Monday, February 25, 2008


Enjoy this week's museum news from the NY Times:
  • Acropolis Museum to Open in September:
Published: February 22, 2008

The new Acropolis museum in Athens will open in September, the Greek culture minister announced on Wednesday. “In one month, we are to finish moving all the pieces from the old museum,” the minister, Michalis Liapis, said during a visit to the site, Agence France-Presse reported. The new museum, above, designed by the Franco-Swiss architect Bernary Tschumi, is a three-level, 270,000-square-foot structure, including a room on the top floor with an area reserved for the Elgin Marbles, now in the British Museum in London. Greece has long sought the return of the friezes. The new Acropolis museum was to have been completed for the 2004 Olympics in Greece but encountered bureaucratic and technical setbacks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Brewing Exhibit in St. Louis

Ahh, two of my favorite things together: beer brewing & museums. Check out this blog post and this article about a brewing exhibit at the Missouri History Museum.

I've always thought it would be interesting to do a similar exhibit about Portsmouth breweries. Many people don't realize that in the mid-nineteenth century, Portsmouth was home to at least three major breweries. The Frank Jones brewery alone was one of the biggest producers on the East Coast, if not the country!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Revisionist History is a Dangerous Thing

At Berra Museum, the Display of Clemens' Jersey Is Over
By Richard Sandomir, story reproduced below)

OK, let me preface this by revealing my bias. I am an avid Red Sox fan. From 1984 to 1996, I was a Clemens fan. However, his seasons with the Yankees and his declaration that he would refuse to be inducted into the Hall of Fame wearing a Sox jersey have long since soiled his reputation in my eyes.

Despite my personal dislike for the Rocket, however, it's hard to deny his career stats. In a sense, that's what the Yogi Berra Museum is trying to do here. In the article, the museum's director says that they decided to remove Clemens' jersey from the exhibit because kids were asking questions they weren't prepared to answer. Now, I may be new to the museum profession, but isn't that the purpose of public history institutions - to answer important questions for the public?

The director also says that the museum does have an educational component which deals with steroids, which he feels is the "proper context" for the issue. While it's very good that the museum has incorporated that element into its interpretation, I still feel that removing Clemens' jersey altogether is a poor way to handle the question of his having (or not having) taken steroids.

The erasure of Roger Clemens' presence in an exhibit on the mid-1990s through 2000 Yankees is a clear omission now. What concerns me even more is what later generations will see. All history, particularly public history, is influenced by bias. However, the conscious extraction of a central figure in this period of Yankee history (as much as I try to avoid thinking about Yankee history) is akin to the removal of radical persons from Soviet-era photographs. No matter how you sell it, it's revisionist history and it's a slippery slope.

Read the article below and form your own opinion:

"The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center last week removed a Roger Clemens jersey from an exhibit about the Yankee renaissance that started in the mid-1990s.

“We’re trying to project the positive virtues of baseball,” said David Kaplan, the director of the museum, which has an educational mission. “And we have a lot of kids coming through here who are asking questions we’re not prepared to answer.” He added that Clemens’s “jersey was raising too many issues” because of his “notoriety.”

Clemens is defending himself against accusations by his former personal trainer Brian McNamee that McNamee injected him with steroids and human growth hormone. Clemens and McNamee testified Wednesday at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Kaplan said that he and Art Berke, the chief operating officer of the museum, which is on the campus of Montclair State University in Little Falls, N.J., decided to remove the jersey.

Berra, the living embodiment of Yankees success starting in the late 1940s, was later made aware of the decision.

The museum obtained official game jerseys of Clemens, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera from the Yankees in 2003 to use as representations of three high-profile players who were on the team during its run of four World Series championships in five years.

Kaplan said Clemens’s jersey would not be reintroduced even if he was exonerated because the exhibit now features two of the players, Jeter and Rivera, who played for the team throughout the title run. Clemens’s first tenure with the Yankees, from 1999 to 2003, coincided with two of the four championships. Clemens returned to the Yankees last season.

Without Clemens’s jersey, Kaplan said, “it’s more accurate, to be honest.” He added, “We felt we just wanted to celebrate the guys who were there from the beginning.”

Clemens’s jersey is in storage at the museum. Kaplan said he expected the museum to return it to the Yankees. “It’s been on indefinite loan to us,” he said.

Although the exhibits are geared heavily toward Berra and the Yankees, the museum is devoted to using sports to elevate academic achievement and sportsmanship.

One of its educational series, which is offered at the museum and at schools, involves an examination of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

“We don’t avoid the subject, but we do it in the proper context,” Kaplan said.

Berra and Clemens have been friendly over the years. Clemens has played in Berra’s golf tournament, which benefits the museum, and he participated in a panel discussion about great pitchers."

Monday, February 4, 2008


For us New Englanders still getting over the Patriots' loss in the Super Bowl, here's a list of currently open & upcoming exhibits in the New England area. Maybe they'll help distract us.

A lot of museum news in the NY Times this week:

MADRID (Reuters) - Madrid's Reina Sofia museum is about to open one of the most extensive Picasso exhibitions as it hosts works on loan from the National Picasso Museum in Paris to add to those already on view in the Spanish capital.

Beginning on Wednesday, the Reina Sofia will show more than 400 paintings, sculptures, engravings, drawings, notebooks, ceramic art and even 20 photographs ranging from the legendary Spanish artist's first portraits at the end of the 19th century to work from late 1972, shortly before his death in 1973.

The Reina Sofia contemporary art museum has been able to add to its stock of works by Pablo Picasso due to building work at the Musee National Picasso in Paris. A Spanish government grant of 3.5 million euros ($5.2 million) also made the exhibition possible.

The museum will house the loaned exhibits in three halls usually dedicated to temporary exhibitions and alongside works in the permanent collection such as "Guernica," the emblematic painting depicting the horrors of Spain's 1936-39 civil war.


"This is the only one (exhibition) which shows his work from start to finish and across the range of works," Anne Baldassari, director of the Picasso Museum in Paris, told journalists on Monday.

"It presents a previously unseen concept of Picasso," she added. "It has not been done before and will never be able to be done again."

The exhibition is divided into four periods. The first, from 1895-1924, covers Picasso's first portraits, cubist and neo-classical works including "The Death of Casagemas," one of the first in his "blue period."

The second period, 1924-1935, includes several surrealist sculptures by the artist born in the southern city of Malaga in 1881, such as "Heads" and "Bust of a Woman."

The 1933-1951 period places some of Picasso's most famous works in the context of his preoccupation with the civil war, like "Woman Crying" and "The Supplicant."

The final 1947-1972 period covers exhibits ranging from "Picasso's version of pop art," in the words of museum curator Baldassari, to ceramics and sketchbooks.