KU Museum Studies
January 2017 MUSE News
 
 
 First-year MUSE student Alyson Wilkins prepares a mastodon tooth as part of her volunteer hours in KU’s Biodiversity Institute paleo lab.
 
From the Director’s Chair:
Looking to the Future of the Field
With the beginning of the semester, the students in MUSE 802 Culture of Museums, and I read selections from the new book by Nicholas Thomas entitled The Return of Curiosity: What Museums Are Good for in the 21st Century. It served as a wonderful beginning for our examination of current trends and emergent possibilities in the museum field. Thomas’s optimistic – if complicated – outlook on the ways museums can contribute to civil society set the stage for our conversations about contemporary issues and opportunities offered to emerging museum professionals.

Thomas argues that museums are vitally important to societies because of the complex engagement offered by objects and collections. I couldn’t agree more. It is by way of collections that museums can open new and creative understandings of what it means to be human. If it sometimes seems that the objects and collections in museums are superfluous to museums’ efforts to engage with their communities, Thomas reminds us that “the activation of the collection is the museum’s beating heart.” It is this “stuff” that comprises museums’ greatest resource for revealing with humility and imagination how our lives compare to other times and places, as well as to the natural and physical worlds that we encounter. The possibilities are endless, inspiring, and energizing, and it is an honor to help prepare a new generation to explore them.

Dr. Peter Welsh
Director and Professor, Museum Studies Program
 
Ambitious Spring Ahead for MUSE
Like the professional world, there’s no time to rest at MUSE! Check out our notable initiatives for this semester:
 •
MUSE is offering its first-ever undergraduate courses. Dr. Liz Kowalchuk teaches MUSE 301 Museums and Society: Past, Present, Future, and the Spencer Museum of Art’s Casey Mesick Braun and Celka Straughn lead MUSE 480 Critical Perspectives on Museums.
 • As part of our recruiting efforts, MUSE is creating a series of short web videos that showcase our rich museum resources both on campus and locally, as well as share perspectives from our faculty, current students, and alumni. Be on the lookout for the first group of videos in mid- to late February.
 • We’re reviving the brown bag Q&A series with museum professionals. These informal discussions enable our students to hear from alumni and others working in the field: challenges, opportunities, advice for emerging professionals, skills needed, and more. Throughout the semester, guests will share their expertise with students either in person or via Skype.

 
First-Half Highlights: Fall 2016
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We welcomed Nate Forsberg, lecturer for Introduction to Exhibit Design.
 • Our program hosted 13 personalized campus visits by prospective students. We had a great time getting to know these students!
 • Our effort to reach out to undergraduate academic advisors across the country has led to several high-quality candidates for admission this fall.

 
The Intersection of Education and Access:
Kayle Rieger Patton, ‘16

  I work as the education coordinator at the Meadows Museum, a Spanish art museum in Dallas, Texas. Part of my role involves coordinating all incoming group tours, ranging in size from five to 500 people. But my favorite role involves my work with our access programs. More
 
Letting the Sculpture Speak:
Rachel Frisby, ‘09

  I work at a wonderful historic home and sculpture gardens, the home of Albin Polasek, a world-renown Czech/American sculptor. We have the largest collection of Polasek sculpture in the world. The last two years, I have spent renovating our sculpture gardens, relocating 17 sculptures, upgrading ADA facility requirements, and re-envisioning our thematic approach. My goal is to let the sculpture speak. More
 
MUSE Alumni: We Want You!
Tell us what you’re up to now, professionally and/or personally – and please send photos! We want to highlight as many alumni on our website as possible. We’ll feature alumni in each newsletter going forward, too. In addition, we’d love for our students to have the chance to learn directly from you. If you’d like to be a brown bag Q&A guest (in person or via Skype), host a museum tour for our students, etc., please contact Brandy Ernzen, program coordinator, at bernzen@ku.edu.
 
Did You Know?

MUSE is growing!

Since Dr. Welsh arrived in 2012, we now have three faculty lines! Dr. Sandi Olsen and Dr. Liz Kowalchuk join Dr. Welsh and our team of adjunct lecturers.
   


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KU Museum Studies Program | 1410 Jayhawk Boulevard, 6 Lippincott Hall | Lawrence, KS 66045
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