Weekend Work 2-17-14: Debating the Penultimate Question, President Hamilton, a Beef Display, and an Art Museum Director Discovers Museum Studies

Greetings from the American Hysterical Society! Today we have a follow-up and a round-up from our recent ramblings about the internet.

If “why are we here?” is the ultimate question, “how did we arrive?” is next in line. A few weeks ago we mentioned that Bill Nye the Science Guy will debate Ken Hamm the Creation Museum Guy. They did, and if you missed it, you can see it here:

Did you know that, “The $10 bill… features President Alexander Hamilton — undeniably one of our greatest presidents and most widely recognized for establishing the country’s financial system.” According to Groupon it’s true, and in honor of that statement they’re offering a special President’s Day deal celebrating President Hamilton.

Before you start complaining how corporate America is perverting our history, we’d like to remind you that at least one of them got something of Hamilton’s bio right:

We don’t know if you saw (we wish we hadn’t) but last week Shia LaBeouff became his own art installation.

The piece, entitled #IAmSorry, includes (apart from Shia himself) a whip, Transformers toys, a bowl of Hershey’s Kisses, a pair of pliers, a bottle of Brut cologne, a bottle of Jack Daniels, and a bowl of folded up Twitter messages. According to some, it also includes copious amounts of Shia crying. While this sounds fascinating as is, we feel he missed his opportunity to make this a memorably-titled interactive. With the bag over his head he should have called it “Where’s the Beef?” which visitors could shout at that bag-wearing piece of “art.”

And finally this week we have Michael Rush’s From the Field op-ed “Considering the Museum of the Future.” Rush opens his love letter to museums written from 1994 saying that “No one ever claimed that museums need be ‘agents of change.’” Clearly he’s never heard of  the Center for the Future of Museums, who has indeed called for museums to be agents of change on numerous occasions. He then challenged art museums to “to learn from what innovative institutions of all kinds are already doing and ask ourselves, “are we thinking of the future?’”The whole piece feels like notes from a Museums 101 class. Maybe it is. Rush is the founding executive director of the Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum at the University of Michigan. Perhaps he was overextended and just typed up his lecture notes for the AAMD to publish.


About T.H. Gray

T.H. Gray is the self-appointed court jester and Dr. Demento for the history museum field. A lifelong museum professional and reenactor, he is a graduate of the prestigious Peale-Barnum Public History Museum Studies Program. Until 2011, when the AHS hired him away, he was on staff at the Benjamin Dover Memorial Museum & Swimming Pool ("Our History is All Wet!"). He remembers when museums were still about history, science, and art. BTW, all of these posts say they are by T.H. Gray because he can't turn off the byline. Credit, when due, is given. View all posts by T.H. Gray

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