Museum Studies in Motion Winter 2014
Be at the center of things.
Volume 6, Issue 2
NEWSLETTER OF THE MUSEUM STUDIES PROGRAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE
Eight days at the Upper Bay Museum
Over the last four decades, the Upper Bay Museum in North East, Maryland has amassed an impressive collection of objects that speak to life on the Upper Bay of the Chesapeake. Most of the objects--duck decoys, boats, fishing gear, tools--were uninventoried and uncataloged; that is, until the Museum Studies SWAT team arrived. This past January, thirteen students braved the cold, figuratively rolled up their sleeves, and got to work cleaning, labeling, photographing, and cataloging the more than two thousand objects in the museum's collection. Volunteers from the museum were on hand to lend their expertise identifying the objects and explaining how they work. In turn, students trained the volunteers on the basics of cataloging and using PastPerfect, the goal of which was to provide them with the skills necessary to pick up where SWAT left off. The Upper Bay Museum was the fifth site selected for the SWAT Team project, after the Vineland Historical Society in 2013, Auburn Heights Preserve in 2012, Laurel Historical Society in 2011, and the Biggs Museum of Art in 2010. Funded by a grant from the Instititute of Museum and Library Services, SWAT aims to help small museums manage their collections, while providing students with hands-on, on-site experience. At the conclusion of the project, a final report detailing recommendations for future actions will be submitted to the Upper Bay Museum's board and leadership.
Members of the 2014 SWAT Team Pictured from left to right: Back Row: Anastasia Day, Jennifer Ferris, Jenn Jensen, Della Keyser, Rachael Beyer, Nicole Belolan, Sequoia Barnes, Tracy Jentzch, Elisabeth Maselli; Front Row: Josh Gates, Megan Hutchins, Heather Gerling, Emily Miller, Jodi Frederiksen, Kasey Grier
In this issue... SWAT 2014: Upper Bay Museum, pg. 1
Director's Message, pg. 2
Alumni Interview: Grace Chapman, pg. 3
Students Attend SMA Conference , pg. 4
Debut of Flat SPencer, pg. 4
Director’s Message KATHERINE GRIER, PhD email@example.com As you can see from this issue, the students and staff of the Museum Studies Program are a busy bunch, but we also manage to squeeze in some fun. The other day, I walked by the classroom where Terry Snyder’s class on archives and paper collections was working with some boxes of materials shared by the Historical Society of Cecil County. (Thanks, Mike Dixon, for allowing us to bring these to Newark.) The happy buzz around the big table did my heart good! Last week, Jodi Frederiksen, a secondyear student who is taking MSST 603: Museums and Technology with our new instructor Mike Zarafonetis, arrived at my writing seminar practically floating on air because of the digital mapping skills she learned in class the day before. Okay, we’re nerds. We get excited about stuff like finding aids and digital maps. But the pleasure that we take in our work here is palpable in the classrooms and in the work we do in the field. We always have a great time with the volunteers anyplace we work, but the fifth annual Collections SWAT Team was especially fun because the Upper Bay Museum has a core of volunteers who are also inveterate yarners and jokers. While we inventoried their collections and taught them how to do it, too, we were regaled with memorable stories about life on the waters of the Upper Chesapeake. Everyone on the project fell in
love with the people and the place, and I am happy to report that Heather Gerling, a Historic Preservation and Museum Studies student who participated in SWAT, has received funding from the University of Delaware Center for Material Culture Studies to make a documentary on decoy carving at Upper Bay and work with the collections over the summer. It’s great to build relationships like this, and the projects we undertake throughout the year have multiple benefits. Apart from the work experience they gain, and the very real aid they give to our institutional partners, students begin to understand how community-based historical organizations can be anchors for identity. Whether their careers take them to large organizations or small ones, museums or cultural agencies, they will bring this knowledge to their work. That makes me happy, too. The IMLS-funded Sustaining Places grant is halfway through its third and final year, and we’re very proud of its products, particularly the website (www.sustainingplaces.com). This online encyclopedia of resources for small historical organization continues to grow, with new materials added weekly. If you are associated with a professional group that maintains its own website, we ask you to consider adding a link to this valuable reference tool, which includes some terrific videos produced by Museum Studies students. And we'd appreciate your suggestions for more resources to include.
Left: Megan Hutchins and Heather Gerling catalog decoys with Upper Bay Museum volunteers Mike and Rick Right: Emily Miller and Kasey Grier review the object numbers of newly cataloged artifacts in PastPerfect 2
Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Winter 2014
Alumni Spotlight on . . .
