Blog

One Book

Posted on December 2, 2016 under book review

Like many of my friends and colleagues, I have started an occasional newsletter. It is called One Book and, as it says on the tin, discusses one book per newsletter. Some books may be relevant to history and museum practice, but (so far) none have been.

Lighting in an interdimensional portal in the House of Eternal Return

Museum Lessons from the House of Eternal Return

Posted on September 19, 2016 under museums | 1 Comment

A few weeks ago I visited the museum-like installation the House of Eternal Return, part of the Meow Wolf art complex in an old bowling alley in Santa Fe. It was absolutely sui generis, an alternate reality game in exhibit form, an experiment in experiential storytelling where you were not only allowed but encouraged and indeed required […]

Another look at museum nostalgia

Posted on March 9, 2016 under nostalgia

The new issue of Curator includes a fascinating article about nostalgia in museum contexts. The authors, David Anderson, Hiroyuki Shimizu, and Chris Campbell, interviewed 35 visitors to a museum of Showa-era Japan about what objects and exhibits prompted them to feel nostalgia. (“…nostalgia is a pan-cultural emotion shared by all humans regardless of nation or […]

Year in Reading 2015

Posted on December 30, 2015 under year in reading

For the past few years I have run down my year in reading on twitter, but this year let’s give it a little heft for posterity. In 2015 I read upwards of 200 books–fewer than last year, since I wasn’t doing head-down research for an exhibit.  57% were written by women and 43% by men.  Surprisingly, […]

Bingham quote from Pacific Worlds

Labeling Colonialism

Posted on October 16, 2015 under museums | 2 Comments

When history museums interpret stories of colonialism and oppression, words matter. But which words are the right ones? Museums that interpret charged historical stories are often criticized as preachy or politically correct if they use certain words, or cowardly if they avoid them. But words like “colonialism” can also be overdetermined, too filled with ambient […]

Museum revival

Posted on April 1, 2015 under museums | 1 Comment

  There’s been an interesting recent surge of interest in exhibiting religion in museums, particularly history museums.  I’m part of an NCPH Working Group this year on Religion, Historic Sites and Museums.  The National Museum of American History just had a symposium on religion in early America, with an exhibit on the topic to open […]

New article

Posted on February 28, 2015 under me

Here I am complicating the PPIE centennial story in Boom.

Four things

Posted on August 15, 2014 under me, museums

that I’ve written recently: an op-ed about World’s Fairs a Kern Your Enthusiasm piece about braille fonts a blog post about an exhibit project and a co-authored book chapter about collecting contemporary technology.  

Mark Dion on nostalgia

Posted on July 22, 2014 under nostalgia

LCM: Does nostalgia play a role in your work? MD: I try to be historic rather than nostalgic. For me, nostalgia is always tied to the notion of the “Golden Age” of things — this idea that the past was much better. I don’t think that’s true for many things I care about. For women, people of […]