Tag Archives: Museums

Evidencing change: how do we measure social value?

This post is written by Carol Scott, author of Museums and Public Value. It originally appeared on her personal website. Carol Scott is speaking at this year’s American Alliance of Museums annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Evidencing change: how do we measure social value?

This is the title of the session that I am curating with Randi Korn (Founding Director, Randi Korn Associates) and Deborah Schwartz (President, Brooklyn Historical Society) at this year’s American Alliance of Museums annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

The conference theme is the social value of museums. Creating positive social change is forging new directions for 21st century museums. But evidence to prove that change occurs remains elusive and approaches to measuring it are a work in progress.

At the heart of the issue is the question: ‘do museums make a positive difference to society as a whole?’ If we want the answer to be a resounding ‘yes’, how do we translate museum activity into measurable evidence of social value- and- what are the implications for planning and evaluation?

Our session is going to look at these questions through three lenses. Passion is needed to effect social change. Our museums need to resonate with and be relevant to our communities. Deborah Schwartz heads one such museum- where passion and commitment to the community are paramount. But passion needs to be directed. It needs to work in tandem with results-based planning and evaluation measures to achieve its social goals, a subject which is at the heart of Randi Korn’s work.

At a national level, the sector as a whole is challenged to find a narrative to demonstrates that museums create value that makes a difference in the public domain. Do museums contribute to the well-being of populations, their connectedness to one another and to communities, to an active, engaged citizenship? Where is the evidence to prove this and how do we capture it? This is the subject of my presentation.

Our session is on Monday afternoon, the 27th April from 1:45-3:00 p.m. in Room B405 at the Georgia World Congress Center. We look forward to meeting you in Atlanta.

Carol Scott

Ann C. Colley on Wild Animal Skins in Victorian Britain

 

Ann C ColleyPosted by Ann Donahue, Publisher

Ann C. Colley (pictured) talks to Ann Donahue about her new book, Wild Animal Skins in Victorian Britain: Zoos, Collections, Portraits, and Maps

How did you come up with the idea for this book?

I had just finished my Victorians in the Mountains: Sinking the Sublime, which had not only appealed to my love of landscape and admiration for climbers, but had also taken me to libraries and clubs on both sides of the Atlantic. It was when I entered the Wellcome Institute on Euston Road that something clicked. The Institute had launched a special exhibit on “Skin” that I found absolutely fascinating. I recall seeing pieces of tattooed skin taken from sailors in the nineteenth century and wondering about the role of skin and identity. Knowing that the role of skin in human portraiture during the Victorian era has been well rehearsed, I turned my thinking to animal skins and portraiture. Before I knew it, I was launched.

Wild animal skins in Victorian BritainYour book connects to so many areas of current interest in the humanities, including animal studies, museums, collecting, sensory studies, and the history of science. Were you surprised at the multiple directions in which your research led you?

No. Indeed I was drawn to the subject because it would do just that. Cultural studies are appealing because they engage so many intersecting disciplines and take one into unusual archives and libraries not open to the general public. Once I began accumulating materials, I immediately saw that the project would fit into the current interest in animal studies, museum studies, theories of portraiture, British colonialism, collecting, theories of touch and skin, as well as in history of science.

You came upon some fascinating characters in the course of your research, including the Earl of Derby. Can you say a few words about him as a collector and his association with Edward Lear?

For several years I have been buying Lear’s watercolor sketches as well as lithographs of his natural history paintings. Through this interest, of course, I knew that between 1831 and 1837, he was employed by the 12th Earl of Derby and later by the Earl’s son to sketch and paint portraits of the wild animals and exotic birds kept on the estate, which was the site of England’s largest private menagerie. To amass their amazing collection, the 12th and the 13th Earls commissioned collectors and agents from all over the world. The resulting correspondence between the 13th Earl of Derby and these agents makes for incredible reading. Lear was privy to this world and to those who worked for and were related to the Earl of Derby.

