How to #MuseumFromHome

A blog post by Director of Collections and Exhibits Joanna Church. To read more posts by Joanna click HERE.

What does a registrar do when she’s required to work from home for an extended period of time? There’s plenty of JMM work to do remotely, don’t get me wrong, but nevertheless the best part of my job is the actual processing and arranging of the collections, the stuff, which is safely stored in the museum… many miles away from my new home office.  I have wonderful intentions of working on my own family collections – photo albums to digitize, 19th century diaries to transcribe, databases to create and share with relatives – but I must admit that this project hasn’t gotten very far. However, I did spend this past Sunday morning arranging one of my bookcases into rainbow order, so… that’s something?

When #NationalLibraryWeek goes wrong.

 I don’t know if anyone else is subjecting their innocent bookcases to random rearrangement, but I can tell that other folks at home are taking the opportunity to dive into their own family history, because requests for JMM photos and genealogy research have both ticked up in the past few weeks. Lorie and I are doing our best to answer these as they come in, without being able to access the collections and reference materials in person; it is a testament to the hard work of many volunteers (since it is also #VolunteerAppreciationWeek) that we can do so much from home, via our digitized collections. We’re also using this time to tackle some database clean-up projects, improving the written data on – and thus the intellectual access to – our archives, photographs, and artifacts. I can’t tell you how much I love being able to get into our PastPerfect software from home. This is not sarcasm!

My work-from-home coworker is a little nosy, checking up on my emails and this database entry for a green silk dress.

There are a lot of other… and less nerdy… ways to enjoy museums from home, of course. We’ve been sharing a lot of JMM resources online (may I suggest Wondernauts,  our collections-themed virtual escape room, or the Where in the World in Mendes Cohen quiz on our The Amazing Mendes activities page?), as have other museums, galleries, aquariums, botanical gardens, and zoos from around the world.

Whether it’s a virtual tour or a video of penguins visiting jellyfish, a guided art activity or the chance to use paper plates and a bedsheet to turn yourself into your favorite painting, a series of online workshops or a series of fun memes and hashtags to brighten your feed, the museum world is working hard to make sure folks have a wide variety of ways to #MuseumFromHome. What’s your favorite activity or opportunity so far? Share it in the comments so others can enjoy!


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