the museum journal

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the museum journal - page 1
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curator The Museum Journal Volume 50 Number 1 January 2007
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curator The Museum Journal Curator: The Museum Journal seeks timely theoretical and practical articles that explore issues, practices, and policies in the museum profession. We request manuscripts be submitted via e-mail to curatorjournal@earthlink.net, with a copy to curatoreditor@comcast.net. The file should be saved in Rich Text Format, without additional document formatting, and sent as an attachment to your e-mail message. Please provide mailing addresses (including telephone, fax, and e-mail), as well as title and institutional affiliation for each author. An abstract of no more than 150 words must accompany the manuscript. Bibliographies and references should conform to the style presented in this journal. Authors are encouraged to obtain photographs and artwork to accompany manuscripts but not to submit them until manuscripts are accepted. Captions should include appropriate credits. Authors are responsible for observing the laws of copyright when quoting or reproducing material and for any reproduction fees incurred. Manuscripts submitted to Curator should not be under consideration by any other publishers, nor may the manuscript have been previously published elsewhere. If a manuscript is based on a lecture, reading, or talk, specific details should accompany the submission. Curator: The Museum Journal is a refereed quarterly journal. Submitted manuscripts will undergo blind peer review. Curator: The Museum Journal (ISSN: 0011-3069) is published quarterly by AltaMira Press, A Division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., and the California Academy of Sciences. Copyright © California Academy of Sciences, 2007. All rights reserved. Permission must be obtained from the publisher for repro- duction of any material in any form. Curator is a journal of opinion, and the views expressed in its articles are not necessarily those of the publisher or the California Academy of Sciences. Subscriptions and Inquiries: Individuals: $40 for 1 year, $80 for 2 years, $120 for 3 years, $12.50 single issue; Museum Institution: $80 for 1 year, $160 for 2 years, $240 for 3 years, $25 single issue; Institutions: $99 for 1 year, $198 for 2 years, $297 for 3 years, $30 single issue. “Museum Institution” refers to muse- ums, galleries, historical societies, zoos, arboreta, science and technology centers, botanical gardens, his- toric houses, living history farms and sites and other museum-related fields, and libraries contained within such institutions. All noninstitutional orders must be paid by personal check, VISA, or MasterCard. Make checks payable to AltaMira Press. All subscription inquiries, orders, and renewals must be addressed to Journal Circulation, Curator: The Museum Journal, 15200 NBN Way, Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17214. Phone: (800) 462-6420; email: journals@rowman.com. Address all editorial correspondence to curatoreditor@comcast.net, with a copy to curatorjournal@earthlink.net. Permissions requests should be addressed to Patricia Zline at pzline@rowman.com. Books for review should be sent to Slover Linett Strat- egies, Inc., 4147 North Ravenswood Ave., Suite 302, Chicago, IL 60613. Back Issues: Information about availability and prices of back issues may be obtained from the publisher’s order department (address above). Periodicals postage paid in Lanham, MD, and additional mailing offices. Indexing: Curator is regularly listed in the International Current Awareness Services. Selected material is in- dexed in the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences. Claims: Claims for undelivered copies must be made no later than 12 months following the month of publication. The publisher will supply missing copies when losses have been sustained in transit and when the reserve stock will permit. Advertising: Current rates and specifications may be obtained by writing to the Advertising Manager, Curator, 4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706; phone: (301) 459-3366 x5651; fax: (301) 429-5748; email: msmith@altamirapress.com Change of Address: Six weeks advance notice must be given when notifying of change of address. Please send old address label along with the new address to ensure proper identification. Please specify name of journal. Postmaster: Send all changes of address to Curator, c/o AltaMira Press, 15200 NBN Way, Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17214. Production and Composition: Detta Penna, Penna Design, Abbotsford, BC, Canada. CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, San Francisco, CA ALTAMIRA PRESS, A DIVISION OF ROWMAN & LITTLEFIELD PUBLISHERS, INC., Lanham, MD
