First Post: The Wandering Museum Consultant

The Vindolanda Charitable Trust will be my first stop of the summer, June 2-13. Though it would not be correct to say this museum is the cause of the Wandering Museum Consultant project, it is most definitely the catalyst, which brought it to life. Friends at Vindolanda, whom I know through my position as Learning Coordinator at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology(MOA), invited me to come and spend two weeks for a professional exchange. The main reason being  the relative similarity between the two museums; both Vindolanda and MOA are archaeological sites combined with interpretive museums.

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The Wandering Museum Consultant Update

Things have been slowly coming together for the Wandering Museum Consultant project, and my departure date is fast approaching.

I will be spending most of the summer in the UK, with a two week stop in Dublin, Ireland. I will be posting quick introductions to each of the Museums I will be working with over the next month before I leave.

Schedule:

June 3 – 13: Vindolanda Charitable Trust, UK

June 16 – 27: Dublin, Ireland (Museums:  Hurdy Gurdy Radio Museum and Dublin Museum Marathon, details to come)

July 7 – 11: Farmland Museum, Cambridgeshire , UK

July 14 – 18: Cheshire (?, Silk Museums, Macclesfield),

July 21 – 25: Cumbria (Museums tbc) and , UK

If you are interested in hosting me at your museum, please contact me at katrina@newmuseumkat.ca

Budget Museum Hacks: 100 uses for foam board – #2 – A chalkboard

100 uses for foam board- #2 – A Chalkboard

Foam board use #1 – Flip books

This use of foam board is simple. A low-cost reusable chalkboard for adding an interactive element to your temporary exhibitions.

The chalkboard

I created this chalkboard for the extremely low budget Lost Collections of the Ancient World exhibit. One of the central objects in the exhibit was a large clay pot full of perforations, the “Mystery Vessel,” so named because we did not know the original intended purpose of this pot. So, we asked exhibit visitors to write what they thought it might be on the chalkboard. This helped add an evolving and interactive component to the exhibit.

“What do you think it is?” Chalkboard

The chalk can be removed just like from a regular board. You can of course paint chalkboard paint directly onto a wall, but the foam board ‘s light weight and portability allow it to be easily hung and re-hung in different locations throughout the museum and exhibits.

Materials: 

  • One foamboard (cut to size)
  • Chalkboard paint (you can purchase this at most hardware stores, or try making your own, it’s cheaper, and you can make it any colour you want!)
  • finishing nails
  • hammer

Step 1: Paint the foam board with an even layer of chalkboard paint

Step 2: Let it dry

Step 3: Use the finishing nails, one at each corner (plus one more along the middle of each edge – if making a large chalkboard) by gently taping in the finishing nails – this takes practice, you don’t want to hit the foam board with your hammer – It will dent!

And you’re done! 

Further suggestion: Do you want to have a full wall chalkboard without the permanency? Try painting multiple foam boards and puzzling them together on the wall.

If you have a Budget Museum Hack of your own, let me know! I would welcome guest blogs in this series 🙂

The Wandering Museum Consultant

What is the Wandering Museum Consultant?

Short Answer: A crazy idea.

Proper Answer: An experienced museum professional wandering around the world, and spending time at a variety of museums offering my services as a volunteer consultant. Throughout, I will be blogging about each museum, the region/country and the project itself.

The purpose of the Wandering Museum Consultant is two-fold:

1) The museums will benefit from:

  • Extra help from an experienced museum professional
  • Exposure to non traditional markets through my blog

2) I will benefit:

  • Experience in different types of museums and in different countries
  • Develop a network (perhaps connect those I work with with each other as well)
  • Meaningful travel

I have seven years experience working in museums, primarily in Canada, but also in the UK. I have had the opportunity to work in small museums, where I have been able to develop skills in many different areas, including education programming and delivery, collections management and research, exhibition research and design, volunteer management and museum governance. In October 2012 I was honoured with an Ontario Museum Association’ Promising Leadership Award of Excellence for my body of work. Please check out my C.V. for more on my experience and accomplishments.

Currently, I am putting together an initial short term Wandering Museum Consultant program for this summer (a bit of a trial run). I will be spending the summer in Europe, and I am looking for 3 more 2 week placements in the UK or Europe. I am doing these placements on a volunteer basis, however, I greatly appreciate a donation of housing where I go (this does not need to be private accommodation, I am perfectly happy to be in spare rooms, etc.).

Schedule:

June 3 – 13: Vindolanda Charitable Trust, UK

June 16 – 27: Dublin, Ireland (Museums TBC)

July 7 – 18: ?

July 21 – August 1: ?

If you are interested in hosting me at your museum, please contact me at katrina@newmuseumkat.ca

Fun Link for Fridays – The Lascaux Caves Animation

The Lascaux Caves Animation

Click the title above for a fascinating viewpoint regarding the Lascaux Cave paintings (c. 15,000 BCE), which were found in the Dordogne region, southwestern France, in 1940. Many of the paintings seem to represent the animals in various stages of movement, the video linked above demonstrates how they may have been intended to be shown in a state of animation.

Aurochs from the so-called 'Hall of Bulls'
Aurochs from the so-called ‘Hall of Bulls.’
(Click photo for source)

This past summer I was lucky enough to visit the travelling exhibit “Lascaux III” at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. This travelling exhibit features the incredibly realistic replica of portions of the caves. The Lascaux caves themselves have been off-limits to tourists since the 1980s (to ensure their preservation) and these replicas are the closest most of us are going to come to seeing the caves for ourselves. They are certainly a pretty good substitute, and the exhibit itself is wonderfully interactive and engaging.

Lascaux III is currently at The Houston Museum of Natural Science until March 23, 2014. It will then be hosted by Le Centre des Sciences in Montréal, Québec from April 19 to September 15, 2014. Lascaux II, the permanent exhibit near the original caves, features similar replicas and can still be visited as well. If you are in any of these areas, I highly recommend visiting.

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