I was fascinated to learn that collecting animal skins was not just the prerogative of the privileged classes as I would have thought that collecting these specimens would be extremely costly. How common was this form of collecting among working- and middle-class individuals?

There are several studies of the working class and their interest in science, particularly those that discuss the fact that mill owners and manufacturers often encouraged their employees to learn as much as they could about the sciences so as to create a more knowledgeable workforce. Jane Camerini, John M. MaKenzie, E.P. Thompson, and Katie Whitaker, among others, have all written on the topic. For me, the most convincing and vivid evidence came from Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton in which she makes a point of mentioning that the working-class men of Manchester were “warm and devoted followers” of the “more popularly interesting branches of natural history.” They “knew the name and habitat of every plant within a day’s walk from their dwelling.” Her character Job Legh, a self-educated spinner, who has access to the Liverpool docks where sailors would return with exotic specimens, is one of these “warm and devoted followers.”

In some ways, the interest in animal skins strikes me as analogous to the Victorians’ passion for travel writing. What was it about these specimens that was so appealing?

I, myself, travel to exotic places and write accounts of my sometimes disastrous adventures and have found that the wild life of a place is what defines the experience for me. When I was working on Wild Animal Skins, I discovered a similar impulse was at work among the Victorian public, who were fascinated by exotic birds and animals in faraway lands and would go to great lengths to see exhibits of these, to collect them (though I hasten to add I do not own any taxidermy specimens!), and to learn as much as it could about them. As I say in the introduction to my book “skin was not only a basic ingredient of portraiture but also the site of encounter with the exotic world.”

Many people would find a home adorned with animal skins from so-called exotic locales shocking and collecting such specimens is often illegal. Was the collecting of wild animal skins controversial during the Victorian era?

No. Unlike many, perhaps most, people today, the Victorians experienced little sense of guilt in looking at, owning, arranging, and admiring stuffed birds and animals. They rarely, if at all, thought about extinction. Even Darwin shot the last fox on the Galapagos Island. For them the distant world was full of plenty. That is not to say the Victorians were insensitive to the pain inflicted on animals. One has to remember that it is in the Victorian period that the antivivisectionists were active. I am not sure why, but taxidermy is coming back in style. One can go to a booth at a market in London to learn how to remove the skin of a bird or a mouse and stuff it. At a wedding recently I met a person from Brooklyn who practices taxidermy in her apartment. Skin will always elicit pleasure, disgust, and curiosity.

About the Author: Ann C. Colley is a SUNY Distinguished Professor at the State University College of New York at Buffalo. She has published numerous articles and books, including Victorians in the Mountains, Robert Louis Stevenson and the Colonial Imagination, Nostalgia and Recollection in Victorian Culture, The Search for Synthesis in Literature and Art: The Paradox of Space, Edward Lear and the Critics, and Tennyson and Madness.

Beryl Graham talks at Tate Modern, at the ‘Cultural Value and the Digital’ conference

Posted by Helen Moore, Marketing Manager

Beryl Graham, author of New Collecting: Exhibiting and Audiences after New Media Art gave a talk at the Tate Modern earlier this week, taking part in the conference Cultural value and the digital: practice, policy and theory, the culmination of a research project and series of eight public workshops, to explore how conceptions of cultural value are currently operating and could be examined in relationship to digital media and museums.

This research project focused on Tate’s digital practices and policies as well as the practices of other UK and European Museums that shape contemporary production of culture; a context which is transformed or challenged by current digital technologies and network culture.