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½ontents 5 9 19 33 ZAHAVA D. DOERINg, EDITOR CurATor: The Museum Journal Volume 50 Number 1 January 2007 Celebrating 50 Years of Curator: The Museum Journal Prescriptions for Art Museums in the Decade Ahead MAxWELL L. ANDERSON Aerospace Museums: A Question of Balance TOM D. CROUCH “Let’s Go to MY Museum”: Inspiring Confident Learners and Museum Explorers at Children’s Museums CAROL ENSEkI 41 55 63 77 87 The Future of Zoos: A New Model for Cultural Institutions JOHN FRASER AND DAN WHARTON Fifty Museum Years, and Then Some TOM L. FREUDENHEIM The Extraordinary Growth of the Science-Technology Museum ALAN J. FRIEDMAN The Authority of objects: From regime Change to Paradigm Shift HILDE S. HEIN Hyperconnection: Natural History Museums, Knowledge, and the Evolving Ecology of Community TOM HENNES 109 123 127 131 135 147 151 159 167 Do Museum Exhibitions Have a Future? kATHLEEN MCLEAN Children’s Museums as Citizens: Four Inspiring Examples PEggY MONAHAN About Face: The rebirth of the Portrait Gallery in the Twenty-first Century MARC PACHTER Studying Visitors and Making Museums Better ANDREW J. PEkARIk on the uses of Museum Studies Literature: A research Agenda JAY ROUNDS Science Centers at 40: Middle-aged Maturity or Mid-life Crisis? ROB SEMPER Fifty Years of Changes in America’s History Museums MARTIN E. SULLIVAN Media in the Museum: A Personal History SELMA THOMAS The right Stuff in the right Place: The Institution of Contemporary Art IAN WEDDE 3
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curator The Museum Journal ZAHAVA D. DOERINg, Editor kAY LARSON, Managing Editor SAMUEL M. TAYLOR, Editor Emeritus EDITorIAL BoArD EDWARD H. ABLE, JR., President American Association of Museums ADAM BICkFORD Columbia, Missouri MARgARET gOULD BURkE Director and Curator of Education California Academy of Sciences MARLENE CHAMBERS, Editor Emerita Denver Art Museum PEggY RUTH COLE Amherst, Massachusetts JUDY DIAMOND, Professor of Informal Science Education University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln ZAHAVA D. DOERINg Senior Social Scientist Smithsonian Institution JOHN H. FALk, President Institute for Learning Innovation Annapolis, Maryland ELSA FEHER, Professor Emerita Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education San Diego State University JOHN FRASER Director of Interpretive Programs Wildlife Conservation Society, New York TERRENCE M. gOSLINER, Senior Curator California Academy of Sciences MICHAEL gHISELIN Senior Research Fellow California Academy of Sciences MYLES gORDON Vice President for Education American Museum of Natural History DAVID A. gRIMALDI Chairman and Associate Curator Department of Entomology American Museum of Natural History ELAINE HEUMANN gURIAN Arlington, Virginia DAVID M. kAHN, Director Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans WATSON M. LAETSCH, Professor Emeritus Department of Plant Biology University of California at Berkeley NEIL LANDMAN, Chairman and Curator Department of Invertebrates American Museum of Natural History ROSS LOOMIS, Professor Department of Psychology Colorado State University, Fort Collins LAURA MARTIN, Executive Vice-President Phoenix Zoo LORIN I. NEVLINg, Chief Emeritus Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign ENID SCHILDkROUT, Chairman and Curator, Department of Anthropology American Museum of Natural History ROBERT J. SEMPER Executive Associate Director Exploratorium, San Francisco CAROL B. STAPP, Director Museum Education Program The George Washington University HARRIS H. SHETTEL Rockville, Maryland SAMUEL M. TAYLOR Morristown, New Jersey DANNY WHARTON, Director Central Park Zoo, New York J. WILLARD WHITSON, Vice President Please Touch Museum Philadelphia, Pennsylvania kEN YELLIS Vice President and Museum Director International Tennis Hall of Fame Newport, Rhode Island PETER LINETT, Books Editor kATHLEEN MCLEAN, Exhibitions Editor SELMA THOMAS, Museum Media Editor CALIForNIA ACADEMY oF SCIENCES golden gate Park, San Francisco, CA 94118 J. PATRICk kOCIOLEk, Executive Director W. RICHARD BINgHAM, Chairman, Board of Trustees ALTAMIrA PrESS 4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
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½i½t½ ½ears o½ ½urato½ Celebrating 50 Years of Curator: The Museum Journal ••••• Zahava D. Doering, Editor This is the first issue of a new journal, entitled CURATOR. It is customary on such occa- sions to offer an explanation to the reader concerning the origin and the purpose of the new publication, beyond that which is implicit in the nature of the articles contained in the first issue. Such a statement is all the more appropriate in the present instance, since this journal represents a venture unique, we believe, in this country. —Curator 1.1, 1958. ••••• From its inception at the American Museum of Natural History 50 years ago, Curator: The Museum Journal (as it is now called) has published articles and commentary about the topics that matter to cultural institutions. The Editorial Statement in the first issue, de- scribing the need for such a journal, still resonates with us today. Although present museum problems, general and specific, probably confronted the very first museum ever established, they have, with the time and the expansion of the museum’s function, become vastly more varied and complex. The skill and competence now required