17 January 2009

In which I look at a museum blog

Eric Espig, one of the creators of F Blog, had sent out an e-mail on a Museum listserv asking for comments on his work. He and his partner, both museum studies graduates, were organizing an exhibit called Cold War Berlin: Life at the Breaking Point for the Diefenbunker in Ottawa, to open May 2009. And they are documenting the entire installation.

The first question is, why? Why go to all the trouble to create a blog and post about the everyday issues that come up while installing a museum exhibit? My first thought would be that they were first and foremost posting this information for themselves, as a keepsake of a large project they had put months of work into - maybe their first large self-designed exhibit. Reading through the posts, however, makes it clear that this blog contains great advice on the practicalities of physically transforming a space into an historical exhibit. It shows the background work that most visitors don't even think about. It shows that those wanting to work in museums must have a lot of extra knowledge, and special skills, that they may not have thought about before.

Did you know that most masking tape will only stay sticky for 7-8 days? Or that you should use a low V.O.C. acrylic paint in a museum environment? These two bloggers let the public know the best tips to create a maquette, how to write a curatorial essay, and where to get cheap exhibit cases (and what tools you'll need to disassemble them). They show how they created their title panel in Photoshop, how they changed their design for maximum visitor flow and how they created stencils for the walls.

Blogs like this can showcase one's skill and even passion in creating something for the public. Comments from blog visitors could add different ideas and advice to the new museum worker. And of course, all publicity is good publicity. The power of the internet has proven itself once again, and thankfully young museum fanatics are taking full advantage.

1 comment:

Hungarian_G said...

Hi Sophie!

Thanks for the comments. You are exactly right about the purpose of the blog. We want to show that the exhibit process is so much more than making panels, and perhaps, provide some insight into the smaller, less evident tasks that really make an exhibit possible. We are also hoping to help out people in similar situations by providing troubleshooting tips. The exhibit opens May 12th. Thanks again for your interest.

Grant Vogl
Curator, Exhibit F

P.S. I updated our blog soon after the post about tape, but it actually gets TOO sticky and may not come off cleanly. We're always learning.