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Museum Visit Photo Essay

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S: Museum Visit Photo Essay - National Museum of Natural History

FC: Museum Visit Photo Essay National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Keri Schaffer

1: Before entering any exhibits at NMNH, the main rotunda displays a variety of museum professions. | Security staff perform bag checks at the front door (right) while information systems personnel ensure the electronic directory displays correct and up-to-date information (below left). | The information desk is the work of the visitors services manager who makes sure that all guests have a positive and educational experience (Schlatter 2008). | The work of the Development director, who oversees all fundraising activities (Schlatter 2008), may not be obvious, but even small amounts in this donation box can add up.

2: The work of editors, who prepare and supervise the production of printed material for an organization (Glaser 1996), can be seen throughout NMNH . This picture is a display of the Smithsonian magazine, edited by Terence Monmaney. | The museum store is another great source of revenue for any institution. This shop would employ a retail manager and several staff to keep it running.

3: The librarian/archivist for the NMNH works to provide access to information stored in the Smithsonian Library and preserve the sources of that information (Schlatter 2008). | The exhibit X-Ray Vision: Fish Inside Out contains radiograph images of several fishes from the Smithsonian collection. The NMNH's fish collection contains some 4 million individual specimens and represents more than 70% of the world's known fish species (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service 2012). The museum often loans specimens to other institutions requiring the registrar to take charge of shipping, packing, proper storage, accessioning, deaccessioning, and any required legal documents (Schlatter 2003). Working with the registrar, this collection most likely has it's own collections manager, which are most often found in natural history and history museums (Schlatter 1996). It might even be large enough to have its own curator, who usually handle objects of cultural, biological, or historical significance (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2008). | This is one of two giant squid on display in the Sant Ocean Hall. While it does not seem like much restoration would be possible with this specimen, the conservator must work to retard or prevent deterioration or damage by controlling the environment in which the animal is preserved (Ballestrem et al. 1978-1984)

4: Education and volunteer programs are a big part of what museums do. As cited in the 2003 Art Museum Education Programs Survey, more than 90% of museums surveyed said they gave tours or had docent programs (Wetterlund and Sayre 2003). Here we see the hours posted for the Sant Ocean Hall tour and a friendly red-vested docent telling me about their new fish x-ray exhibit. | This QR code in the Ocean Hall invites guests to visit the Smithsonian's Ocean Portal website to learn more about the giant squid. This website is maintained by the media manager in charge of all educational media programs (Glaser 1996).

5: This shot of the X-Ray Vision exhibit is an excellent overview of the staff required to create a new exhibition. Exhibition managers, designers, planners/developers, and preparators all work on a variety of tasks including exhibit design, fabrication, installation, educational objectives and materials, interpretive strategies, photography, and lighting (Glaser 1996, Schlatter 2008).

6: The facilities/building operations manager is in charge of many aspects of an organization's physical workplace . Specifically, they may be responsible for things such as new construction and renovation work, like the blocked entrance pictured above left, or even managing food services (Glaser 1996).

7: 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/. 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. Glaser, J. R., & Zenetou, A. A. (1996) Museums: A place to work, planning museum careers. New York, NY: Routledge. 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: Leftcoast Press. Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. (2012). X-Ray Vision: Fish Inside Out. Retrieved from http://www.sites.si.edu/exhibitions/exhibits/ichthyo/index.htm#specifications. Wetterlund, K., & Sayre, S. (2003). 2003 Art Museum Education Programs Survey. Retrieved from www.museum-ed.org/images/stories/research/2003SurveyReportfinal.pdf.

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  • By: Keri S.
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  • Title: Museum Visit Photo Essay
  • Photo essay of my visit to the National Museum of Natural History - Washington, DC
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  • Published: over 4 years ago

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