Quick break from travel to the museum world again!
Playing with an 80’sversion of a museum interactive at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN
Last month the Berlin Museum of Natural History launched a series of eleven questions for museum bloggers on Museum Blogger Day. Max van Balgooy, museum consultant extraordinaire and blogger over at Engaging Places posted his answers, and I’m following his example. As Max said on his blog, he “received the list of questions from Gretchen Jennings of Museum Commons, who received it from Linda Norris at the Uncatalogued Museum, who received it from Jamie Glavic at Museum Minute, who received it from Jenni at Museum Diary, who received it from the Museum Things blog at Natureskundemuseum. I suppose this might be a new version of the old “chain letter,” but more fun and with no dire consequences if you fail to participate (and of course, the questions were modified along the way, just like a telephone tree).”
1. Who are you and what do you like about blogging?
I am a person interested in all aspects of history, museums, public history, travel, tourism, and so much more. I wrote a whole blog about how I got to this place in my life, which is available here. I have a PhD in Public History, I’m the Executive Director of a historic house in Knoxville, Tennessee, I wrote a book about education and access at historic houses and sites for people with special needs and disabilities, and I love goats. I love blogging, especially post-graduation, because it keeps me active in the field, thinking about issues, and learning more about topics I’m interested in. It also connects me to some pretty fantastic people out there in the museum world.
2. What search terms lead people to your blog?
Ever since Abby and Tori did guest blogs as part of a series on TLC programming as the modern sideshow, Honey Boo Boo is a major search term. Also, ancient aliens and variations on that, thanks to a blog about the horrid abomination that is the “History” Channel. My name is also a popular search term, which is sufficiently creepy. Here is a chart of the top search terms:
3. How long have you been blogging, and has your blog changed in any way since you began it? How?
My very first blog was posted in July of 2010, soon after I graduated from the University of Memphis. I began blogging at the suggestion of the esteemed Dr. Robert Connolly, who served as one of the greatest museum mentors I could ever ask for. Looking back at my earliest blogs, I started with some reflections on programs I had worked on, starting the PhD Program, updates, conferences, and random musings on topics related to my interests. Things have not changed too much, other than my recent shift towards travel and tourism on the heels of my first trip to Europe.
4. Which post on your blog is your personal favorite?
I’ve REALLY loved all of my reflections on my trip to Britain and Ireland earlier this year. I also like the posts about Freaks and Sideshows, and of course, my wonderful bashing of Ancient Aliens. The TLC series was a ton of fun, too.
5. If you had a whole week just to blog: which subject would you like to thoroughly research and write about?
I would travel throughout Europe and review all of the museums, of course! Alternatively, I have a pile of drafts started on various museum topics such as effective tour guides, disaster planning, and a guest blog about art museums by my wonderful fiance. I really would love to do more about art museums and my intense feelings about them. All of this will be coming up in the next several months as I find the time to write.
6. If you could ask anyone to be a guest blogger, who would that be?
Or Tim Gunn!
Or really, the REAL Dream: David Tennant! (David – CALL ME!)
7. Share your favorite photo that you took at a museum or historic site.
At the Tower of London, near the scaffold memorial, December 31, 2013
8. What was the last museum you visited and what was the experience like?
Other than my workplace or quick jaunts to places around town, the last place I REALLY visited was the Natural History Museum in New York City. I had a lot of feelings about it, so I can’t really describe the experience right now other than in the most basic terms: disappointing, overwhelming, enraging (mostly the queue process at Will Call), and just kinda meh. I’ll elaborate more later…
9. If time and money were no object, what museum [or historic site – KS edit] would you most like to visit?
ALL the museums. Namely: Museum of London, Westminster Abbey (I cried when I saw the outside), Field Museum in Chicago… back to the Smithsonian, Mount Vernon again, NYC Museum…. I need to think on this more and make a list.
10. What’s the biggest lesson you have learned from a failure? [KS Edit – From a success?]
Communication is key! Most problems are caused by a lack of communication or a simple miscommunication. Alternatively, good communication and partnership can lead to some of the best successes – any project I’ve worked on with a museum that has been successful was due to the partnerships and teamwork of dedicated individuals.
11. If you could work anywhere, what museum would you like to work in?
Tough question – ANY museum in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, or England!