Grace Chapman '08
We caught up with Grace Chapman, the director of horticulture at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. Prior to her current position, which she has held since 2011, Chapman was horticulture supervisor at the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University. She earned her master's degree in public horticulture from the Longwood Graduate Program and certificate in museum studies in 2008. What are your major responsibilities at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden? As Director of Horticulture, I oversee a department of 20 Virginia Certified Horticulturists and ISA Certified Arborists to maintain an 80-acre botanical garden in Richmond, VA. I am responsible for managing and approving all seasonal and permanent design work, new garden installations, plant health care, general garden maintenance, plant research trials, greenhouse production, and composting programs. Currently, we have a few large-scale garden installations going on. We are installing a cherry tree walk that will circle Lake Sydnor, a 5-acre lake on our property, in the style of the Washington DC tidal basin. I’m including a wide variety of flowering trees and shrubs that will give the garden four-season interest. I’m also installing an ornamental grass garden in front of our Conservatory. This half-acre area is currently turfgrass, which will be removed to create a very attractive and formal ornamental grass display. This garden will showcase water-wise gardening techniques. We are also increasing our azalea and hosta collections through memorial gifts.
college, at the University of Florida, I really learned that horticulture was a true passion and I learned the science of horticulture. What attracted you to the Longwood Graduate Program? The Longwood Graduate Program is truly one of a kind. I was attracted to it because I knew that I wanted to eventually have a leadership role in a public garden. In my undergraduate classes, I learned the art and science of horticulture, but I knew that I needed to gain experience that would teach me how to effectively run a non-profit organization like a business so it would be sustainable into the future.
What do you feel has been your biggest achievement since joining the Garden?
Could you describe your experiences taking museum studies classes?
I am proud of the team I have put together in the Horticulture Department. I have had the opportunity to give long-term employees new responsibilities that have inspired them and let their skills shine, and I have added staff to the team that really complement our current skill sets. During my 2.5 years at the Garden, we have received international recognition for our garden and have appeared on many “top 10” USA garden lists. The most recent recognition was being named the #2 public garden in the country by USA Today. I attribute that to my wonderful and creative staff.
I greatly enjoyed my museum studies classes. I feel that it was beneficial to study with graduate students from other parts of the museum world. I think the professors were very good, and I ended up having one of my professors, Rosemary Krill, as a member of my thesis committee.
How did you initially become interested in horticulture? Growing up, I was always interested in helping my dad with his orchid collection. We were a very “outdoorsy” family, and spent a lot of time camping, hiking, canoeing, and enjoying nature. In high school I took horticulture classes and participated in FFA, and then in
How do you think people who study and work in horticulture can benefit from a background in museum studies? The knowledge that I learned in my museum studies classes is very relevant to my current position. Botanical gardens are museums with "living collections,” so all of the museum principals apply. I am engaged in curating my plant collections by following a living collections policy; I prepare exhibitions; I interpret my collection using many methods that I learned in my museum classes; I am engaged in grant writing to support my collections and special exhibitions.
Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Winter 2014
UD students impress at the Small Museum Association Conference
The University of Delaware was well-represented at year's annual conference of the Small Museum bythis Stephanie Lampkin Association. Nine students attended the February firstname.lastname@example.org conference in Ocean City, Maryland, three as presenters. For many, the occasion marked their first time attending a conference as an emerging museum professional. Kasey Grier partnered with Susan Ellis of Energize, Inc. to kick off the conference with a two-part workshop on volunteer management. Tracy Jentzsch also shared her knowledge of Wikipedia, teaming up with Mary Mark Ockerbloom of the Chemical Heritage Foundation to present a session on the basics of using and editing the popular Internet encyclopedia.
The next time you visit a small museum, take along a companion--Flat SPencer. Based on the Flat Stanley project, Flat SPencer is a way for small museums to connect with each other, visitors, and the Sustaining Places Project. Since his debut in February, Flat SPencer already has visited a number of museums.
Nicole Belolan and Jodi Frederiksen lead a workshop on best practices for collections storage
But for students, the conference was a terrific opportunity to learn about the museum profession and interact with the greater museum community. Della Keyser and Elisabeth Maselli, for example, attended the state meeting for Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where they heard about the particular challenges facing museum practitioners in those states. Additionally a number of students, including Jenn Jensen and Jen Ferris, participated in a roundtable on the do's and don't's of resume-writing. Speakers Nicole Belolan and Jodi Frederiksen received very positive feedback from those who attended their workshop on collections storage; Stephanie Lampkin and Kelsey Ransick (MSST '13) successfully spread the word about the Sustaining Places project; and recent alumna Jesse Gagnon, who serves as Director of Education at the Marshall Steam Museum, made an engaging and well-attended presentation on the topic of museum education. 4
Print your copy by visiting the SPencer Fan Page, and have fun decorating him. Then take his picture at a small museum or historic site, and send the picture to us via e-mail at email@example.com OR tweet the picture using the hashtag #UDFlat_SPencer.
The Museum Studies Program at the University of Delaware 77 East Main Street | Newark, DE 19711 (302) 831-1251 http://www.udel.edu/museumstudies firstname.lastname@example.org Katherine (Kasey) Grier, Director Tracy Jentzsch, Staff Assistant Nicole Belolan, Graduate Assistant Della Keyser, Graduate Assistant Stephanie Lampkin, Graduate Assistant
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