Thoughts on Museum Success I: Museums Nurturing Artists

Originally published in the Ackland’s Member E-Newsletter of 3 November 2014, this is the first in a series of ruminations on how museums measure success.

Those who work in and around art museums often turn their minds to the thorny question: how do we measure our success? It is a challenging and stimulating question which can lead off into unexpected avenues. I thought I’d share with you some of my own brief ruminations on this question. I do hope that I hear from you with your comments and ideas on this. Feel free to e-mail me at peter.nisbet@unc.edu — I hope to report on interesting ideas. Collectively, we may come up with some good answers!

Let me begin with a simple anecdote. The very first exhibition of my professional career was a show of drawings by the radical and experimental German artist Joseph Beuys (1921-1986), an artist I deeply admire. The details of the show aren’t relevant here; I want to focus on a dinner party conversation shortly afterwards. I found myself seated next to a sculptor, who, without knowing who I was, spoke movingly and at length about how this exhibition had Continue reading

NEW! Sneak Peek: Glimpses into the Ackland’s Collections

Those of us working on digitally archiving the Ackland’s collections have wanted to share our progress for some time. We are in our last phases of production, and we have now:

• Produced over 12,000 master image files of artworks
• Joined those images with descriptive and technical information
• Loaded all completed records (approximately 6,000!) onto the Ackland’s website, for free and easy use by individuals worldwide!

Imagine looking through box after box and folder after folder of artwork every day for eight hours a day. It is both dazzling and tedious. You can’t perform these duties without having some images stick in your brain, so we will be contributing to the Ackland Art Museum blog on a regular basis to give you an idea of what’s going on behind the scenes.

DigiTeam_clrThere are three of us currently working under a grant contract to accomplish this project: Diane, a photographer who has been digitizing since Fall 2010, and Dana and Abby, two digital image technicians who joined the project in Fall 2013.

And we want to be clear: not one of us has ever had a formal Art History class. We are all simply art appreciators who will be sharing our favorites with you—and we definitely have some favorites! Each of us will be digging into our files to bring you glimpses of what we have the privilege of seeing every day.