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Pittock Mansion

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Pittock Mansion - Page Text Content

BC: The End Created by Krista Gower for Exploring Museum Professions with Dr. Hearn Spring 2013

FC: Pittock Mansion Portland, Oregon

1: The opulent, hundred year old Pittock Mansion Museum sits atop a hill one thousand feet above the city of Portland (Portland Parks & Recreation, 2013). It serves as a sort of time machine for people interested in architecture, and the daily life and society of the region at the turn of the twentieth century. The museum offers a guided tour that explores the historical significance behind various aspects of the architecture. Content for this tour was probably drafted by an educator and/or a curator. The person leading the actual tour is a docent, possibly a volunteer.

2: The collections feature especially delicate items, such as antique oil paintings and clothing. A conservator's job is to make sure that the items are suitable to viewing and to make suggestions as to the manner in which objects should be displayed so as to keep their optimal integrity. The tour guide informed me that much of the original contents of the house were sold at an estate sale. This means that a curator had to locate appropriate replacements, keeping in mind cost, condition, and placement.

3: The exhibit designer and exhibition preparator are not unlike sets designers for a film. In these images, someone has arranged these 'stages' to look as though the house is lived in. The fake food adds a presence to the rooms and it also helps us connect to the past residents by inviting us to make comparisons about a daily routine that all humans share - eating!

4: Funds for the museums operational costs, including money for the grounds-keeper and the Guest Services Associate are partly generated by sales from the museum gift shop and admission tickets (see photos on next page). The man in the picture above was operating as a guest services associate. He processed my payment and provided me with general information about the museum. I could not tell whether he was a volunteer or not, he represented the museum well and that's all that matters. The professionalism of the staff at the Pittock Mansion was evidence of what I have found to be true in my volunteer experience; "[volunteers] are people who are competent and can work...there are professional volunteers" (Glaser, 1996, p. 144).

6: Reader boards such as this are found throughout the mansion. These types of displays are typically the result of collaboration between a graphic designer, an education specialist or educator, and a curator. They are often installed by exhibition and lighting staff. Since the Pittock Mansion is a relatively small museum, it's possible that they contract out design work to "graphic designers and exhibition script writers" (Schlatter, 2008, p. 63).

7: References Glaser, J.R., & Zenetou, A.A. (1996). Museums: A Place to Work, Planning Museum Careers. New York, NY: Routledge Portland Parks & Recreation (2013). Official Pittock Mansion website homepage. Retrieved from: Schlatter, N.E. (2008). Museum Careers: A Practical Guide for Students and Novices. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

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  • By: Krista G.
  • Joined: about 5 years ago
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  • Title: Pittock Mansion
  • Museum Visit Photo Essay
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  • Published: about 5 years ago