Follow up to: a museumgeek-in-residence

Wow! Time flies. I was just looking back over my posts of recent weeks, and realised I had not yet written an update to my post on being a museumgeek-in-residence whilst in the States this November. Eep.

When I first came up with the idea of being a museologist-in-residence, I wasn’t absolutely sure that anyone would be as into the idea as I was. It was a wonderful surprise when I received a number of really interesting offers, from institutions big and small across the States (and one in Australia, too). Thank you SO much to those who responded and offered me the chance to come and visit. In truth, I would have absolutely loved to take up any of those opportunities, because they each offered something different and interesting. But with only one of me and one week available, I can only attend one institution, and so I have decided to accept a joint invitation from a number of staff at the Smithsonian Institution. It is such a radically different institution from anything here in Australia, in terms of scope and scale, and getting a tiny insight into its world piqued my interest.

At this time, there are still lots of details to be worked out in order to make it happen. Cross fingers that we can work through any complexities in the coming months, and come up with an interesting program for me, the Smithsonian, and for readers too. I will post updates as they come through, but in the mean time, thanks to all those who took the time to get in contact and invite me to your institutions. I hope that in the coming year or so, I might find a way to take up a few more of those offers. Being a travelling museologist-in-residence could be both a very fun way for me to learn, and also a useful way to share that learning with the sector. One sentiment that keeps coming up in discussions about this is how many people are interested in having someone visit, and in finding new ways to connect directly with people in other areas of the sector in order to learn from that contact. There seems to be a lot of value in this as a model, so it would be nice to find ways to make this happen for people other than me as well. (Or just invite me to come and play in your institution! That sounds like fun too.)

In the mean time, I am very much looking forward to being a museumgeek-in-reSIdence. It will be amazing to get an insider’s view. Thank you to those at the Institution who are working towards making it possible.

I also wanted to do a very quick thank you to some people in my home town, whose support is also incredibly valuable. This year, the Friends of the University of Newcastle, a wonderful group of benefactors whose work supports both capital and student investment at my home university, decided to award a new scholarship for a postgraduate student in fine art. The Friends do incredible work each year, holding a used book sale and (now) an art sale, in order to raise money for these scholarships. I was absolutely honoured on Friday to be the recipient of the Inaugural Margaret Olley Friends of the University Postgraduate Scholarship in Fine Art, an award recognising research innovation and merit. The scholarship is for $2000 to be put towards research costs, and will help me pay for my travel to the USA this November.

Both the scholarship, and the offer to have me as a museumgeek-in-residence from the Smithsonian and other institutions, continue to reinforce for me just how valuable a supportive community is for any work. And because my community includes those of you who read and respond to the blog, I just wanted to do a shout out to you, too. Thanks!

8 thoughts on “Follow up to: a museumgeek-in-residence

  1. Catherine, thank you. This opportunity exists in no small part thanks to you, so I’ll have to find my way into the archives (not to mention that doing so would give me a better understanding of archives in general).

    Gretchen, that sounds great. I am hoping to catch up with Elizabeth Merritt too, and would love to find time to meet you too.

    BTW – within minutes of posting this, a discussion started b/w a few different people about mechanisms that could be put in place to enable others to have similar exchange learning opportunites, especially with an international focus. I don’t know if anything will come of them, but there is definite interest in these kinds of in-institution learning opportunities (like visiting academics, I suppose). My own state museums association runs a great program to this effect. Does anyone else know of similar programs or opportunites?

    1. Ha! I’d love to have a squad of museumgeeks-in-residence. We could fight the good fight for museology, and maybe even wear sweet masks or cool costumes. We’d need some of kind of base, right, where we could connect and regroup, before disbanding off into museums around the world again, documenting what we learn and sharing it with the sector.

      Actually, this isn’t sounding half bad. It would be interesting if we could find a couple of institutional sponsors to host a regular or ongoing in-house museologist-in-residence program that professionals from across the sector could apply to be part of. I think the documentation of learning to share/make public the outcomes and reflections would be a significant part of this, as would (ideally) drawing people from different parts of the museum. Hmm. Once I’ve been to the SI, I will probably have some better ideas of how this idea could develop. Something to think about for sure.

      1. We are still working out those details. With only a week, time is a factor, so it’s trying to work out what will suit and be achievable. I imagine by late October or so we’ll start to have a better picture of what this might look like, so I’ll provide a more concrete update then.

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