Blog Updates

First of all, congratulations to the Towson University class of 2012, and especially to my sister Emma who earned her Master of Arts in Teaching yesterday! Emma specializes in middle school and high school social studies, and she throws herself into creating projects for her students that are innovative and engaging and that go far beyond the old-fashioned lecture.

Towson University education students' commencement, 2012

Towson University education students’ commencement, 2012

The graduation ceremony’s most moving speaker was Maryland Teacher of the Year Joshua Parker, who built on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s drum major speech by imploring the education graduates to be drum majors for service, responsibility, and truth. Graduating yesterday were undergraduate and graduate students, as well as three PhD students, all having studied to serve as educators.

It was a bittersweet event for me. As someone who earned an MAT myself two years ago, I know firsthand what it is like to leave the busy, purposeful life of a graduate student in this economy. My Master’s, like Emma’s, involved far more than sitting in an ivory tower discussing esoteric texts. We both had to learn by doing and serving, earning course credits by spending time out in the field on challenging, exciting projects with increasing responsibility. Plummeting from the busy world of graduate school to the extreme underemployment that followed was quite the shock, and in the current economic climate, I know I was/am not alone.

This preface brings me to the blog updates. Between working two jobs and searching for a job that will be permanent and financially sustainable, I often feel overwhelmed. (Then throw volunteering, being involved in a spiritual community, and helping to run a book club into the mix.) I truly admire the people who become far busier than I am before they reach their limit. To help organize my life, I am going to start by organizing my blog as follows:

  • Guest posts! I want to hear from you. Adding additional voices to this blog will help keep a dialogue about museums going and ensure that fresh thoughts will be posted here regularly. Whether you are a museum professional or just a person who wants to write about a museum you visited for fun, I welcome your posts. Please let me know if you are interested.
  • Monthly themes. Themes will give any guest bloggers a broad idea from which to work, and they will help guide my writing and shape my blog each month. I have enough ideas to last the rest of the year; sometimes I just cannot choose which idea to use next.
  • Favorite museum photographs. For me, blogging is a lot more fun than writing cover letters, but deep down, I know that cover letters are what I really need to be writing more than anything else. Why not use this space to share photography as well as writing? When my computer failed, I lost the high-resolution files for most of my photos, but I still have a few dozen of my absolute favorites.

Are you interested in writing a guest post? Is there something you wish I would write about? Let me know!


About Laura

Paralegal with Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education, frequent museum visitor, based in Washington, DC. I care about what museums can do, both in terms of public offerings and internal practices, to make the world a better place. I blog about museum education ("informed"), the social work of museums ("humane"), and visitor experience ("citizenry").
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4 Responses to Blog Updates

  1. Diana says:

    Thinking back to our conversation at dinner the other day, I’m still curious as to why and how certain works of art (like the Mona Lisa, for example) got to be so ubiquitously known. In this day and age, it’s so easy to share information with hundreds of “friends” on Facebook with just a few clicks of a mouse. The Internet has only been widely used for the last decade or two though… so long before the Internet, why and how did some old paintings get to be so famous while countless other works of art by other talented artists just faded into oblivion? What makes these particular works of art special? I would be curious to know your thoughts on this. 🙂

    • disciullo says:

      Those questions could definitely lead to a whole blog post! It’s an ages-old question: who decides what counts as art, what’s worth seeing? That’s touched on here, in this video we had to watch and discuss in class: And it’s worth exploring whether the Internet has helped to democratize what counts as a masterpiece.

      The fact that so many people want to visit the Mona Lisa has to do with visitor motivations. John Falk’s research led to him describing five main categories for why people go to museums: experience seekers, explorers, professionals/hobbyists, facilitators, and rechargers. A visitor’s motivation isn’t fixed and can vary from visit to visit or even within a visit. Experience seekers are visiting a place because it’s the thing to do, it’s the city’s main attraction, it’s what everyone does, it’s on their bucket list… They may not have any particular interest in the Mona Lisa, but they are going to see it because it’s so famous and they’re missing an experience if they don’t see it. A much less famous work of art could be of interest to people acting in the other motivations, but not to experience seekers.

  2. marybyrnebergman says:

    Laura, I will write a post. Not sure about what yet! I know how you feel, I think so many people do. The bulk of my work experience is in museums and researching, two fields that don’t pay or hire….the other half of my work life has been at the post office, and they aren’t hiring, either!

    • disciullo says:

      Thanks so much Mary! Want to write something related to Studying Museums, for July? I know you can relate well. Too bad I loved my National Postal Museum internship so much… :-p

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