Marilyn Joslin Sklar
Seminar - Day Two. Four hours of sleep and aching feet. I brought smart walking shoes, but I think I need new feet. And, I turned in at 2 am last night. I am tired and looking at dark circles this morning. Yesterday, we walked a bit through the British Museum and received our assignments for the next two weeks. Our time at the British Museum was very interesting. We looked at the British Museum as both an encyclopedic museum and a global museum. A series of lectures, followed by a panel discussion, focused mostly on the institution's brand as a global museum. Jonathan King, Keeper of Anthropology, was our gallery guide. Later, he presented about the museum's partnerships with other countries for training their museum professionals and working with native artists. Two examples are: 1) The British Museum (BM) loaned an exhibit to the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) while it was undergoing some renovations, and BM helped rebuild NMK's storage facilities. 2) The British Museum has worked with the Haida in Canada, and BM is working with the National Gallery of Canada on building a First Nations collection. We also heard about BM's new project called "The History of the World in 100 Objects", which is a partnership with the BBC. It began as a radio show to highlight 100 objects from its collections that would tell the history of humans around the planet. It has been a grand success. The project now has an online database collections. Museums around the nation, as well as private citizens, are invited to contribute their own objects. One man exceeded his limit and posted more than 100 of his own objects telling the story about his hometown. One speaker briefed us on archaeology in the UK. But, my  favorite speaker was Colin McEwan, Head of Americas Section - Andean Projects - who told us about how museums and social science can make major impacts on people lives. He highlighted his archaeological research in the highlands of Ecuador. His excavations employed locals from a small village, and years later he worked to get a cultural center built to display and interpret many finds. This was not a fly-by-night operation. He had an exhibition designer work with them on the gallery space, and they used local inexpensive materials for the display cases! It was very sharp! The center has brought a sense of pride to the village. Ecuador's president gave the village a national award for their civic work and success!  We ended our day with a wonderful reception at the University of Westminster. Many drinks and "nibbles" (as Alan Morrison called them). 

On a personal note, I found a wonderful little pastie shop on Oxford Street on the way back from the British Museum. I tried one with lamb and mint. Yum! Also, I discovered two more little bookshops yesterday, including an Oxfam store. The Brits are avid consumers of the printed word, and they have the BEST little independent bookstores. Yes, I purchased a couple more books. (I'm going to WAY over my weight limit with my luggage on the way home!)

A bit cloudy this Tuesday morning. I'm off to the showers to prepare for another day on the streets and in the classroom! Sorry, no time to post photos this morning. However, I have several pages of them on my Facebook page from Monday.

7/13/2010 01:05:53 am

What does "Oxfam" mean?

Ruth Cuadra
7/15/2010 02:29:23 pm

Do you agree with the BM positioning itself as a "global museum"? Its collections grew as the empire expanded across the global, but perhaps the global community would be better served if objects were repatriated and/or the BM used its resources as you have described in Ecuador to enable other countries to regain control of their cultural patrimony.

Will Crow
7/17/2010 08:12:01 am

Sounds like the London seminar has been action-packed! So glad to hear that it's been going well, and thanks for sharing your blog with our class!

8/9/2010 03:19:04 pm

Great blog! I just found it on Sakai's The Museum Cafe. It's nice to hear about the seminar. I plan on taking my seminar course in Summer 2011. I also have a blog. I talk about being a museum intern and working at a research library.

-Samantha B

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