The Collection

movie museum

A film and movie memorabilia bazaar to remedy the plight of the Cinema Museum.


Event Round-up Feb. 24 – Feb. 28


There are some interesting happenings occurring in the Museum world as February comes to a close. We’ve got wizards, Barbies, 17th century painters, ancient love, assassinations, Africa, and much more.

Now Open:

Barbie: The Fashion Experience at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. (Indianapolis, Indiana)

“A Photographer’s Story: Bob Jackson and the Kennedy Assassination” at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. (Dallas, Texas)

February 24:

The ArtStars vs. The Art Fag at Wrongbar. An interview, an unveiling, a dance party and who knows what else. 8pm-2am. (Toronto, Canada)

February 25:

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts presents “An Artist More Feared than Loved: Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione,” which is a revisionist overview of the life and work of the 17th century painter.(Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Rubens and Van Dyck may be the headliners, but the real focus is the city of Antwerp itself in this exhibit at the National Museum of Sweden. Runs through May 10. (Stockholm, Sweden)

38th Annual Hong Kong Arts Festival opens with a jam-packed schedule. Runs through the end of March. (Hong Kong)

It’s the 75th Anniversary of the Whitney Museum of American Art‘s signature exhibition: The 2010 Biennial. Boasting a “cross section of contemporary art production rather than a specific theme” expect some excellent shows and a few surprises. Check out these videos for some more background. (New York City)

February 26:

The Savannah College of Art and Design hosts an Art History Symposium. The theme is Africa on My Mind: Contemporary Art, Home, and Abroad. Starts at 9 am on Saturday and ends at 12 on Sunday. (Savannah, Georgia)

The folks over at the Arkansas Arts Center will discuss how the romantic lives of ancient Egyptians applies to love in modern times. “Love and Passion in the First and Twenty-First Centuries” starts at 7:30am. Quite the topic with your morning coffee. (Little Rock, Arkansas)

Ice, snow, and how to get across it – three things Alaskans know a bit about. The Wasilla Museum showcases the state’s most legendary sporting event, the Iditarod, in an exhibit opening Friday. (Wasilla, Alaska)

February 27:

William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video 1961-2008 opens at the Art Institute of Chicago. (Chicago, Illinois)

The 7th Annual Art Night Austin at the Austin Museum of Art and other venues around town. Runs from 6:30-10, with an after party running into the wee hours. (Austin, Texas)

February 28:

Seattle Public Library cardholders get free admission to the Seattle Art Museum today. See the ongoing Alexander Calder exhibit, brunch at the museum cafe for 10% off, and get a 25% discount at the store.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition casts a disappearing spell as this blockbuster exhibit closes up shop at the Museum of Science in Boston. (Boston, Massachusetts)

Are you a Betty or a Veronica? Both are welcome at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art‘s exhibit “The Art of Archie Comics.” Closes today. (New York City)


Rewarding Changes in Museum Membership


Photo by Stefan Baudy

Edward de Bono, an internationally renowned thinker, once said: “It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.”

Taking his words to heart, we present our newest Museumist recurring segment: “What If Museums…” Let’s throw some ideas against the wall and see which ones stick.


What if Museums…Offered Points-Based Membership Programs?

Let’s begin with a little background.

Inspiration #1:

On February 16th, Nina Simon wrote a post about the need for museums to have both value and affinity based memberships. Basic free annual admission for the value hunters. For those seeking a deeper connection to the museum, targeted programming, behind-the-scenes features, and enhanced communication. All in all, an excellent idea.

Inspiration #2:

One of the latest social media crazes is FourSquare, a site that allows you to “check-in” at venues across your city. For example, as I am writing this, Derek B. in Ann Arbor, Michigan just checked in at Bab’s Underground Lounge. Big deal, you say? Well, where FourSquare gets interesting is that you earn points for where, when, and how often you check in. If you check in at a particular venue more than anyone else that week, you become the Mayor of that location. Derek B. is the Mayor of Bab’s Underground Lounge. One can infer that Derek B. really likes that bar. Other features of FourSquare allow users to leave tips about venues (Ask for Amanda at the Hair Cuttery, she gives the best haircuts), to receive recommendations about other nearby points of interest (You’re at the Hopleaf in Andersonville? Well, here are some nearby restaurants you might want to try), and to discover where their friends are (You’re at the Atlanta airport. So is your friend Joe). Essentially, it is a platform for gaining knowledge, making connections, and earning rewards for loyalty to an organization.

