This is my second post about what I’m calling, informally, #MuseumWalkabout Summer 2017. Read here for the first part.
Design Museum Boston may have been the biggest disappointment of my #MuseumWalkabout. Which is a shame– it’s a neat concept. A “nomadic museum” that does design-based installations throughout the city. The museum as a truly integrated element of the urban landscape. So much to love there. Unfortunately…
#MuseumWalkabout stop 2: the Design Museum Boston. It's a "nomadic museum" (cool concept) so I wasn't expecting exhibits, but the address I Googled gave me the impression there'd be a gift shop at the location, maybe some offices. Unfortunately, all there was was a window display on an empty shop front of a parking garage, so nobody to talk to. 🙁
I don’t know if there was once a gift shop at that location, or even a temporary one, or if they have offices in that building that weren’t marked or accessible, or what. But Google, my dear, dear Google, misled me. I am disappoint.
(True story– I was fiercely loyal to Mapquest even after Google Maps came out, until Mapquest gave me bad directions driving to a friend’s funeral in Cincinnati, and I have never used it since. Mapping services are so integral to our lives, so important, that one bad user experience can put us off them forever. This isn’t nearly in the neighborhood of that experience, but it does make me wonder– how do you report to Google that a location they’re reporting doesn’t exist?)
There was nothing but a (fairly nice and interesting) window display. I realized I was very near the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and decided to watch some people interact with some public art. The first piece I went to was “The Meeting House” by Mark Reigelman. The piece has some folding chairs next to it that seemed like good attractors. A punk mother sat and rocked her infant’s stroller. Two finance bros had a chat. Some kids were running around, and of course there were several teens and tourists with cell phones out, taking pictures and selfies. (No judgement, obviously…)
And then the rain picked up.
And then the rain was almost pouring, all within minutes.
I ducked into the Boston Intercontinental, which I’d been in once before when I needed a quiet place near South Station to take a call from a journalist. I also remembered from that time that the hotel had a large number of outlets, which was good, because my phone was already low on juice.
I’d already been thinking about how advertising and publicity prime visitors for what sort of experience they could expect at your museum, and these banner ads– strangely encased, for some reason– let you know that the Boston Tea Party Museum And Ships were a local historical point of interest (no mention of the fact that they’re not in the correct location at all, because of landfill), and right around the corner from the Intercontinental.
I had a delicious A.B.C.D.E.L.T sandwich at RumBa, one of the hotel’s several bars and restaurants, and charged my phone while reading about– of course– museums.
#MuseumWalkabout lunchtime reading: Nina Simon on the "Challenges of Dialog-Focused Exhibits"
— Tad Suiter (@retius) July 27, 2017
Link for the curious. We’ve been debating the pros and cons of dialog-focused exhibits where I work, and it was passed on to me via a coworker.
My phone was still relatively low, so I moved on to a second article:
As I continue to charge my phone, my #MuseumWalkabout reading switches to a guide to "Optimizing PastPerfect for Archival Collections."
— Tad Suiter (@retius) July 27, 2017
Another link for the curious. Readers Digest version: it can be done, somewhat imperfectly, but better than you might think, but within limitations. You’ll probably have to create a finding aid elsewhere, whether in Archivists’ Toolkit or a Word doc.
And if anyone reading this really was legitimately curious, get in touch with me and I can arrange to cook you dinner, because you’re the kind of person my wife and I don’t meet enough of.
Next up: The Boston Children’s Museum!!!