Weekend Work 6-16-14: New Links, a Timely Kickstarter Campaign, There’s More of Us Than Them, and New Deaccession Disgraces

Or if you don't care, there's always Tempus Fu**it.Tempus Fugit! It was a particularly busy spring here at the Hysterical Society. By busy we mean, of course, we wasted time surfing the internet. Such is the fate of an online museum. You can easily become lost in the research and its inevitable tangents. Still, how we haven’t updated our weekend workings since February is beyond us.

All that surfing hasn’t been in vain. It’s amazing what you can find online if you look. We won’t say discover, because if you can google it it’s already been seen by others. Our recent findings include Jeff Martin’s War of 1812 comic series, Originalos (a history of invention from caveperson times), and American Wiseass, history comedy videos from the History Channel (which is about as close to actual historical programming as they get). You can find all of these and much more on our Links page.

We also ran across this Kickstarter campaign for an animated museum-based series called Giant Sloth. According to the site, “in this existential animated short, Museum curator Gordon Boonewell’s world is falling apart. And his mind may be following.”  We know all you curators can relate to that last sentence.

If you don’t have time to read the campaign page (though you should) check out GS’s campaign video:

In the interest of full disclosure, we have absolutely nothing to do with this campaign or production. We just think it should be funded.

You may have seen the IMLS’s recent count of US museums , which has made news because it appears there are more museums in America than Starbucks and McDonald’s combined. While that sounds nice, we wonder a few things: who takes  in more money? Who has more repeat customers? And who is perceived as necessary? We ask because, while museum professionals have gone all squishy with what appears to be evidence of love and support, we’re not sure that’s what it means.

It should be noted that we are in no way advocating for fewer museums. We believe museum professionals should support every museum, no matter the size, scope, or mission because it means more employment opportunities for us. Of course, the IMLS isn’t interested in these questions. They’re simply trying to justify their existence and funding so they can continue the good work of funding museums and libraries and keeping us all in jobs. Because of that we should fund the IMLS! But Giant Sloth comes first.

Lastly, there’s “Art For Sale: Dereliction of Duty” by Timothy Rub in the Wall Street Journal. Rub, the director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a former president of the AAMD, wrote yet another strongly-worded op-ed piece against the Delaware Museum of Art’s deaccession proposal. We won’t go into it because it’s the same deaccession story all over again, as our Deaccession collection demonstrates. However, between Delaware, Detroit, and the regular go-round of deaccessioning, there have been a lot of fascinating conversations going on at the The Deaccessioning Blog and The Art Law Blog. The Art Law Blog is one of our favorites because they take the museum field to task over our loose use of the public trust and our collections. These blogs demonstrate another long-held belief of the Hysterical Society: that museums are poor interpreters of themselves, their work, and their importance. But that’s ok, because there’s more of us than Starbucks and McDonald’s, which means we must be doing something right. Right?

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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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