Sunday, 11 May 2014

#MuseumWeek #AskTheCurator

Museum Week on Twitter:

My personal round-up

twitterfeed museumweek j

All throughout the last week of March, I loved the #MuseumWeek hashtag hosted on Twitter (24-29 March 2014).

Day 1 Mon:   #MuseumWeek #DayInTheLife
Day 2 Tues:   #MuseumWeek  #MuseumMastermind
Day 3 Wed:   #MuseumWeek  #MuseumMemories
Day 4 Thurs:   #MuseumWeek  #BehindTheArt
Day 5 Fri:   #MuseumWeek  #AskTheCurator
Day 6: Sat:   #MuseumWeek  #museumselfie
Day 7 Sun:  #MuseumWeek #GetCreative

Day 5 was totally busy for me with my favourite  hashtag:  #AskTheCurator.

I asked a lot of museums and galleries, and here's what they answered:

Cambridge museums:

@ZoologyMuseum.  Museum of Zoology, Cambridge.
Where is the whale?
The whale is in a building near the Museum, and its skull in its own purpose-built box outside.  Watch on youtube.

© Ben Harris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

@kettlesyard    Kettle's Yard, Cambridge.
If you weren't a curator, what job would you like to have?
Several of our curators past and present were artists first, so maybe artists, others have told me they would be writers.

Kettle's Yard with sculpture Seated Woman (1914) by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska; source:

@MAACambridge  Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge.
Who leaves offerings for Ganesh in the bookshop?  Does that happen with other works as well?
It's a museum mystery... there's no offerings at the moment but who knows when more might 

We think it's a member of staff but no one knows who -- it's being kept very secret!

Ganesh the Museum of Archaelogy and Anthropology, Cambridge (mounted on wall near entrance)

@FitzMuseum_UK    The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
Has anyone ever prayed in front of or otherwise worshipped any of the religious art?
Yes, but not Christian art.  People have prayed before the big golden Buddha which being conserved.

I couldn't find the identity of this 'big golden Buddha'.  The Fitzwilliam's online collections catalogue lists one gilt Buddha from 8th/9th-century Korea but it is only 17.5 cm high.  There is no picture of this Buddha so I'm illustrating with a similar Buddha from New York for comparison:

Korean Buddha, Silla period (8th C), gilt bronze, 14 cm high, © Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Source:  The Met.

How many works of art does the collection have?
We now have just under 450 - all by women artists.

Ulyana Gumeniuk, Family, 2001; New Hall Art Collection (Murray Edwards College, Cambridge)
More about Gumeniuk's painting in my blog post here.

London museums:

@NPGLondon  National Portrait Gallery, London.

Are there any portraits of curators in the National Portrait Gallery?
There are indeed!  Here's the most recent curatorial group shot.

Curators of the NPG; © photographer Natalia Calvocoressi; source:  NPG

@CourtauldGall  The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, London.
What is the most popular painting in your collection?
I think Manet's Bar is probably the most popular -- is it your favourite?

Manet at the Courtauld.   Source:  VisitLondon.

@SpencerCookham  The Stanley Spencer Gallery, Cookham, England.
What are the challenges for a small non-London gallery? (Fit them into one tweet...?)
Networking.  Marketing.  Copyright.  Volunteers.  Money.  Time.  Visitors.  Security.  London.  Access.  Technology.  Retailing.

Stanley Spencer Gallery; © Lagosman (Creative Commons license); source:  Wikipedia

Rest of UK and rest of world:

What is the percentage of art made by men in the Historical Museum collection?
It's really difficult to say, since we have around 5 million objects in the collection.  So let's say - most of them :)
State Historical Museum of Russia; ©Nadvik / Надвик (Creative Commons licence); source:  Wikimedia
What is the percentage of art made by men in Dresden's art collections?
Great question, but difficult to answer for our 1.5 million artworks.  We own various works by female artists, e.g. Rosalba Carriera.

Rosalba Carriera, Africa, pastel drawing, early 18th C; Dresden, Gemäldegalerie; source: xwFfAvazJkgUTQ at Google Cultural Institute (Public Domain) / Wikimedia

@WomenInTheArts  National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC, USA.
What has been your most popular exhibition?
We think our show with the highest attendance was  'Julie Taymor: Playing with Fire' (2000-01).

A personal response to Julie Taymor in MacMomDaly's blog.

Another exhibition with big attendance was 'Berthe Morisot: An Impressionist and Her Circle' (2005).

Berthe Morisot, The Cage, 1885, source: National Museum of Women in the Arts

@museocinema  Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Turin, Italy.
What has been the most popular film?
This one.

