FC: Museum Photo Essay: Morven Park by: Jennifer Ferrin
1: Some Background: Morven Park was the home of Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis and his wife, Marguerite for 40 years. They made many improvements to the house and he was known for helping to revolutionize farming in Virginia. The mansion is very impressive from the outside, so let's see what it has to offer to the public on the inside.
2: When I walk into the door, this is what I find! Sadly, I am not allowed to take pictures within the house, but the different professions can easily be seen even in only one room! | This is Ms. Babcock she represents the Visitor Service staff/Security staff.
3: Visitor Service staff like Ms. Babcock contribute a lot to this space since they are the first person a visitor sees when coming to the museum. "At smaller institutions, this position may not be necessary or its responsibilities may be combined with security, education, marketing, and/or development specifically membership" (Schlatter, 2008, pg.94). This staff member does a little bit of everything at Morven Park. She welcomes you, answers questions, tells you about any events or educational experiences happening, and takes you on a guided tour. This position is probably the most important for day-to-day operations at this historic house museum since they have many responsibilities.
4: This space also serves as the museum shop! You can find a wide variety of items like bags of tea, books on the history of the family, the carriage collection, a cookbook on vintage recipes, and equestrian activities on the property. What is really neat is that some items can be purchased online and delivered to your door!
5: With the help of the Museum Shop staff, this small shop has a lot of interesting items that are found exclusively at Morven Park. The Visitor Service staff helps to keep the shop stocked at all times and they help visitor's to purchase their items by running the cash register.
6: Morven Park is always hosting events for every kind of interest and the public can thank the Special Events staff for this. They have to create events that would interest the area around them. For example, they have equestrian, agriculture, Fourth of July fireworks, wine and beer tasting to name a few. Seeing their advertisements makes me want to come back!
7: Located on the desk there are multiple brochures about Morven Park, the Civil War, but what is the most interesting is the 2012 Summer Camps one in the middle! The Summer Camps for kids was created by the Education staff. They are responsible for creating new interactive programs for kids to learn while having fun at the same time.
8: The QR Code Tour is a new way to tour the grounds using your cell phone! You are able to scan the QR and it shows you an old picture of that area when the house was run by the Davis family. I have not seen this at many museums, but the Media Specialists and Marketing staff here definitely know what they are doing to bring these kinds of new ideas to Morven Park.
9: "Much of the marketing manager's job is devoted to developing, refining, and promoting the museum's brand, which is the public's conception of the institution" (Schlatter, 2008, pg.88) My guess is that the Marketing staff uses the suggestion box and guest book to see what the public likes and doesn't like about what goes on. Also, some new ideas probably start from a public suggestion and then implemented into the museum or the tour by other staff members like Educators and Curators.
10: Located in the right corner of the room there is a small display case full of miniature carriages. The museum has a whole collection of carriages called the Winmill Carriage Collection. When I see a display case I think of the Curator and Exhibition staff because they are the ones in charge of putting objects like this out to peak the interest of the visitor as they walk into the room.
11: Also, I saw above the desk a cut out in the wall that shows what is behind the walls of the museum. It adds character and interest to the space. I have seen this done at other historic houses, and I think it is a great idea for the visitor to see what lies beyond what they see on the surface.
12: In conclusion, even though I was not allowed to take any pictures within the mansion, I still was amazed at how many professions contributed to only one room. I saw the work of collections, development, exhibition, marketing, media, museum shop, security, and visitor staff. Before this project, I did not pay as much attention as I should have to how many professions it takes to make a museum work. Especially at a smaller museum like this, it takes many more than even I have mentioned in this photo essay to run Morven Park. I am very thankful for Morven Park since the have made my experience there very memorable and special!
13: References: Schlatter, N.E. (2008). Museum Careers: A Practical Guide for Students & Novices. California: Left Coast Press, Inc.