Museum Methods Term Paper

Pages: 17 (5430 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 20  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

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Although I agree with the basic structure of this definition, I would prefer more emphasis on the level of required professional standards necessary to designate an institution as a museum. Many non-profit institutions are established to enrich our society including, schools, libraries and community social and cultural organizations. Many of these institutions are essential in the preservation of values and identity and education of our citizens. The term museum should not be generally applied to these entities simply because they offer public enrichment under a non-profit designation. Museums should also be very clear in determining the scope of the institution; their role should be defined with clarity and selectivity, and with a recognition of wider social and cultural purpose. Attracting individuals with comparable interests to explore a museum is challenging enough, removing the common interest or deviating from a specific topic displays a lack of focus to the public. Scope should be determined by the board of trustees to ensure compatibility with a mission statement. Retaining scope throughout the years of operation is imperative to the success of a museum. Looking beyond the challenge of what should be collected and preserved and what is not appropriate for collection, museums must strive to deliberately maintain a focused scope when considering loans, passive and active exhibits and collections.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Museum Methods Museum Is Usually Assignment

I consider myself as having a clear commitment to this vision of the purpose of a museum, expressed in a number of ways. I maintain a supportive affiliation with the American Association of Museums as an Associate Member (Evidence file, Item 1).* I am also a contributing member of the Florida Museum of Natural History (Evidence File, Item 2).* I have maintained a membership with the Historical Preservation Society of San Juan Capistrano, California and the Mission San Juan Capistrano (Evidence File, Item 3).* I am an active member with the Museum of Natural History at Crane Point Hammock, Marathon, Florida (Evidence File, Item 4).* Many other museums, scientific foundations and education facilities have my attention and support. I am listing these specific museums and foundations because I believe that they have defined missions that correlate with my philosophy in museology. I also believe that these institutions embody the true meaning of the term 'museum' as set forth by the American Association of Museums.

The American Association of Museums works to create uniformity within the field of museum science on both the national and international levels. The association seeks to define relative terms and structure to a discipline with a vast array of potential institutions seeking accreditation and recognition. This area of museum standardization, licensure and accreditation is a hot topic in contemporary museology. Standardization is intended to encourage professionalism and accurate representation, and I believe that standards do have the potential to establish a sense of coherence in an industry with a large number of vastly varying organizations. The extraordinary variety in institutions claiming to be museums has tended to obstruct standardization, since many exhibitory businesses would be disrupted or lost in the process of structuring a required professional uniformity within the museum field.

Another possibility in standardization is individual accreditation of museum staff members, requiring professional adherence to specific standards in museology. Goal-oriented to provide completeness, education and truth in service to community at large, museum professionals tend to be very diligent in maintaining standards for the sake of preserving museum integrity, honesty and accuracy. Museum professionals are not in the business of museum science for the high pay scale, working in a museum takes extraordinary dedication to a passionate cause. Museum professionalism is very similar to the teaching profession. The professional intentions are rarely questioned because the individual must have a greater purpose than income in the selection of the occupation. I have been a teacher for more than a decade, and I volunteer many of my leisure hours to museums. I understand the concepts of working with a defined purpose and have encountered many museum professionals who hold the same work ethic and express the same diligence and integrity.

The varied goals of museums is a controversial issue in museum science and museography. Museums have a duty to the public to classify and catalogue materials in a manner that is consistent with industry standards. Every museum should have a defined mission statement that focuses the combined efforts of all museums professionals within the institution to achieve a cooperative goal. Successful museums utilized the staff members and resources to fulfil the mission defined by the institution. As evidence I am including a copy of the stated function and purpose of the State of Florida's Museum of Natural History in this portfolio. This was obtained through my research of the function and purpose of museums (Evidence File, Item 5).*

The 'public face' of any museum is its presentation of its exhibits, and a range of ethical, scholarly and practical issues must be considered in planning any museum exhibition. There are many approaches in creating museum exhibits. Keeping scope and budget in mind, a director can influence the creation of new exhibits for permanent display in coordination with design specialists and department heads. A survey of space and function should be conducted prior to the design process. Examination of the potential floor plan should be reviewed. A security and conservation audit is the next logical step in exhibit creation. Revisions and formal approval by the governing body of the institution is required in most museum exhibit planning. Signage, publicity, promotion can be paramount to the success of an exhibit. Announcements should be sent to include potential donors and museum members to the opening of a new exhibit creating the feeling of inclusion and appreciation. Lists provided by the Board of Directors, director, curators and the staff, including volunteer staff and docents should provide a base for philanthropists within the community. Corporations with a history of donating to nonprofit organizations should be targeted and represented in the guest list. Events, sneak previews and gatherings held to promote a new exhibit could function as a fundraiser for future exhibits and overall museum funding.

Special activities and museum-sponsored events should extend into the community at many levels, providing education and the expansion of understanding and appreciation. Many museums offer classes in an extension program to reach the public. Youth classes and camps are offered by many facilities as a way of both education the next generation and creating a connection with the funding population of the museums future. The Historical Preservation Society of San Juan Capistrano, and the affiliated Mission San Juan Capistrano, offers an example of the creation of a very active educational outreach program which supports the mission of a site of historical preservation that is worthy of the term museum. The restoration reflects genuine effort in preserving the cultural, anthropological and historical resources of the mission. The site offers educational displays and scientific explorations for the public. Educational seminars and training are offered to the community on a regular basis. Research is conducted on the museum grounds and throughout the region by the supportive collaboration between the museum and other historical missions in California (Mission San Juan Capistrano web site). Such research and education programs are an important way to achieve what one scholar has called the 'happy balance between mass public appeal and scholarly respectability' (Ames, 30) that underlies a successful museum's appeal to both public entertainment and the expansion and extension of knowledge.

Training provided to the community should be carefully planned to ensure liability and security issues are not affected. Seminars can be presented to educate adult and college-level learners by the deliberate teachings of museum staff, and guest speakers. I have attended several seminars held at the Scripts Institute, Stephen Birch Aquarium in La Jolla, California, as an adult learner and a contributor. My experience with the guest lecturing process was very positive.

Controversy over the nature of museums and their mission, and the context of funding constraint that influences many of their activities, is reflected in the issues of museum staffing and administration. The rise in the importance of the work of volunteers, as noted above, reflects funding pressures on the maintenance of permanent staff. Volunteers often staff membership centers and sales desks, they also are commonly found as docents serving in an educational capacity. Staffing in a museum setting is as diverse as museum collections, varying according to the budgets and collections' needs for security. In smaller museums, the key departmental employees may function as multitasking employees in coordination with additional duties the ticket office, gift store, tour department as a docent, maintenance, exhibits design or other general administrative tasks. Elsewhere in museum hierarchies the need to raise funds has increasingly become the paramount defining factor in organization and administration. Many larger museums have a strict organizational structure,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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