BC: Thank You!
FC: Museum Visit Photo Essay | Meghan Marley July 11, 2012
1: Cleveland Museum of Natural History | Introduction On Saturday June 30, 2012, I visited the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) on a self-guided tour throughout the main level of the museum, including the special exhibition Mythic Creatures (where photography was prohibited). This tour provided me with the opportunity to observe and photograph the work of various museum professionals. The following photo essay is an assortment of the work visible during my visit and an analysis of those professionals responsible for it.
2: CMNH, 2012 | Museum Entrance
3: The entrance of the CMNH, similar to that of other museums, is a complex area when analyzing the various work of museum professionals employed and performed there. Thus to fully examine the assorted roles and work, the entrance will be broken down into four sections: (1) the admission desk, (2) the membership desk, (3) publication materials, and (4) the security desk.
4: Admission Desk | Situated next to the entrance doors, the admission desk is where visitors can purchase tickets (for both the museum and planetarium shows) and museum membership. The admission desk additionally serves as the information desk. Therefore, the most prominent museum professionals at this desk are the Visitor Service Staff, the two women behind the counter, who are responsible for “admissions ticketing [and] visitor information desks” (Schlatter, 2008, p. 94). The admission desk staff can also act as Membership Staff as you can purchase and renew (as I did) membership at this desk. The two computers visible on this desk indicate the work of the Information Systems Staff and Chief Information Officer who are responsible for the computers and programs/databases used for ticketing and membership. The brochures, guide maps, and posters located on and above the desk also indicate the presence of the Print/Publications Staff, as they are responsible for the printed publications for the museum. The phones on the desk denote the work of the Facilities Staff who maintain telecommunications for the museum (p.100).
6: Admission Desk
7: The price of admission, seen on the panel above the desk (a close-up picture is to the left), is determined by the Director, who “oversees the museum’s financial security” (Schlatter, 2008, p. 108), and Chief Financial Officer, who oversees the museum’s finances. The posters next to this pricing panel signify the work of the Astronomy Programs Coordinator and the Observatory Coordinator who design the planetarium shows (e.g. One World, One Sky); similarly, the exhibits promoted on the panel (e.g. Mythic Creatures) denote the work of the Education and Curatorial Staff that designed/curated them.
8: The membership desk is where visitors can obtain more information about the various types of museum membership and purchase it. The Membership Staff, while not shown in this picture, would manage this desk as their responsibilities include “identifying, enlisting, and retaining members” (Bearman, 1990, p. 6). The Development Staff and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) may also be involved in operating this desk as “museum membership is an especially important function of the Development Department” (Schlatter, 2008, p. 76) as it is in charge of fundraising for the museum and membership is under the CFO’s supervision according to Glaser and Zenetou (1996). As with the admissions desk, the computer on the desk denotes the work of the Chief Information Officer and Information Systems Staff who are responsible for the membership database including “training and access” (p. 103) for museum employees. The printed materials located on and around the desk are, once again, the work of the Print/Publications Staff, perhaps with the help of the Marketing Department who would assist with “[targeting] high-potential consumers” (p. 106).
9: Membership Desk
11: This stack of publication materials provides visitors with free printed information about the museum, including the museum magazine Tracks, special exhibition guides to Mythic Creatures, information on becoming a museum member, program guides, and more. The work of the Print/Publications Staff is the most predominant in this area as they helped publish and printed all of these brochures, magazines, and guides. The effort of the Photographer(s) is also visible in the photographs present in these publications, as is the effort of the Marketing Staff who assist other museum staff “develop promotional strategies that will reach” (Glaser and Zenetou, 1996, p. 106) various audiences. Several other departments and staff (e.g. Curatorial, Education, Membership, etc) also helped create the content of these publication materials; for example, the Membership Staff assisted with the membership brochure. | Publication Material
12: Security Desk
13: The security desk serves as the office for museum security personnel as it provides them coverage of the front door and entries into numerous exhibits; a fact that is important since security is responsible for “the protection of the building, its collections, and its visitors and staff from theft, fire, injury, and other damage” (Glaser and Zenetou, 1996, p. 115). Accordingly, this desk is equipped with a security monitor, located in the far right corner, that has various camera feeds from around the grounds. The security desk additionally serves as the sign-in desk for museum staff and volunteers, as exemplified by the badges on the shelves and check-in sheets on the counter. Clearly, CMNH’s Security Staff, like the man behind the desk, is most visible at this location. The Chief Information Officer and Information Systems Staff are also present in the use and maintenance of electronic security systems (e.g. the security cameras).
15: Dugout Canoe | The Ringler Dugout Canoe, according to the exhibit panel pictured here, was discovered on November 30, 1976 during dredging operations at Lake Savannah on the property of Donald and Mary Ringler. The canoe was relocated to the museum on December 6 where conservation and research could be conducted by the staff; efforts that can be observed in the panel, photographs, and labels surrounding the canoe (glimpses of which you can see around the panel and on the left wall behind the canoe).
