What does your ideal museum job look like?

This section of the course has grabbed my attention and made me ask many questions about myself, much like the one prompting this post. I recently completed an internship With Dr. Kathrine Ringsmuth for the University of Alaska Anchorage. I aided in the production of a featurette that will be presented alongside some of the pieces in an exhibit titled Mug Up, based around the Naknek Canneries in Bristol Bay. Originally the exhibit had been slated for 2021-22. However, depending on the current virus situation, it could be long until I get to see the product of my effort on display. Regardless, I found this experience to be a great insight into the way that these exhibitions come to be, along with my discovery of the class in the UAF catalog, which has made me very excited about the possibility of becoming employed at a museum.

I enjoyed being on a production team for a work that can help illustrate a lot about the things presented in the Exhibition. I also very much enjoy working with my hands; I feel that the opportunity to further develop my industrial skills through the service to a museum could be incredibly rewarding. This possible role would definitely require some further training before it could become a reality. I am afraid my carpentry skills are pedestrian at best. The prospect of getting to assemble the features of an exhibit sounds like a lot of fun. The Exhibition I interned on with Dr. Ringsmuth consisted of a variety of staged areas, one of which was a recreation of a cannery slime line. I think that in attempting to recreate these scenes and objects, you can learn a lot about them. Perhaps in the future, I can donate more of my time to the project in order to get my hands in the mix somehow.

This is a rendering of the exhibition my work will be shown in. Taken from the <NN> cannery Project, who can be found at the following URL. https://nncanneryproject.com

I also find that I might be keen on the curation aspect of things. Choosing the items contained within the collections is arguably one of the most essential jobs in a museum. After all, what would a museum be without its items? I think to exceed in this role, I would need to identify and read the many books that I am certain to exist on the design and curation of a museum exhibit. I find that making choices of what you do and do not show people can have a massive effect on an exhibit’s credibility. I have been able to visit many here in the Anchorage Museum that has never left me feeling like any of them were idealizing their subject but rather carefully analyzing. I think Idealizing is definitely a trap that can be easy to fall into and perpetuate if one does not even realize they are doing it. I am curious about what titles can be considered the “classics” relating to this topic?

4 Thoughts to “Discussion 3”

  1. Erin Gingrich

    While I do not have any resources to share in regards to your question about books on exhibit design and curation, I am excited to see the project you shared! I have been to Naknek and seen the cannery from across the river. Naknek is a unique and beautiful community and I am very happy to see some of its history being shared and highlighted. Quyana!

  2. Michael Hubert

    Dylan , I too would like to see some resources for your question. but also I would like to see the work you are doing, where will this be and when? looks great so far.

  3. Barbara Long

    Good Evening,

    A lovely post. The comment about choosing an item to start formulating your exhibit is awesome. It only takes one idea or an artifact to get someone to create a thought provoking exhibit. For your question: relating to the classics, there is so much to choose from within this realm. There are many books that come to mind, maybe a collection of great wax figures of authors and their original works.

  4. Angela Linn

    Dylan this is great that you got to work with Katie Ringsmuth (incidentally, now the new Alaska State Historian!) on the Mug Up exhibit. I hope you’re able to travel to the Alaska State Museum in Juneau when it’s ready to be installed and work with their exhibit team. Keep an eye out for internships once our staffing levels are able to be increased in the future. That said, digital media production is also becoming a vitally important part of how museums deliver content so skills you already have might already position you to have a foot in the door!
    Let’s chat over email if you’re looking for some essential readings on your topic of interest!

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