How This Applies to Museums

Now if you combine Nina’s idea of separating value from affinity memberships and the reward system of FourSquare, you get a points-based museum membership.

Meet John. He is a twenty-something who has decided to visit an art museum. He’s standing in line at the admissions desk, a little unsure about forking over $20 for a spur of the moment visit. Buying a membership would be the financially savvy thing to do, but he’s not sure he will use the membership enough to make it a real value purchase. Hold on, what’s this? An inexpensive individual membership that allows him to earn points towards increasing rewards packages based upon his interests, now that sounds like something worth looking into.

A points-based membership would work like this…

  • Buy the membership, get x amount of points.
  • Earn x amount of points for each visit to the museum.
  • Earn more points for visiting on a weekday.
  • Did you buy something in the store? Tack on a few more points.
  • Sign up for the mailing list. Fill out a visitor survey. Provide feedback through a comment card. Points!
  • Attend a lecture, class, program, gallery talk, etc. and you’re one step closer to rewards.
  • Points for purchasing a gift membership or recommending a friend.
  • Attend an exhibit opening, special members event, or off-site museum event.
  • Bring a guest.
  • Participate in online forums – Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
  • Volunteer at the museum. Points, points, points!

You get the idea. Now as you build points through participation and interaction, you can apply them toward rewards. Here are some reward ideas…

  • Discounts to the museum store.
  • Discounts on gift memberships, gift certificates, or add-a-member to your membership.
  • Behind the scenes tours.
  • Lunch with a curator.
  • Members night for individuals with a certain amount of points or discounts on facility rentals.
  • A museum tote bag. Everyone loves tote bags.
  • Tickets to the museum’s gala or fundraiser.
  • Free parking.
  • If its an art museum, give away prints or posters.
  • Living history museum? A chance to dress up as one of the “characters” for a day.
  • The museum can feature an interview with their member on their website.
  • Give away tickets to local events. Visiting the museum earns you points to score some tickets to a concert or film.
  • Magazine subscriptions. At children’s museums you could get Parents Magazine. Some obvious options would be National Geographic or Smithsonian. However, contemporary art museums could offer publications like Good, How, or Dwell.
  • Adopt a painting or artifact.

And the list goes on.

If you offer your visitors an either/or option like “Be a Value Member or be an Affinity Member,” you might face difficulties in transitioning that visitor between the categories. However, let’s say you offer an inexpensive individual membership that may initially bring in someone based solely on a value purchase. Through the points system, that visitor will feel encouraged to visit the museum, participate in its programming, and eventually become an invaluable advocate for your institution. You have made that transition from value to affinity member in a positive and rewarding way for both the visitor and the museum.

So, what if museums offered points-based membership programs? Well, visitors and museums might both reap the rewards.

Photo Gallery

Off the Pedestal

Art: Take it off its marble pedestal and show it as a daily companion, refreshing, human and rich: witness of its time and prophet of times to come.

– John de Menil, art collector and businessman


Fossil Fest


Back when I was in high school, my mother insisted that we have Family Outings on Sunday. These outings often took us to interesting and/or strange places, like an apple orchard with a very creepy old dude singing about killing turkeys or to the Lincoln Museum in Springfield on a scorching summer day.

As much as we still make fun of these little adventures, I can’t seem to shake the habit. I still love going on quirky outings. So on Saturday, my roommate and I hopped in the car and headed to Cypress Gardens.

Cypress Gardens, located on part of an old rice plantation, is 80 acres of “blackwater bald cypress/tupelo swamp” in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. There are nature trails, swamp boat rides, a butterfly house, and swamparium. As appealing as these attractions are, I ventured to Cypress for a different reason: Fossil Fest.

Walking into Fossil Fest, the twang of a banjo and the smell of BBQ were the first things to greet you. Then your eye drifted to tables of sharks teeth, polished stones, and a variety of shards, bones, and whatnots. I’m no fossil expert, but the collectors and vendors behind the tables certainly were, and they were a talkative bunch. The fossils on display were all discovered along the South Carolina coast, and many were for sale. Some of the items were pretty impressive, but when it comes down to it, I have no idea what I would do with a fossilized shark tooth in my apartment.


