Thursday, September 24, 2009

Busy week!

By: Erin Crissman, Curator
This was one my my busiest and most diverse weeks in recent memory and I was only in the office for three days! Here's a snapshot of some of what I did.
Monday. I serve on the Upstate History Alliance Board of Trustees. UHA is a museum service organization in New York State. The board meets quatertly and the September meeting is always at Great Camp Sagamore in the Adirondacks, so I took the day off to travel north.
Tuesday, Part 1. The Farmers' Museum is undergoing the American Association of Museum's reaccreditation process. Only a handful of museums in the United States are accredited by AAM. The process is quite involved starting with a self study we completed last year. Then, a team of peer reviewers (museum professionals from other museums) spends the day (or days) at the museum getting an overview of operations, collections, staffing, etc. The reviewers then submit a report to AAM who will grant an additional ten years of accreditation if they think we're meeting the field's standards. I spent all day Tuesday touring the visiting team around TFM.
Tuesday, Part 2. After lunch, I participated in Museum Teacher Training. Museum Teachers at TFM are the staff who lead school group tours during the fall and spring. I gave them a tour of the Wild Times! exhibition and answered their questions about the show's 11 New York State animals. Then, I spent a few minutes chatting with my fall intern Jennie Davy, a student at the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Her project this semester is to suggest revisions to TFM's Scope of Collections statement. These few sentances help to guide what objects the museum accepts into its collection. She'll be looking at other museums with similar collections to see what their Scope of Collections statements include and exlcude.
Wednesday, Part 1. I finished up the series of meetings with reaccreditation reviewers then got some soup from Bump Tavern for lunch. It was tasty! I highly recommend the soup. It is warm and a great value. If you're a visitor, you can lounge in the tap room enjoying your soup. If you're a busy curator, like me, you might choose to eat in your office and catch up on emails.
Wendesday, Part 2 I attended an AAM webinar on Audience Evaluation. It is great to work at a place the provides these types of professional development opportunities.
Thursday, Part 1 I helped a TFM visitor identify an object he brought over. It turned out to be a leg vise for a cabinet maker's workbench. We're about to acquire, through donation, a local cabinet maker's 19th century workbench with a similar vise.
This bench, from a the cabinet makers' original workshop, dates to about the mid-19th century. The visitor today brought in a vise similar to the one in the foreground of this photograph. More on this next week, when we go to pick it up. (Note that some of the best museum collections look like this before they arrive at the museum. It isn't a negative, by any means; this is an excellent piece!)
Thursday, Part 2. I rehearsed a presentation about agriculture in the 1870s that I'll be presenting on Saturday at Syracuse University. The symposium and exhibition are about Winslow Homer's work in New York, primarily while he was staying with friends on a farm in Oragne County. You can see the presenation here. I learned how to use a new program called Prezi. It is very cool!
Tomorrow, I'm off to Syracuse. Then, I'll be taking a well-deserved nap!

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