New Collecting_Graham PPC_new collectingBeryl Graham’s book New Collecting: Exhibiting and Audiences after New Media Art sets out to explore the many new challenges faced by curators and collectors of new media art

‘This is essential reading for artists, curators, art historians, students and anyone else interested in creating, commissioning, collecting, exhibiting and documenting new media art. The authors provide an excellent overview of the challenges involved in dealing with 21stcentury artworks that are “not easy to collect”.’   Douglas Dodds, Victoria and Albert Museum, UK

‘New forms of art production necessitate new ways of thinking about exhibiting and collecting. This book fills a gap in the field by directly addressing the challenge for curators and audiences alike in exploring ways that do not simply replicate old models but redefine possibilities of what is collected, how, and for whom.’   Joasia Krysa, Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark

Beryl Graham is Professor of New Media Art, at the University of Sunderland, UK and co-founder and editor of CRUMB, the resource for curators of new media art. She curated the international exhibition Serious Games for the Laing and Barbican art galleries, and has also worked with The Exploratorium, San Francisco, and San Francisco Camerawork.  Beryl Graham has presented papers at conferences including Decoding the Digital (Victoria and Albert Museum).

Ashgate at the Museums Association conference 2013, Liverpool

Dymphna Evans and Helen Moore are attending the Museums Association conference in Liverpool next week, 11-12th November.

Please visit us on stand 3, see our latest books, meet our authors and chat about any ideas you might have for book proposals. There will be a daily prize draw to win a book of your choice, huge discounts on display copies and more free treats, so please come a say ‘hello’.

Museums Association delegates are entitled to a 30% discount on a range of Museums Studies, Cultural and Heritage Management books, but if you’re unable to attend, we are extending the discount for a limited period. Take advantage of the conference discount at www.ashgate.com/MALiverpool.

New books which will be on display include:

Museums, Health and Well-Being (Helen Chatterjee, University College London and Guy Noble, University College London Hospitals)

Curious Lessons in the Museum: The Pedagogic Potential of Artists’ Interventions (Claire Robins, Institute of Education, University of London)

Museums and Public Value: Creating Sustainable Futures (Edited by Carol A. Scott, Carol Scott Associates)

Museums Health and Welleing Curious Lessons in the Museum Museums and Public Value

We’re looking forward to meeting you in Liverpool!

Museums and Public Value

Originally posted on Intentional Museum:

Museums and Public ValueThis week we welcome our guest blogger Carol Ann Scott, editor of Museums and Public Value: Creating Sustainable Futures!

Randi Korn & Associates invited me to guest blog on a subject that has important links to intentionality. My passion is the value of museums- how we articulate that value, measure it and create it. So today, I am blogging about the third aspect- the value we create. With that in mind, I want to look at what Mark Moore’s theory of Public Value has to offer museums when we purposefully set out to create value.

Moore’s Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government (1995) may be familiar to many of you. In Moore’s view, publically funded organisations are charged with directing their assets to creating value with a strong focus on social change and improvement. This type of value is about more than visitor satisfaction. It is directed…

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Ashgate’s Cultural and Heritage Management publishing programme is growing

Posted by Nigel Farrow, Chairman of the Ashgate Publishing Group

Our new catalogue of books on the policies, practice and history of culture and heritage management is now available. It represents Ashgate’s commitment to publish widely in these fields.

In the year of the London Olympic Games it is hardly necessary to stress the economic importance or international impact of major cultural events and institutions in contemporary society.

The new and recent titles in the Cultural and Heritage Management catalogue reflect scholarship and experience from many different parts of the world.

It is, perhaps, appropriate that an international, British-based publisher such as Ashgate should focus on this subject. Britain is an old country with long established and justly celebrated cultural institutions.

However, it is in the more recently developed or developing regions of the world that some of the most exciting new cultural initiatives are being made. And everywhere there is a challenge to present and preserve the heritage of humanity for future generations in the face of economic turbulence and physical conflicts.

Museum experience for the attendees has greatly improved in recent times as museums strive to widen the access to their collections and exhibitions.

Frank den Oudsten’s space.time.narrative: the exhibition as post-spectacular stage presents new and important insights into this experience and has contributions from Europe’s leading exhibition designers.

Archives, Museums and Collecting Practices in the Modern Arab World is a pioneering survey of practice in region that is rich in historical and cultural artefacts.

