Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Museo Journal

In class today, we discussed creating a journal or website to record our thoughts on material culture and museum studies. My initial instinct, honed from years of pack rat practice, was to buy a nice paper journal and stuff it with notes, articles, photos, etc.

However, over two years of personal blogging have taught me that blogs are one of the better ways to induce me to stick with regular writing. My bookshelf is littered with personal journals that I started and never hung onto.

So, here we go. I named the blog "Museophilia" because I believe it means "love of museums." While the blog will initially be about material culture for this class' purposes, I hope to expand it outwards into all area of the profession I have chosen. As much as I wish it would, my personal blog is just too full of nephew photos and long ramblings to ever be able to land me a job.

In our first class, we reviewed the syllabus and discussed the assignments and expectations of the course. I think this will be a great learning experience and I appreciate that our professor has created a variety of assignments. Each one seems like it will help us develop a different skill to interpret material objects, and do so with ever greater efficiency & understanding.

On a related note, I was doing some work with wooden planes at my internship site this morning. As I recorded accession numbers, I admired the old tools, their wooden sides worn smooth from use. The cooper walked by and said, "Neat, huh? Now imagine actually working with them."

And that's the point in some way. We learn the stories behind these objects based on their individual components. Yet, those components are usually just that - pieces of a whole. Understanding the whole object and its utility (be it real utility or decorative) requires the museum professional to consider the human component. And that's what I think visitors tend to respond to - the image of themselves interacting with the object in some way.

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