What’s the Risk? Reflections on a #MuseumThrowDown

5 comments

  1. So nice to read these reflections! I suppose, in the spirit of “so what” and holding ourselves accountable to our audiences by making our practice known, I’m wondering if PJ and Rachel feel like you “failed” in any way to achieve what you set out to achieve, or if you failed to even think of achieving something that you realized was important in the moment.

    Also, Jen, since you mentioned you feel like you didn’t “push us enough,” perhaps for the sake of those that didn’t attend you could summarize what you did with the group? Why did you decide to go selfies, social media, and theatre? It was definitely unlike anything I’ve done in a museum program before (as a developer or an attendee).

    • Rachel Ropeik

      While I loved the feeling in the air during my portion of the event, if I’d had my ideal situation, I’d have spent a bit more time on the object conversation portion of it. I’d have liked to talk more about the quilt, more about the designers of the outfit, and more about the idea of inspiration hopping from one medium to another.

      So, if I had to identify where I feel like my experience failed, it was there. Like Sara said below, I still have a real love for the objects themselves (which is why I got into this whole museum ed game to begin with), and I feel like I shortchanged them a bit in the name of time (the museum was closing) and getting to the experimental part of the experience.

    • 20 years later, I respond.

      Short summary
      So I looked at this work:
      http://www.folkartmuseum.org/?p=folk&t=images&id=6106

      And did a RAPID info bit, and then gave everyone a piece of fabric, had them cover up part of their face to pique curiousity, consider what personality traits they were showing, take a selfie, embody the trait and walk around and meet a friend, dual selfie, social media share.

      I am constantly interested in the intersection of theatre/movement/improv and art. I feel it’s a really intriguing way to explore works and formulate responses to work. I feel like in an ideal world, I would have gotten the group a little more ‘ready’ for the theatre/improv portion, possible warmed them up a bit more and got people out of their heads – or spend a little more time explaining the idea of “showing” a characteristic. I like pushing people to the edge of their comfort zones, so I think I would have pushed a bit farther.

  2. As perhaps one of the few non-museum educators (I know of at least one more since I brought a colleague) in the fray that night, there were a few times I wondered what in the world I got myself into! I loved the “so what?” introduction, which set a tone that I can personally relate to in my work in museum interpretation. This is the question I ask of myself (and my colleagues) about our didactics all the time–so, what? Why should someone care? Why is what you are explaining relevant–and therefore why should anyone bother to read your label?

    I found some activities more enjoyable than others, but I, personally, prefer to stick closely to the stories told by the art. To that end, I enjoyed PJ’s activity a lot as his activity had obvious, direct correlation to the work And I learned that my colleague has a tattoo, which I didn’t know! I appreciate Rachel’s insight about bringing fun into the picture and that one can be a few degrees removed from the art and still create a meaningful experience. And I have to say to Jen: I felt totally out of my comfort zone with your activity, so consider me “pushed”!

    Thanks to all for a memorable and engaging night!

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