Among a range of new Heritage Studies titles are two which deal with the impact of iconic historical events and myths on national indentities today. Ireland’s 1916 Rising explores history-making and commemoration as the centenary of one of Ireland’s great events approaches. The Dracula Dilemma looks at the way that Romania has negotiated ‘Dracula tourism’ over the last four decades.

The catalogue lists the first titles in two important new or revived series.

Handbooks in International Art Business is a series published by our Lund Humphries imprint in association with Sotheby’s Institute of Art. This series draws upon the knowledge and experience of members of the faculties of the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, New York and Singapore. The first two titles are Chinese Antiquities: an introduction to the art market and Corporate Art Collections: a handbook to corporate buying.

The other series is an old friend who has much grown and is now dressed in a splendid new suit of clothes. Practical Building Conservation is a fully revised series of practical handbooks that is published in association with English Heritage. The original titles were published in 1988 and established themselves as standard reference books. The new series has extended the number of titles to a 10-volume set and all the books copiously illustrated in colour. The series covers all the main materials and building processes to be found in historic buildings.

The main contribution to the catalogue from our Gower business books imprint is The Cultural Leadership Handbook: how to run a creative organization. This title reflects the course of study for future leaders of cultural and heritage institutions that has been pioneered by the authors, Robert Hewison and John Holden, at the City University, London.

Several of the publishing programmes and series listed here are in their infancy. There is much more to come. So I hope that next time you hear the word culture you reach not for your gun* but for the Ashgate catalogue.

Nigel Farrow

Chairman, Ashgate Publishing Group

*As this is a scholarly catalogue for scholarly people, one should correct the general attribution this much used and abused remark. It may have been used by Göring, or Hess or Himmler, to name some very unpleasant people, but it actually originates in Hanns Johst’s 1933 play, Schlageter, “Wenn ich Kultur höre … entsichere ich meinen Browning” (“Whenever I hear of culture … I release the safety-catch of my Browning”).

View a pdf version of the Cultural and Heritage Management catalogue on our website

Do you have a book proposal?

We are actively commissioning new books in many areas of Cultural and Heritage Management. To discuss new ideas and proposals please contact the relevant commissioning editor:

Museums and Heritage Management – Dymphna Evans, Imogen Abed

Heritage and Identity series, Cultural Geography – Val Rose

Cultural Policy and Leadership – Martin West (Gower)

The Business of Art – Lucy Myers (Lund Humphries)

Top Ten Museum Education books of 2011

The Museum Education Monitor recently published their (almost!) final listing of the top ten Museum Education books of 2011 on their blog.

We are delighted to have two books in this list: Using Museums as an Educational Resource (Graeme Talboys) and The Cultural Leadership Handbook (by Robert Hewison and John Holden, and published by our sister imprint Gower).

The second edition of Using Museums as an Educational Resource takes account of the ongoing changes in both museums and education to provide a comprehensive introduction for student teachers, practising teachers and other educators to all that is required to make good educational use of museums.

About the Author: Graeme K. Talboys has a degree in philosophy and education as well as a teaching qualification.  He has considerable experience as a teacher, community education worker, and museum education officer.

The Cultural Leadership Handbook enables arts leaders to move from ‘just’ administration to becoming cultural entrepreneurs, turning good ideas into good business. This book will give you the edge, enabling to you to show creative leadership at any level in a cultural organization, regardless of whether your particular interest is the performing arts, museums and art galleries, heritage, publishing, films, broadcasting or new media.

About the authors: Robert Hewison is Professor of Cultural Policy and Leadership Studies at City University London and an Associate of the think tank Demos. As a cultural consultant he has worked with the South Bank Centre, the Greater London Authority, Arts Council England and the North West Cultural Consortium. John Holden is a visiting Professor at City University and an Associate at Demos. He was an investment banker before changing careers to run Business in the Arts South. He was Chair of the Anvil arts venue in Basingstoke, and now sits on the Board of the Hepworth, Wakefield and the Advisory Board of the Arts and Humanities Research Council.