Museum Avenue

A blog about life in the museum world.

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Hi all,

Many times I am asked by friends, colleagues and family how graduate school is going. My response has centered around the fact that I’m not pulling out any of my hair or curled up into a ball crying and sucking my thumb in a corner. I am having a terrific time learning about museums at a deeper level and engaging with colleagues from around the country and around the world.

Track 12 Sign from Union Terminal - Home of Cincinnati Museum Center

Track 12 Sign from Union Terminal – Home of Cincinnati Museum Center

Although it is currently all roses for me (right now) I have identified an unintended side effect. Not only am I studying what makes museums tick, I work full-time in one of the largest and most visited museums in the country – Cincinnati Museum Center. So as I am learning more and more the first thing I want to do is implement ALL THE THINGS! From a new interpretive plan for an upcoming exhibition to evaluations to young professional program piloting, I feel compelled to try to do everything RIGHT. NOW!

I want to turn what I’m learning into professional development opportunities for my staff of rockstars and my colleagues. I want to collaborate with community partners on new, innovative programs. I want to give back to the profession by leading professional development and social connections with local emerging museum professionals. I want to do it all to exhaustion.

Now I’m frustrated. There are never enough hours in the day. One cannot work full-time, rock 6 credit hours of grad school, sleep and have time for everything. I have to pace myself and we all know how much I love that. What about you? Have you had similar frustrations?


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Joe Louis Fist

Joe Louis Fist

Hi everybody! In case you missed it, the city of Detroit has been going through some tough times. In 1960, Detroit was the fifth most populated city in America, but has tumbled to just inside the top twenty today.  As Detroit struggles to make ends meet they are looking at many ways to bridge the financial gap and are considering options involving the vast collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts to possibly help pay the bills.

Recently, the Association of Art Museum Curators decided to move their 2014 annual conference to Detroit to support the Detroit Institute of Arts. Emily Ballew Neff, President of the AAMC is quoted as saying, “We believe that moving our conference to the DIA affirms our support of one of the most outstanding museum collections in the world (AAMC).” What I was most impressed to learn is that “the DIA covers 658,000 square feet that includes more than 100 galleries, a 1,150-seat auditorium, a 380-seat lecture/recital hall, an art reference library, and a state-of-the-art conservation services laboratory (DIA).”

So consider this your public service announcement. Support our brother and sister museums in Detroit! I am inspired by this move by the AAMC to do my part and visit the DIA in the near future. I can say from personal experience that if you have not visited The Henry Ford it is a must see museum! The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House is worth a visit as well, as is the Michigan Science Center – new home to my former Vice President at Cincinnati Museum Center Dr. Tonya Matthews who will be their new President and CEO starting in a few weeks.

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A museum for UFOs? Sure. A museum about the scintillating history of barbed wire? Why not? You can even visit a museum of dedicated to Bad Art right outside the men’s room of an early 20th century theater! There are several thousand museums in the United States, and most of them focusing on Art, History, Nature, Science, or providing children a place to learn through play, but there are also quite a few museums, that… well… don’t really fit very neatly in any of those categories. While I would love to wax poetic on the amazing exhibitions at the Trash Museum,  I cannot, but I would like to tell you about a museum I visited while in France.

Le Musée International de la Chaussure

Le Musée International de la Chaussure

In 1992, I was an exchange student and spent three weeks in Southern France. During these three weeks, my other exchange classmates and I attended school, and of course had field trips to museums. One of our day excursions took us to the beautiful city of Romans-sur-Isère where the hottest attractions are the Church of St. Barnard and Le Musée International de la Chaussure – yes, you read that right: The International Museum of Shoes. This museum showcases footwear from five continents and spans thousands of years of history. We learned that different shoes had different purposes and helped early peoples conquer various terrains. We also got to see more glamorous shoes, gem-encrusted high-heels fit for a queen and shoes worn by many French historical figures. The museum proving that indeed, shoes often do make the person.

What is your unique museum experience? Shoes? Trash? The National Museum of Funeral History?


Welcome to Museum Avenue, a new blog about the world of museums from a unique perspective – mine! Many of you know me from Special ExhiBITs where I shared my thoughts on exhibits from museums across the eastern United States. Now in Museum Avenue I will share my thoughts on a whole host of subjects pertinent to museum life. Be sure to visit about me and about Museum Avenue for more information.

Many of you are probably wondering why I would choose a random Wednesday to launch a new blog, but today is a special Wednesday. Today I begin a new chapter in my museum career by beginning my masters degree in Museum Studies with Johns Hopkins University Advanced Academic Programs. Not so random now, huh? Read my blog post about being accepted into the JHU family. GO HOP!

Check back early and check back often as I add new content.

Are you a museum blogger? Let me know as I am looking for new museoblogs to follow!