With that, I said goodbye to the BBQ, banjo, and bones, and so ended this week’s obscure outing. Can’t wait until next week.

Photo Gallery

Be Mine


A little Valentine’s Day treat from Warren Thomas King: conversation hearts for the art world. Make sure to swing by King’s site to see more.


A Pickpocket Strikes Again


Back in September, we featured an interview with Joseph Del Pesco, artist, guest curator, and creator of an innovative “school without walls” program called Pickpocket Almanack. Clearly the first Almanack go-around was a success, because it is back for Round Two.

The Spring 2010 Session of Pickpocket Almanack features such “curators” as Jim Fairchild (the guitarist for the band Modest Mouse), Jerome Waag (a chef from Chez Panisse), and Renny Pritinkin (a professor in the Curatorial Practice Program at CCA). These curators create “courses” based on cultural events occurring throughout the Bay Area, which aim to forge connections with the arts, ignite discussions, and reinvent the meaning of cultural education.

So, if you are interested and happen to be in the Bay Area, make sure you swing by SFMOMA’s website on Monday, February 15 to register for Pickpocket Almanack.

The Digital Museum

Face to Face

While it is still a work in progress, Museumist is now on Facebook. We’d love it if you swung by and became a fan.


Who’s on Your List?


Photo by Torcello Trio

So, I’m not entirely certain what criteria was used to compile this list, but Juxtapoz Magazine has their Top 100 Galleries/Museums. To be accurate, it should be the Top 100 Contemporary Art Galleries/Museums, but it probably goes unsaid given who compiled the list.

Looking through the selections, it seems California-heavy, with at least 40 of the 100 ranked spaces calling the Golden State home. There are some big names on the list including The Louvre (#21), The Museum of Contemporary Art in New York (#12), Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art (#72), and the leaders of the pack SFMOMA (#1) and the Guggenheim (#2) However, it is the small spaces, stores, and galleries around the world that are pushing the creativity envelope that dominate the list.

Some standouts include…

#39: Black Rat Press (London, UK)

#57: Reina Sofia (Madrid, Spain)

#69: Monster Children Gallery (Sydney, Australia)

#95: Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati, Ohio)

#86: Museum of Contemporary Art (Detroit, Michigan)

#66: Galeria Animal (Santiago, Chile)

#40: MOCA (Shanghai, China)

#16: Show and Tell Gallery (Toronto, Canada)

What do you think of Juxtapoz’s list? Agree/Disagree? What’s your number one?


Who Dat?


Photo by smoorenburg.

With a Saints Super Bowl victory in the books, a bet made between the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art has been settled. The prize? IMA will be sending their Fifth Plague of Egypt by Joseph Mallord William Turner to NOMA.

The Turner, however, is only the latest in treasures to be found among the Big Easy’s cultural offerings. After stopping in at NOMA, here are some of the museums you should check out on your next stop in New Orleans.

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art is home to the most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world, cataloging the region’s history and visual culture starting from the early 1700s. Current exhibits include New Southern Photography and the Andrews-Humphrey Gallery shows art is a family affair. April 22 marks the opening of Where They At?, an exhibit exploring “New Orleans bounce and hip hop in words and pictures.”

Animal Kingdom: Walk through a 30-foot Caribbean Reef tunnel or see if spotting a white alligator really brings good luck at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. If you’re more interested in land-based creatures, head to the Audubon Zoo. Animals have called this site home since the 1884 World Exposition. Current residents include King Rex and King Zulu (white tigers and brothers), performing sea lions and elephants, and a Komodo dragon.

National World War II Museum is the United States’ official WWII museum. Higgins boats (made in New Orleans), Spitfire planes, and Sherman tanks join exhibits about life on the home front and plenty of information about D-Day and the events leading up to it. A must see for history buffs.

Mardi Gras is more than just a wild party. Explore some of the history behind the celebration at the Backstreet Cultural Museum, where the city’s largest collection of Mardi Gras Indian costumes are housed. The museum, built in an old funeral home, also explores other unique New Orleans traditions like Jazz Funerals and Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs.

Again, this is just a sampling of museums and cultural institutions in the Crescent City. No matter what sites you visit, just remember “laissez les bon temps rouler.”

« Previous PageNext Page »