BC: Thank you for visiting the Asian Art Museum!
FC: Asian Art Museum San Francisco, California Museum Visit Photo Essay John C. Morris Exploring Museum Professions, Professor Bahar Johns Hopkins University, Spring 2014
1: Facade - Marketing and Graphic Design Approaching the museum, I was visually struck by the street pole banners and large vinyl banners announcing the special exhibition Yoga: The Art of Transformation. The departments responsible for these visual materials are marketing, publications and graphic design.
2: Entrance and Admission - Visitor Services, Facilities, Security and Graphic Design Above: The main entrance and admissions area. A visitor services attendant stands by the entrance while other visitor services staff assist members and visitors with ticket sales. Left: A volunteer welcomes me to the museum and asks if I am interested in viewing the children's artwork on view, part of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Arts Festival.
3: Above (right): Security conducts bag inspection and directs visitors inside to the admissions desk. Above (left): A large, colorful panel highlights exhibition activities as well as admission costs. Graphic design and visitor services are the departments responsible for this kind of entrance information. Left: The main entrance to the museum for the general public. The entrance to its left is a priority entrance for members, groups and visitors with will-call tickets.
4: South Court: Visitor Services Above and left: The information desk is paired with the audio tours desk for the museum's special exhibition. Visitor services is responsible for maintaining and staffing the information desk as well as the audio tours desk. The audio tour was most likely created by the curators, educators and interpretation staff working on the special exhibition. As N. Elizabeth Schlatter explains "To handle large numbers of people, visitor services managers supervise a cadre of staff and volunteers who are responsible for admissions ticketing, parking, audio tours or other interactive guides, visitor information desks, and any other service or product that affects a visitor's experience" (Schlatter 2008, pg. 94).
5: South and North Court: Facilities, Security and Operations Left: A custodian accesses a supply closet to refill his cart. This staff member works in the facilities and operations department. Lower left: A security guard walks across the North Court, most likely replacing a fellow guard so he or she can take a break. Lower right: Coat check is situated just off of the South Court, to the right of the museum entrance. This is part of visitor services department.
6: South Court: Education, Graphic Design & Social Media Above (left to right): A family enjoys an art button-making activity as part of a Family Fun Day (during selected Sundays at the museum). The education department is responsible for creating and staffing these events with education staff, volunteers and interns. Graphic design is responsible for the Family Fun Days poster pictured above right. The image was contributed by a staff or contracted event photographer, who documented the particular family event. A staff member responsible for rights & reproduction probably ensured that a release form was signed and on file for the children pictured.
7: Above (right): An education intern supervises a yoga kinetic painting activity. Left: An example of the images created during the yoga kinetic painting activity. These were published to the museum's Flickr page for the visitor to view and download when they returned home. These images also become part of the museum's Flickr account permanently, one of the museum's social media channels. These are managed by a social media handler, or digital engagement associate.
8: South Court: Education (docent tours and other public tours) Halfway through my visit, I noticed a group gathering in the South Court around a docent. After inquiring, the docent explained that she would be leading the group through the upper level galleries on the "Great Works" tour. Throughout the hour-long tour, she would be focusing on highlights in the permanent collection from China, Japan and Korea. The education department is responsible for organizing these kinds of tours, as well as training docents. They often work hand-in-hand with curators to create tours imbued with rich content referencing specific artworks and larger themes in the galleries.
9: Samsung Hall: Special Events and Development On the Sunday I attended the museum, there was a special symphony performance in conjunction with the SFUSD Arts Festival. Samsung Hall serves as a multi-purpose space for daytime and evening events at the museum. Walking through the space, I was reminded of Judy Thompson's interview with Scott Sayre, in which she discussed her role as Special Events Manager and special events that take place at the Minnesota Zoo (Sayre, 2008). This is an ideal space for special events, as it is large, spacious, grand and historical, in feel. This space could also be utilized by the development department for donor events including openings, artist and curator talks, fundraisers and galas.
10: Third Floor Chinese Art Galleries: Curatorial, Registration, Conservation, Installations, Exhibition Design, Education, Graphic Design, Publications and other staff contributors Above (this page) and above (right page): The artwork and vitrines in the third floor Chinese Art galleries illustrate the work of various departments collaborating together. Curators select and research the artworks presented, registrars track its storage, unpacking and packing, movement and installation, conservators examine and treat the artwork - if necessary - prior to display, the installations crew physically move and install the artwork and exhibition designers work with curators to design the layout of the galleries. Unique to the Asian Art Museum are the "staff picks" posted around the various galleries, whereby a staff member from a specific department chooses a favorite artwork and explains his or her selection on a brief label. This label is printed by graphic design and installed, most likely, by the installations crew. Right page (above right and below): Educators, curators, publications and graphic designers collaborate on these didactic wall-mounted panels. Utilizing visuals and text, these are informative and educational materials intended to supplement and enrich the visitor's experience and understanding of permanent collection artworks and galleries.
12: In summary, during my visit to the Asian Art Museum, I noted the contributions of the following departments represented: | Above: I gathered these exhibition-related materials, museum guides, maps and public programs guides during my visit. These are all created through the joint efforts of the publications, graphic design, education and public programs, visitor services and operations departments.
13: References Sayre, S. (2008, December 10). Interview with Judy Thompson [mp3 file]. Retrieved from http://www.sandboxstudios.org/clientfilemanager/JHU/601/interviews/JudyThompson.mp3 Schlatter, N. E. (2008). Museum Careers: A practical guide for students and novices. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. http://www.asianart.org http://www.asianart.org/events/search?tags=family+events