Creativity in Museums: A Rewarding Workshop

Posted on March 23rd, 2015 by

On March 10, 2015, two museum educators and a visitor services coordinator ventured to Edgewater, Maryland for a workshop called “Creativity in Museums.”  This rewarding and inspiring workshop was hosted at the Historic Londontown and Gardens. Linda Norris presented this workshop based on her new book, Creativity in Museum Practice.  We discussed the importance of looking outside your work for inspiration either in a physical setting, the media, or professionals from different museums.  To get the creative juices flowing we did a brainstorming activity.  We started with a problem and wrote down a solution on a piece of paper.  Then the paper was passed to the person next to you.  This activity allowed for all voices to be heard, but also challenging because it made you think outside the box.

 Tenement House

Tenement House

Failure is inevitable in life and often occurs in the workplace.  This can be damaging to our psyche and our creative process, but is necessary.  In a small group we discussed an instance in our careers where we had failed and had to choose the best story.  Linda called this activity “Failure Olympics.”  The importance of failure is how we overcome and learn from it.  We cannot assume what our audience will like or feel about a program or an exhibition, but gathering and testing out ideas will hopefully allow us to create something interesting and meaningful.

Participants of the Failure Olympics.

Participants of the Failure Olympics.

Historic London Town and Gardens was the next subject of an activity called SCAMPER.  Each letter represented a word such as Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Other Uses, Eliminate and Rearrange or Reverse.  We explored the campus answering various questions for each word at different locations.  It was not the best activity for March as the ground was wet and soggy from the snow and rain, but it was not an overall failure.  SCAMPER helped us to re-imagine and re-purpose the space being used while learning about this history of this organization.  “Creativity in Museums” permitted us to bring fresh and creative ideas back to the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  We hope to apply these practices to future exhibitions and programs.

 William Brown House

William Brown House

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Copyright Basics: A Workshop

Posted on April 24th, 2013 by

JobiA blog post by Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink.

Friday morning, fresh from her hellacious 6 hour train trip to New York, Karen and I headed into DC for a day-long workshop about copyright basics. Trust me, if you work in a museum and you want to mount an exhibition (or post something on your blog!) you’ll want to know the basics of copyright. And what better place to learn about copyright than the Library of Congress

Karen Falk and Tessa Sobol of the Textile Museum outside the Library of Congress.

Karen Falk and Tessa Sobol of the Textile Museum outside the Library of Congress.

Before getting down to the nuts and bolts of copyright, we divided into two groups and took a tour of the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. Our tour guide, John, was very knowledgeable and highly entertaining. Karen was particularly impressed with the mosaic of Minerva: her feet seem to point directly toward you no matter where you stand to see her. (I was also obsessing with feet as my new shoes were giving me blisters.)

I highly recommend a free public tour of the Library of Congress

I highly recommend a free public tour of the Library of Congress

John Saint Amour was also our first presenter for the workshop. He gave us an overview of the copyright office and the basics of copyright. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to:

* Reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords

* Prepare derivative works based upon the works

* Distribute copies of the work to the public nu sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease or lending.

* Perform the work publically, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audio-visual works.

* Display the works publically

* Perform the work publically

Workshop participants from Virginia, DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York introduce themselves.

Workshop participants from Virginia, DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York introduce themselves.

One of the most important facts that we learned (or were reminded of), was that just because the museum owns a painting, manuscript or photograph doesn’t mean that the museum owns copyright to the item. Further, the donor who signed the Deed of Gift might not own copyright to the item, even if it has been in the family’s possession for many years, as copyright is generally retained by the creator. This gave us something to mull over while we enjoyed our lunch in the LOC cafeteria.

Copyright protection is addressed in the Constitution of the United States.

Elizabeth Alberding, RC-MAAM Chair and Registrar at the Kelly Collection, took a quick run down to the Graphic Art Galleries to see the exhibition of Gibson Girl drawings by Charles Dana Gibson, as drawings from the Kelly Collection where she is registrar were on display.

This gorgeous exhibition will be on view through August 17, 2013.

This gorgeous exhibition will be on view through August 17, 2013.

The drawings in the exhibition reminded me of Harrison Fisher’s “Baltimore Girl” advertising poster for Hutzler’s department store in the JMM collection. 1989.207.004

The drawings in the exhibition reminded me of Harrison Fisher’s “Baltimore Girl” advertising poster for Hutzler’s department store in the JMM collection. 1989.207.004

Our first afternoon session, “Is Your Coffee table Copyrighted,” with Larisa Pastuchiv was pretty lively as we discussed visual arts and copyrights. If the artistic quality of your coffee table can be separated from its functionality and exist as an independent work of art, then the artistic component can be copyrighted!  Mike Burke talked about the Digitization and Preservation projects at the LOC. Working backwards in time from 1977 the LOC is digitizing the 40 million copyright records on file.  Following current archival standards, they are making three copies of each hi-res scan and storing backups in several offsite facilities. We rounded out the afternoon with a talk about Fair Use and Public Domain with Chris Weston. Under current copyright law, copyright protection is valid for the life of the author/artist plus 70 years and anything published before 1923 is in the public domain. Of course the examples Chris cited indicate that “fair use” is subject to interpretation.

table 1 The carving and inlay are copyrightable, but the tables themselves are not.

table 2

This day-long workshop was presented by MAAM –the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums– as part of their Cornerstones Program. At $40 for members/$60 for non-members Cornerstones are a great bang for your buck! Check out the next Cornerstones Program – Understanding the Financials!

UNDERSTANDING THE FINANCIALS
MAY 7 at the Liberty Science Center
9:30 AM – 3:00 PM

• Reading Financial Statements
• Developing Budgets
• Understanding the 990 Forms
• Case Study: Relocating the Shuttle Enterprise, from a Financial View

DOWNLOAD THE REGISTRATION FORM

A one-day program focused on valuable financial knowledge for museum executives presented by experienced colleagues and industry professionals.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Jewish Communal Service Association 2012 Annual Program

Posted on June 9th, 2012 by

By Development Coordinator Amy Smith

On Tuesday, Marvin Pinkert,Susan Press, and I attended the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America’s 2012 Annual Program at the Park Heights JCC.  I was excited that JCSA chose to hold their program in Baltimore this year.  The day provided a great opportunity for engaging professional development and to network with other Jewish communal professionals.  And it was right around the corner!

Hundreds of Baltimore Jewish communal professionals enjoy some breakfast and network before the program begins.

The program opened with a keynote speech by Dr. Charles Edelsberg of the Jim Joseph Foundation.  Rabbi Larry Ziffer gave the D’var Torah.  For the first breakout session, I attended Elissa Maier’s workshop on Managing Up.  In it, we used a tool called the Pace Palette to understand different communication styles in order to work more effectively with others.  http:///www.paceorg.com/

The Pace Palette – are you a red, yellow, green or blue?

Over a delicious Mediterranean lunch, there was a lively discussion panel on the topic of change.  In the afternoon, I attended the workshop How to Communicate with Presence led by Sarah Gershman.  Focusing on presence, message, and voice, Sarah gave useful advice about how to hone your public speaking skills in order to better reach your audience.

Here I am with Amy and Megan, two colleagues from Jewish Volunteer Connection.

The day was a positive experience in terms of professional development and one that I look forward to repeating next year.  In the end, I was reminded of why I am a Jewish communal professional in the first place – it is rewarding to be part of such a vibrant and passionate Baltimore community.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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