Recognise it? 

@MuseoGuggenheim  Guggenheim Museum in Bilbão.
How often do you weed and water Koons puppy?
Nearly every day!

Jeff Koons, Puppy, 1992, flowers and structure, 12 meters high, outside the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbão, northern Spain; © Noebse (Creative Commons license); source:  Wikimedia

@MIAQatar  Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar.
What are the three top abilities or aptitudes needed to work in a museum of Islamic art?
We will get back to you on Sunday with answers from our curators during office hours.
 (I'm still waiting... *g*)

Source: MIA

@museiincomune  Rome's Civic Museums Network
What are the three top skills needed to work in a museum?
Flexibility, expertise and a welcoming attitude towards visitors.
Answer given by our Sovrintendente Claudio Parisi Presicce.

Superintendent Claudio Parisi Presicce; source: il giornale dell'

@Kunsthalle_KA  Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Germany.
What are the three most popular works with children in your gallery?
Popular works for kids:  F. Porbus' Ludwig XIII & his wife; Manet's Le petit Lange; Kandinsky's Improvisation 13.

I asked this question because I once did an internship at the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, and they were brilliant at museum education with children.  It seems, they still are!

Frans Pourbus the Younger, Anne of Austria, 1616, Kunsthalle Karlsruhe; source: Wikimedia (public domain)

Frans Pourbus the Younger, Louis XIII, 1616, Karlsruhe; source:  artprints on demand
St Michael's kindergarten children in the Kunsthalle, playing dress-ups as Anna of Austria and Louis XIII; source:  Kindergarten St Michael, Ötigheim

Edouard Manet, Child's Portrait (Little Lange), 1862; source: bellekunst's blog

Children from Kindergarten Storchennest in the Kunsthalle in front of Manet's Le petit Lange; source:  'Storchennest', Evangelischer Kindergarten in Stein

What the children said about their visit (translated from the nursery school's website):

Enja: "We looked at a picture, and then we made art works ourselves.  There was once a princess in the castle who collected pictures."
Pascal:  "There was a well there, and there was a hall with a whole lot of pictures."
Hannes:  "To get to the pictures we had to climb up a lot of stairs."
Fabian:  "There were alarm systems there."
Lena:  "Then we looked at a picture of 'Le petit Lange'."
Alicia:  "I saw a picture with the boy."

Yannik:  "The painter stood him there and then painted him."
Dominik:  "He was wearing black trousers.  And the woman dressed up Yannik like that."
Samuel: "The boy had a hat and shoes for tying on, a sort of over-the-top socks."
Luca:  "We then painted ourselves.  We got mirrors."
Patrice:  "Miss Ade had to take photos without a flash, otherwise the colour would melt."

Vassily Kandinsky, Improvisation 13, 1910; source: Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

Bietigheim primary school children in the Kunsthalle, making art after having looked at Kandinsky; source:  GWRS Bietigheim

No reply:

I never got an answer from the following museums:

@DulwichGallery  Dulwich Picture Gallery, London.
What are the three key skills you need to work in a gallery or museum?

@DeMorganCentre.  The William and Evelyn De Morgan Centre, London.
What's your favourite work in the gallery?

@britishmuseum  The British Museum, London.
How many people work at the British Museum?

@MuseumLudwig  Museum Ludwig, Cologne (Germany).
How often do you launder the towel in Tom Wesselman's bathroom work?

Tom Wesselman, Bathtub, 1963, Museum Ludwig; source: laat mij maar lopen blog

@KunsthalleMannh  Kunsthalle Mannheim (Germany).
How do you cater for children in the museum?

@ArtGalleryofNSW  Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (Australia).
What is the most popular work in the gallery?

@BgoArtGallery  Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria (Australia).
How did Schmalz's Too Late end up in your gallery?

Herbert Schmalz, Too Late, 1884, source: Bendigo Art Gallery (public domain)

@CVersailles  Château de Versailles (France).
Do you ever get people doing political demonstrations in or outside the château?

@LindenMuseum  Linden-Museum, Stuttgart (Germany).
What is the difference between ethnography and anthropology?  How do these relate to Völkerkunde?

@Tate  Tate, London (and elsewhere).
What is the percentage of art made by men in the Tates' collections?

@ngadc  National Gallery of Art, Washington DC (USA).
What is the percentage of art made by men in the gallery's collection?

@MuseeLouvre  Musée du Louvre, Paris (France).
What is the percentage of art made by men in the Louvre's collection?

New Hall Art Collection of women artists, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge
Percentage of art made by men: zero.  Doesn't redress the balance but still: yay!

I hope we have another #MuseumWeek next year!


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