Five Personal Favorites from the American Association of Museums 2011 Annual Meeting
Bluecadet sent a team down to Houston this week to man our booth in the Expo and attend some of AAM's great sessions, and I was happy to be in the mix. Here's a run-down of my personal favorites from this year's annual meeting.
Photo by Michael Nagle from moma.org
Shared by Elizabeth Margulies in the session "Interactive Spaces in Art Museums: Laboratories for Visitors and Museum Staff," I loved the simplicity of this exhibit and how it could appeal to a wide range of audiences. The design is bold and typographical, yet the materials are simple: magnetic spraypaint, vinyl magnet sheets and yoga blocks. The magnets are cut into geometric and organic shapes, and the yoga blocks allow for experimentation with three dimensional forms. Booklets hanging off the wall next to each station provide educational cues that help direct visitor learning. (I think I have a new plan for our office walls!) See more about Shape Lab here.
This was one of my favorite examples of museum content aimed at accessibility, presented by Danielle Linzer, the Whitney's Manager of Access and Community Programs. The videos are fun and engaging and watching the ASL signers adds an interesting layer of movement to the videos, even if you don't understand the signs. See more of their ASL vlogs here.
If you're in Houston, make sure to stop by this quirky art house. Perfect for fans of AVAM in Baltimore or the Magic Gardens in Philadelphia, the Orange Show represents one man's tribute to everyone's favorite orange fruit... the orange. It was the perfect setting for Sunday night's NAME party and a great way to kick off the conference. Learn more about the Orange Show here.
I had a great time listening to Michael Harvey from the Australian Museum. His portion of the session focused on the Australian Museum's social media presence and how they have capitalized on staff interests, in the form of an entire blog dedicated to fish, and on visitor interests, in the form of a blob(fish). I had seen the blobfish photo "Mr. Blobby" around the internet, and it was great to learn that the museum had been able to leverage the popularity of this photo into engagement with potential visitors via a facebook page and on their website.
Photo by Kerryn Parkinson from australianmuseum.net.au
Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, gets a lot of hate mail from 3rd graders now that Pluto is no longer considered a planet. He shared one of these letters with us during his keynote speech on Wednesday, and you can read this one and more here. Adorable hate mail aside, in his speech Neil deGrasse Tyson focused on the big problem of scientific and mathematical illiteracy in our country with examples ranging from elevators to newspaper headlines. It will definitely continue to be a big challenge point for museums in the future.