come full circle. Not only have I completed my Bachelor of Arts in History, but am 60% done with a Master of Arts in Museum Studies with a target completion date of May 2015, and Hamilton County Commissioners again voted to allow us to be on the ballot this fall, but this time for the full restoration of Union Terminal.

I am blessed to have terrific colleagues and a team that is relentless, passionate and fun, and am proud to call Union Terminal my home. I would not have gotten here without the support (before and after moving to Cincinnati) that I have gotten from many of my friends from the Indiana State Museum. Everyone I have met in my museum career thus far has taught me something that I will remember forever.

Thank you!


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The Museum Advertising Model

Peabody's Lament

Mad Museums? Yes. We are definitely this cool

There are few things in this world as simple and pure as museum advertising. The standard museum ad quickly gets to the heart of what a museum has to offer. The basic outline of many such ads looks like this:

Come to the museum for our self-guided or daily guided tours, experience one of our special events, and spend time with our art, history, and/or science.

This exciting formula touches people viscerally by showcasing the wonderful experiences the museum has created. It never fails to attract a visitor or two (sometimes, though rarely, even three or four).

To help demonstrate how effective the whole thing is, we applied this age-old advertising strategy to other social venues. Here is what we got:

Movie Theaters – Come down to view our selection of movies (all with sound!). We also have a concession stand, seats…

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