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Barnes Museum Photos - Rick Stark

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S: Rick Stark - Barnes Museum

FC: Barnes Foundation Museum | Rick Stark Museum Professions

1: I visited the Barnes Foundation Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to the website, “The mission of the Barnes Foundation, which dates back to its founding in 1922, is the promotion of the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts,”

2: Background on the Barnes Foundation Museum Born in 1872, Albert Coombs Barnes grew up in Philadelphia and became highly successful in business developing pharmaceutical compounds used to treat a variety of medical problems. In the early 1900s he began an avid pursuit of collecting art and developed educational theories regarding art (though he was likely influenced much earlier through his friendship with William Glackens, a friend since High School). His theories were drawn from the ideas of William James, George Santayana, and John Dewey and focused on how people looked at and learned from art. In 1922, he established the Barnes Foundation to promote the advancement of education and appreciation of fine arts. He wrote or co-wrote six books on art between 1925 and 1939 and died in 1951 (see references). The museum tries to duplicate the design of Barnes’ original mansion in the gallery spaces. Barnes had insisted his art always be displayed in a precise manner. When the museum built a new facility in downtown Philadelphia, the complex was designed to include the replica mansion / gallery areas, a temporary exhibition area, meeting spaces, expansive lobbies and entrance areas, and a gift shop and other facilities including offices for staff.

3: Barnes Foundation Museum Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Background on the Museum on page 8) This photo shows the inner lobby of the Barnes, which lies between the portrait galleries and the temporary exhibition space. On the far right there is an audio-tour device rental counter staffed by museum personnel. To the left we see the entrance to the galleries where volunteers advise visitors about museum rules. This space is immaculate and well-maintained. The offices of the museum involved include the volunteer office, the business office, the visitor service staff, and the facilities management/maintenance staff. The tour technology (audio-devices) may have involved the education, curators, and media staff. As noted in the 2009 Art Museum Education Programs Survey report, self-guided tours are rising as technology supplants docent and staff tours: “Overall, the widespread adoption of new technologies seems to be impacting the ways in which museums, and particularly museum educators, are interfacing with their audiences.”

4: This photo shows the temporary exhibition area of the museum, which focuses on the museum founder, the museum mission, and an overview of the collection. The displays include art objects, letters, multi-media presentations, and graphic illustrations and photos. We can see the role of the curator, archivists/registrar, collections office, exhibit designers, exhibition and lighting staff, media specialists, photographers, and educators. Some of these functions may be supported by outside consultants who do work on a contractual basis. Given the overview this exhibit provides, it is likely that the Director takes a special interest in this exhibit.

5: This photo shows the temporary exhibition space. We can infer the role of the media specialist, photographer, exhibition designer and educator in the development of the multi-media presentation on the screen. It is likely that the curator, archivists/registrar, and collections staff were involved in providing the materials for the presentation. The Curator likely had a very significant role – according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Curators direct the acquisition, storage and exhibit of collections, ...They also may authenticate, evaluate, and categorize the specimens in a collection.” An outside consultant may have developed the multi-media presentation. As Kate Roberts noted, the exhibit design process is quite integrated from the start, usually involving a team from the museum; she spends a week or so thinking about the project, then meets with a designer to conceptualize it further. She brings in other people with various skills as ideas develop, including technology, education, design, fabricators / production, etc.

6: This photo shows a printed guide that orients visitors to each room of the permanent gallery. This was likely developed through collaboration between the curator, collections staff, educators, exhibitions, photography, and archivist/registrar staff. It may have been printed by an outside contractor and internal staff was likely involved in the photography and design of the booklet. On the right is a page from the guide that orients visitors to each room of the permanent gallery. The guide contains some details of the pieces arranged on the four walls of the room.

7: This is a photo of the inner lobby. In the distance, on the second floor, one can see glass enclosing office spaces of the museum. This is largest space in the museum and is likely used for large receptions and gatherings involving the director, development office, marketing staff, and special events staff. As noted by Schlatter, “the role of fundraiser consumes a large percentage of many museum directors’ workload” (Schlatter, P112). This physical space connects the galleries (reconstructed mansion) to the right, the temporary exhibit area in the distance, and the outer lobby/entrance and ticketing area (through a doorway on the left). The ticketing office is an important data collection point. As Paul F. Marty (2007) notes about IT, “...the needs and expectations of museum professionals and museum visitors have become increasingly sophisticated; no longer satisfied with limited access to information about museum collections.” The data collected at ticketing likely provides visitor data useful to marketing, development, and membership. The visitor service staff, the facilities management and maintenance staff, and the business office (rental space) also influence this area.

8: This photo shows the inner lobby of the Barnes where visitors line up to enter the main galleries. This area is controlled by the visitor services staff and influenced by the ticketing office function.

9: This photo shows the entrance to the Barnes Foundation Museum. This area is maintained by the facilities/maintenance staff, including the management of the shallow reflecting pool which flanks the building (the dark gray band just above the grass). It is likely that outside contractors (pool maintenance) support the maintenance of the reflecting pool as it probably has a variety of specialized mechanical and chemical treatment systems. This area welcomes visitors and benefactors and would be an area of special interest to the visitor services office and the director.

10: References: JHU Interview with Kate Roberts Senior Exhibits Developer Minnesota Historical Society; JHU Interview with Griffith Mann, Deputy Director / Chief Curator, Cleveland Museum of Art; JHU Interview with Joan Olson, Vice President, Institutional Advancement at Minneapolis College of Art and Design; Barnes, Albert C, The Art in Painting, (1925); Barnes, Albert C, Dewey, John, and Buermeyer, Laurence, Art and Education (1929); Barnes, Albert C and de Mazia, Violette, The French Primitives and Their Forms from Their Origin to the End of the Fifteenth Century, (1931); Barnes, Albert C and de Mazia, Violette The Art of Henri Matisse, (1933); Barnes, Albert C and de Mazia, Violette The Art of Renoir, (1935); Barnes, Albert C and de Mazia, Violette The Art of Cézanne, (1939); Bearman, D. (1990). Chapter 1: Membership, development & participation Functions. In Functional requirements for membership, development & participation systems, Archives and Museum Informatics Technical Report.; Glaser, J. R., & Zenetou, A. A. (1996), Museums: A place to work, planning museum careers, New York, NY: Routledge; Marty, Paul F. (2007), The Changing Nature of Information Work in Museums; Schlatter, N. E. (2008), Museum careers: A practical guide for students and novices, Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press; 2009 Art Museum Education Programs Survey report; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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  • Title: Barnes Museum Photos - Rick Stark
  • Barnes Museum Photos and JHU Museum Professions Assignment
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