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FDR Presidential Library Museum, Hyde Park, NY

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FDR Presidential Library Museum, Hyde Park, NY - Page Text Content

S: Photo Essay 460_601_81

FC: FDR Presidential Library Museum Hyde Park, NY Lisa Eighmie

1: Facilities Manager The exterior of the FDR Presidential Library is under construction; An example of the role of the Facilities Manager who is responsible for maintaining and improving the museum's building and property. The Facility Manager's crew is also responsible for maintaining and repairing the elevators, fire extinguishers, temperature and relative humidity controls, electricity, all wood and flag signage on the property, and all other building and grounds maintenance and repairs. Note that the wooden sign mounted to the exterior stone wall was written by the Museum Director Cynthia Koch.

2: Visitor Services and Reception Area The Visitor Services Manager is responsible for ensuring that museum visitors have a positive experience and come back to visit the museum again and again. The Visitor Services Crew at the reception desk monitors the number of guests entering the museum, sells tickets, guides visitors, answers questions and provides information to guests, offers memberships to help raise funds for the museum, etc. The Visitor Services staff must be friendly and helpful at all times, as well as consistently maintain a clean, interesting and aesthetically pleasing appearance. The Visitor Services/Reception area is the first thing visitors see and therefore acts as the face of the museum. "A number of institutions that used to be known exclusively for the quality of their collections are developing reputations as places that people want to visit because of the way they are treated, the enjoyable experiences awaiting them and staff that make them feel welcome and wanted," (Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund 2001)

4: Sections of the tile floor mural in the reception area gallery - This is most likely a combination of a Development Director to raise the funds necessary to commission the artist to create the tile floor map; the Administrator that actually commissioned the artist, drew up the contract, and paid the artist; a Curator to oversee the installation of the tile floor and decide the best placement; and the facilities manager to ensure the work of art always looks its best for the public to view.

7: Security - The security staff is responsible for securing and protecting the museum building, exhibitions, objects, money, and people. Many rules and precautionary measures are in place to protect the objects in a museum that the security staff must enforce and monitor. For example, no flash photography is allowed in the galleries to protect the objects from excessive light exposure, a state of the art alarm system is in place, barriers and Plexiglas walls surround the exhibitions, and security personnel in uniform are standing vigilant at each entrance to the museum watching video monitors from surveillance cameras positioned throughout the museum. (Schlatter p.92-93)


9: Museum Store The museum store is an example of the Retail Manager profession. "Museum stores provide an important source of relatively dependable income in addition to contributing to the institution's public identity in terms of product and service," (Schlatter p.90). Museum stores are especially important because they generate revenue for the museum by providing a way for visitors to take a little piece of the museum home with them to commemorate their visit and remind them of the positive, educational experience they had there.

10: Primarily, the Curator is responsible for the exhibitions, however several other museum professionals contribute to putting together the elaborate displays that museum visitors get to enjoy. | Exhibitions | The Curator's primary function is to "organize exhibitions, including developing the themes, choosing objects, writing text, and overseeing the installation." (Schlatter p.57)

11: The Art Handler also contributes to exhibitions by preparing objects for display by fabricating mounts, frames, mattes, etc. They also install and deinstall displays, paint walls, build cases, assemble components, adjust lights, etc. (Schlatter p.62-70 | The Exhibition Manager works with the curator to develop, design and install exhibitions, select traveling, exhibitions, assist in generating exhibition topics interpret content and evaluate goals for exhibitions.

12: Accession Numbers Every object on display in a museum should have an accession number assigned to it. At the FDR Presidential Library, the accession numbers are typed on a laminated page or text panel associated with each object in the exhibition or display case. No visible accession numbers are written on the objects themselves.

13: The registrar and collections manager are responsible for accessioning objects into the collection, maintaining records of the objects' provenance and condition, preserving the objects by storing them in the best environments, and corroborating with the Curator on exhibitions. "Museums also require collections staff to maintain meticulous documentation on the condition and history of the objects before and during the museum's possession," (Schlatter p.36).