to organize and administer a modern museum, to plan and prepare exhibits, to serve and deal with the public need for education and knowledge, to use and maintain collections, and to control the manifold interrelations of all these and other things as well, have taken on a highly professional character that reflects both the growing role of the museum in our culture and the high standards of perfor- mance that museums have taught the public to expect. As a result of these developments and the steady pursuit of improvement, the varied kinds of dedicated workers who make up the personnel of a museum find themselves facing intricate prob- lems, discovering elegant solutions, contributing to a specialized corpus of knowledge—and with no medium in this country through which to record their experience, to share their triumphs, or to seek the advice or criticism of their colleagues in other institutions. From the first issue (January 1958), and the first article, “On Being a Curator,” the jour- nal has published the most thoughtful writing of professional colleagues. Contrary to 5
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6 A NOT E FROM T HE EDITOR human birthdays, journals are numbered from the first issue and volume, so Curator cel- ebrated its tenth anniversary in 1967 and is honoring its fiftieth in this volume. The next half century begins with this issue. Volume 50, Issue 1, January 2007 is a celebration and an invitation. Eighteen muse- um and independent professionals—including academic researchers, curators, museum and zoo directors, educators, philosophers, art historians—were asked to revisit the past and present of museums. The assignment was deliberately open-ended. In the original invitation, we encouraged these colleagues to address the strengths and frailties, successes and failures of the type of museum or area of museum work they knew best, and to ad- dress the future. They have responded with a marvelous chorus of styles and viewpoints, from scholarship to commentary to personal reflections. All of the articles were peer- reviewed in Curator’s formal process, which emphasizes factual accuracy but welcomes differences of interpretation. The responses have been as unique as each writer. (For in- stance, kathy McLean took the initiative to read the first four issues of Curator, and to re- flect on what they suggest about the persistence of museum concerns.) Our reluctance to impose an organizational framework or hierarchy on this wealth of viewpoints has led us to alphabetize the issue by authors’ surnames. We hope the table of contents encourages browsing and venturing beyond one’s specialty. Initially, Curator was oriented to the interests of a natural history museum. How- ever, as the journal expanded its readership and author pool, articles began focusing on other venues, engaging readers in lively debate. In the past five years, the editorial staff has made a concerted effort to solicit interdisciplinary articles from around the world. As will be evident in this volume, Curator now explores the realms of art and science, his- tory and culture. We are happy to include in this issue four art images by artists who use the language, look and technologies of gene research, paleobiology, and other scientific disciplines, from the exhibition The Art and Artifice of Science, Feb. 9–May 20, 2007, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. View these striking visual experiments in the articles by Maxwell Anderson, Tom Hennes, Andrew Pekarik, and Selma Thomas. On the cover and on the next page we show you a historic artifact from Curator Vol- ume 1, Issue 2: A photograph of New York street signs, suggesting, as the accompanying archival text says, that museums have never gone for the easy exit, but have always point- ed back to the heart of the city and its culture. We welcome comments on the discussions that follow. In the Editorial Statement of Volume 1, Issue 1, the hope was expressed that Curator would become . . . a vehicle for the expression of opinion, comment, reflection, experience, criticism and sugges- tions by the various members of its [National Museum of American History] staff on all their ac- tivities of museum work. It is meant to serve the publication needs that fall outside its traditional scientific and popular publications. In short, this is to be a professional journal worthy of the skills and standards of modern museology. Curator became that medium of opinion, commentary, reflection, experience, criti- cism, and suggestions. It did so with the help of hundreds of professionals throughout the world who have contributed articles, reviews, praise, and analysis. I hope that Curator has met your expectations and will continue to do so.
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C UR ATOR 50/ 1 • JANUARY 2007 7 curator looks at museums . . . and finds that their cartes de visite are often difficult to understand and sometimes quite frayed. Here we see the strange, indecisive hand of municipal authority. At what moment was it discovered that there is no museum to the right?. . . .
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