Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Unpacking (Ideas) from Syracuse

The Museum Association of New York (MANY) just concluded its Annual Conference in Syracuse.

And while I was excited to be both a participant and a sponsor at this year's gathering, I'm still unpacking -- both mentally and physically.  I encourage you to click on the links below to learn more!

Here are a few things that stood out for me in Syracuse:

1) Rematriation

Michelle Schenandoah, a member of the On^yota':aka (Oneida) Nation Wolf Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, spoke eloquently about carrying her ancestor's passion to rematriate traditional lands and tell of the world's oldest democracy.

You can find out more about Michelle and her work here.

2) Where Is The Love?

Omar Eaton-Martinez, currently the Senior Vice President for Historic Sites at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, challenged us all to think like Museum J.E.D.I.s -- with that acronym standing for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.  (The Museum J.E.D.I. is also the name of Omar's podcast, where conversations meet at the intersections of museums and social justice.)

Omar's talk touched on many honest (and tough!) things for museum workers to act on, but the title of his talk was drawn from the following quote by Dr. Cornel West,

"Justice is what love looks like in public." 

3) Decolonizing the Collection and Spiritual Carte of Artworks

Marie-Anne Redhead, Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery - Qaumajuq traveled from Canada to share the continuing work of decolonization at her institution.

A part of Marie-Anne's talk that I found especially interesting was the work of "renaming" existing artwork in the WAG's collection.  To find out more about "Interrupting the Institution" click this link to go to the WAG website.

4) Building Sensory-FriendlyMuseums

One of the last sessions I attended in Syracuse was presented by Charlotte Martin and Ava Locks, and focused on creating more sensory-friendly experiences. 

We created "Sound Maps" (like the one I made shown below) during the session to help us become more aware of our sonic surroundings.  

Charlotte also shared this link to the Intrepid website filled with great accessibility resources, including the accessible digital publication,  "Making History Accessible: Toolkit for Multisensory Interpretation", which offers a range of digital and physical/tactile solutions to help make interpretive content at historic sites and other educational facilities more accessible.

Of course, I also had time to see some exhibitions in Syracuse, including the excellent "Hoop Dreams" at the Everson Museum of Art (with a basketball court interactive section where you could shoot baskets!)

Thanks to the MANY Staff and Board for putting on a great conference in Syracuse!

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Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

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