14: Archivists and Educators

15: "Educators instigate, facilitate, and expand the museum's educational mission by creating and evaluating opportunities for informal learning..." (Schlatter p.80-81). Such as these videos of FDR that play in several of the galleries including a small auditorium area pictured on the left. | "Archivists collect, organize, and maintain control over a wide range of information deemed important enough for permanent safekeeping. This information takes many forms: photographs, films, video and sound recordings... as well as more traditional paper records, letters, and documents," (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2008).

16: The Photographer is responsible for photographing the objects in a museum to be pictured on advertisements and merchandise promoting the museum such as brochures like these. "Some photographers work for registrars; others are supervised by the Marketing Department. Many museums that can't afford in-house photographers hire freelancers or agencies or task other staff members, such as preparators, with the responsibility," (Schlatter p.69).

17: Lighting - Objects in a museum, especially paper and photographs, can only be exposed to a certain amount of light per day or they may become damaged over time. It's the Registrar's and the Lighting Staff's responsibility to determine the amount of light and the type of light objects can be safely exposed to for any length of time. The Lighting Staff adjusts the light levels so they aren't too harsh on the objects, but still illuminate the objects in a way that is pleasing to the visitors.

18: "Curators direct the acquisition, storage, and exhibition of collections, including negotiating and authorizing the purchase, sale, exchange, or loan of collections. They are also responsible for authenticating, evaluating, and categorizing the specimens in a collection." | "Conservators manage, care for, preserve, treat, and document works of art, artifacts, and specimens - work that may require substantial historical, scientific and archaeological research," (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2008).

19: In order to explain the objects in an exhibition clearly and concisely, museums use text panels. the Curator is responsible for the context, but the Editor plays and essential role as well. The Editor "ensures that the text is factually correct, is appropriate for the museum and its audience, and conforms to grammatical and stylistic guides..." (Schlatter pl79). All text panels and other components of exhibitions must also comply with ADA standards (Americans With Disabilities Act). | The Editor must cater to the museum's audience and write text accordingly. He/she also oversees the printing and mounting of text panels, acquires copyright permissions and facilitates the fabrication process. | TEXT PANELS

20: "Most museum goers think of a museum as static. They're in a gallery, gazing at a painting on a wall. They're generally not aware that, behind the scenes, there's a loading dock opening a closing regularly. there are conservators preparators, truck drivers, riggers, crate builders, insurance companies - and registrars - busy every day. If we're all doing our jobs right, we're invisible." Maureen McCormick

21: * Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2008) Archivists, curators, and museum technicians. In Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos065.htm | * Moseley, Caroline. (1998, January 12) Gatekeeper of the art museum. Princeton Weekly Bulletin. Retrieved from http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pwb/98/0112/0112-maureenmocc.html | * Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund (2001). Investing in staff to improve visitor services. In Service to people: Challenges and rewards (pp.33-44). Retrieved from http://www.wallacefoundation.org/KnowledgeCenter/KnowledgeTopics/AreasOfContinuingInterest/Museums/Pages/ServicestoPeople.aspx | * Ballestrem, A., Bridgland, J., von Imhoff, Isar, R.,H.C., McMillan, E., and Perrot, P.N. (1978-1984). The Conservator-Restorer: a Definition of the Profession. Retrieved from http://www.icom-cc.org/47/definition-of-profession/ | * Glaser, J.R., & Zenetou, A.A. (1996), Museums: A place to work, planning museum careers. New York, NY: Routledge. ISBN-10 0415127246 | * Schlatter, N.E. (2003). Become a museum registrar. Next Step. Retrieved from http://www.nextstepmagazine.com/nextstep.articlePage1.aspx?timeline=1&artId=49 | * Schlatter, N.E. (2008). Museum Careers: A practical guide for students and novices. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. ISBN-10: 159874044X | * Malaro, C., Marie. (1998). A Legal Primer on Managing Museum Collections, 2nd Edition. Smithsonian Books, Washington. ISBN 1-56098-787-1 | * Buck, A., Rebecca and Jean Allman Gilmore. (2010). Museum Registration Methods 5th Edition. The AAM Press, American Association of Museums, Washington. ISBN 978-1-933253-15-2

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Lisa Eighmie
  • By: Lisa E.
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  • Title: FDR Presidential Library Museum, Hyde Park, NY
  • Photo Essay March 19, 2011
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  • Published: over 8 years ago