16: Ringler Dugout Canoe
17: According to these descriptions and pictures, the CMNH Conservator played a major role in this project as a conservator’s job “consists of technical examination, preservation, and conservation-restoration of cultural property” (Ballestrem et al, 1978-1984, section 2.1) - such as the canoe. The Curator of Archaeology was also vital to this project as his expertise in the subject matter was used in the research and conservation effort, and he assisted in the exhibition of the canoe- all curatorial responsibilities according to Glaser and Zenetou (1996). The photographs displayed here may have been the work of the museum Photographer, and the Exhibit Designers and Exhibition and Lighting Staff all aided, respectively, in the production and installation of the permanent exhibit (Glaser and Zenetou, 1996). Security Staff may have helped in the exhibition design by suggesting methods for keeping the canoe safe, such as the glass case protecting the canoe.
19: Planetary Odyssey: Explore the Solar System is an interactive display featuring “actual footage from NASA space missions projected onto a large viewing monitor. Your ‘spacecraft’ can take you to planets and moons in the solar system” (CMNH, 2012, para. 13). The most visible work in this display is that of the exhibition team which, according to Roberts (Sayre, 2009) usually consists of a Curator, an Exhibit Designer, Exhibition and Lighting Staff, an Educator, and Media Staff. In this context, the Curator is probably the Astronomy Programs Coordinator as he is the museum’s astronomy expert. The Educator assisted the team in communicating with their target audience, i.e. children and families as the display is rather simplistic. The Exhibit Designer and Exhibition and Lighting Staff performed their duties of designing and installing a futuristic, dark atmosphere (as indicated in the low lighting of the area). Moreover, the Media Specialist played a vital role in the creation of this exhibit as it is their responsibility to create and manage the media programing for exhibitions (Glaser and Zenetou, 1996). | Planetary Odyssey
21: Can you read this now? | Major Lifetime Benefactors Wall | The Major Lifetime Benefactors Wall displays commemorative plaques with the names of those who have, according to the central inscription shown here, “provided the cumulative support for the museum’s physical plant, research, and educational programs.” An example of which is the plaque second on the left commemorating Mr. and Mrs. Arthur L. Dougan for donating to the Kirtland Society, which supports scientific and educational research (Kirtlandia Society, 2012, para. 1). The effort of the CFO and Development Staff is clearly visible in this display as they, correspondingly, oversee and are the fundraisers of the museum, including “soliciting individual donors” (Schlatter, 2008, 75) such as those on this wall; although, the Director too is also responsible for fundraising (Glaser and Zenetou, 1996). Membership Staff may also have played a role in procuring these benefactors originally as museum members or the Special Events Staff during a museum event. The Exhibit Designer and Exhibition and Lighting Staff also probably helped create this display- design, installation, and lighting-wise.
22: Museum Store
23: Located in the main hall, the museum store contains items for sale that promote (e.g. shirts, hats, mugs, etc) and relate to (e.g. books on Ohio archaeology, botany, space, etc) the museum. The Museum Shop Staff, such as the women behind the counter, are the most prominent museum professionals in this area: the Shop Manager operates the store from stocking and pricing to sales, and the general staff serve as salespeople (Glaser and Zenetou, 1996). The whole operation, moreover, is overseen by the CFO as it is a revenue-producing aspect of the museum (Glaser and Zenetou, 1996). CMNH Security Staff is also present in the shop, as observed through the various cases (as seen in the picture) and anti-theft devices around the store. The Exhibition and Lighting Staff are also visible in the lights highlighting various items and cases. The work of the Print/Publications Staff is also visible in the books (such as the one on the case) written by CMNH staff. The computer on the counter indicates the work of the Chief Information Officer and Information Systems Staff as they helped create, implement, and maintain the store’s computer programming.
24: References | 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/ [accessed 7/8/2012]. Bearman, D. (1990). “Functional Requirements for Membership, Development & Participation Systems.” Archives & Museum Informatics: Technical Report. 3.3. Cleveland Museum of Natural History. (2012). Permanent Exhibits. Retrieved from www.CMNH.org [accessed 7/6/2012]. Cleveland Museum of Natural History. (2012). Virtual Tour. Retrieved from http://www.cmnh.org/site/AtTheMuseum/ YourGalleryGuide/VirtualTour.aspx [accessed 7/6/2012].
25: Glaser, J. and Zenetou, A. (1996). Museums: A Place to Work: Planning Museum Careers. New York, New York: Routledge. Kirtlandia Society. (2012). About. Retrieved from http://www.kirtlandiasociety.org/AboutKirtlandia.htm [accessed 7/9/2012]. Sayre, S. (Host) & Roberts, K. (Interviewee). (13 January 2009) Johns Hopkins University: Exploring Museum Professions: Interviews with Today’s Museum Professionals.Retrieved from http://www.sandboxstudios.org/clientfilemanager /JHU/601/interviews/KateRoberts.mp3 Schlatter, E. (2008). Museum Careers: A Practical Guide for Students and Novices. Walnut Creek, CA; Left Coast Press.