In the ‘Business’ of Museums

I enjoy still moments and often feel like I do tourist sites because I have to. Like Instagram, If you didn’t take a picture, it didn’t happen. But what if there were this awesome thing where a person who knew stuff could show you cool places, filled with history that you never knew was there?–Yeah, I’d sign up too. Tourism is a booming business that brings in a stream of revenue into cities, and museums are prime to capitalize. And as funding becomes increasingly competitive in the non-profit sphere (such a catch-22), public humanities is growing more and more dependent on attracting audiences through tours as a means to actively engage audiences. With the wealth of resources available through technology, the museum isn’t the brick and mortar sanctuary it once was in this millennial age. So once you get people in the doors, how do you keep them there and convince them that it is worth coming back?

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S-E-X (NSFW)

Warning: This post is about sex, contains sexually explicit images, and puns are required.

Now that we’ve addressed that––recently I took a trip to South Beach Miami with a best friend. This was my first trip to the city but of course I quickly had to find out what else the city of Cuban coffees, oversized drinks, and wandering eyes had to offer. I don’t think I could have found a better juxtaposition to the overt sexualization occurring on Ocean Drive and the $13.50 I paid with my student discount to observe the collection held at the World Erotic Art Museum.

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Unraveling Identity: GWU Museum and The Textile Museum Exhibit Review

On Monday, I had the opportunity to visit the recently established, since March 21st, George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum. Housed in the same building, the George Washington University Museum recently acquired, as of 2011, the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection which comprises of a rich and extensive historical documentation of the District of Columbia. Albeit, the name is a bit clunky, both entities offer an appreciated addition to D.C.’s museum-scape that tourists and residents alike should put on their itinerary. The Textile Museum, which occupied a majority of the building’s exhibit space, presents “Unraveling Identity: Our Textiles, Our Stories” (March 21-August 24, 2015) in a 3-floor exhibit of various cultural garments, multimedia, and text. Continue…

#HRRlive: Communities Mobilized for Social Change

What a critical time to be a museum. In what ways do we regard these institutions as classrooms, as discourse, as truth? The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) took a giant leap in this arena––prior to even finalizing construction (set to open in 2016)––on Saturday, April 25th. A mix of museum professionals, students, activists, and just interested folk, gathered at the National Museum of the American Indian for a symposium to engage discussion and solutions around “Ferguson,” which has come to stand in for the prevalence of state-violence inflicted on black bodies that is not a new occurrence but hyper-visible due to technology and social media. “History, Rebellion and Reconciliation: Communities Mobilized for Social Change” symposium hosted by NMAAHC was a day of intellectual and artistic musing. Continue…

Join the Festivities and Build Greater Cultural Networks

On March 28th, we attended the inaugural 17th annual National Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk. As a recent D.C. transplant, I look forward to activities that will allow me to discover the pockets within the folds of the city. The program is an embedded tradition, within what many city residents and tourists have come to enjoy as an event-filled few weeks of concerts and kite-flying. However, the annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk reminds us of the relevance of this national tradition, that goes beyond the welcoming of Spring after a long Winter.

On this brisk morning, we gathered within the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II. The program opened with an invigorating performance by Nen Daiko, a taiko (a drum style of Japanese origin) ensemble that has been performing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1994. It was truly empowering to witness this collective of women and men striking their instruments with unforgiving movement and resound (in a way that put my coffee to shame). A Nen Daiko musician, Maya Nakamura, informed us that the performance group is a collective built from various networks, many with ties to the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation (NJAMF), who helped sponsor this event. The Nen Daiko drum ensemble has committed annually to the Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk. Continue…