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The Getty Center

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The Getty Center - Page Text Content

S: The Getty Center

FC: The Getty Center

1: The Getty Center is located on a hilltop in the Sepulveda Pass in Los Angeles. A tram takes visitors from the parking garage up to the museum. Above is a still from a short movie I recorded from the tram of my arrival at the museum. Visitors are greeted by museum volunteers dressed in khaki slacks or dresses as the tram arrives at the station. You can view my video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/kY4CZGD0Q0s | Here's a better picture of the museum volunteers, who direct visitors to the main museum building at the left.

2: This panoramic photograph of the Getty's main lobby displays the work of several museum departments in one shot (for some reason, Mixbook doesn't seem to display this high-resolution photograph at full resolution). From left to right, you can see: - The Visitor Services desk. - The entrance to the Museum Store. - Tables set up for Special Events check-ins. - A Security Guard. - The desk where visitors can rent a GettyGuide, the museum's official multimedia tour device. The GettyGuide is the work of the Education department and its large Media & Technology staff. - The entrance to the introduction theater, where visitors may view a short film introducing them to the history of the museum. Much of the material in the film comes from the museum Archives. I have more detailed photographs of some of these elements later in this photo essay. One noticeable missing element at the Getty Center is any public sign of Development or Membership; the Getty does not offer memberships, nor are visitors ever asked for donations. The museum is operated by the J. Paul Getty Museum Trust, which has an endowment of over $4 billion.

3: Visitor Services staff— identified by their white shirts and/or blue vests— provide museum and tour information to visitors. Many of the Getty's Docent-led tours begin at this information desk. Note the variety of museum maps, guides, and brochures in various languages ringing the desk.The Getty has a major Print/Publications department housed in the Getty Research Institute. The corridor in the background leads to restroom and coat check Facilities. | A Visitor Services staff member distributes the GettyGuide to guests. The GettyGuide is a multimedia guide that incorporates audio, video, and web-based elements throughout the museum. The Getty's Education department has a large Media & Technology staff, and the GettyGuide is one of their services.

4: The Getty's temporary, 2 1/2-month exhibition of Jackson Pollock's Mural is focused almost entirely on the role of the Conservator, who "protects, repairs, restores, cleans, and preserves objects" (Schlatter, 2008, p.55). Conservators at the Getty Conservation Institute have spent nearly two years cleaning and studying the piece, and the Getty will return it to its owner, the University of Iowa Museum of Art, in June. Many other museum professionals played a crucial roles in this exhibit. Since the painting is on loan, a Registrar would have overseen the arrival of the painting in 2012. Preparators and Exhibition staff determined how the painting is displayed and the design of the exhibit; in fact, its display was criticized by Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight, who wrote, "The painting is incorrectly installed in the gallery. It's hung too high on the wall — almost at knee level, when it should be only ankle-high" (Knight, 2014). The exhibition includes extensive wall text and multimedia displays explaining the history of Mural and the conservation efforts, examples of the work of the Getty's Curators and Educators (especially the Media & Technology staff of the Education department).

5: Above is the Getty's European Impressionism gallery displaying pieces from the museum's permanent collection. The museum's Preparators and Exhibition staff would be responsible for the display of these paintings, and Curators would be responsible for the text accompanying each piece. Below are visitors using the multimedia GettyGuide created by the museum's Education department, working with Information Systems staff.

6: These photographs depict two different types of Docents/Guides at work, as Glaser and Artemis (1996) describe it, "mediating the collections" (p. 88) and leading "visitors in encountering, experiencing, and enjoying objects and artifacts" (p. 89). Here is a Collections Docent discussing Vincent Van Gogh's Irises, which in 1987 became the most expensive painting ever sold at the time ($53.9 million). | The Getty also has Architecture Docents, pictured here, who give guided tours specifically about the architecture of the museum. Also note the stage in the background; this is where the museum holds concerts planned by the Special Events staff.

7: This photograph shows a Security Guard rushing out in front of James Ensor's Christ's Entry Into Brussels in 1889 to stop me from taking a picture, even though the painting is part of the Getty's permanent collection and there are no signs prohibiting photography. He explained that photography was allowed for all the other paintings in this gallery, but not this painting. He did not know why.

8: On the discussion thread in Week 5 about effective multimedia experiences, I wrote about the Getty's delightful Life of Art exhibit, which won honorable mention at the 2012 MUSE Awards. When I went to the exhibit to take pictures, I was pleased to find that all of interactive touchscreen multimedia stations were occupied by children. Here is a young girl using "augmented reality" to explore one of the objects in the exhibit. In the background, you can see a young boy at another station as well as a Security Guard. As I wrote in the discussion thread, the Life of Art exhibit involved the work of Curators, Preparators, and Exhibit Designers to choose and display the four pieces from the museum's collection. The multimedia experience was designed by the Education department and its Media & Technology staff.

9: The Getty's Education department also operates the museum's "Family Room" for young children. Here you can see a line of families waiting to enter the Family Room. Below is the entrance to the Family Room. Note that the Educator on duty is the Architecture Docent from earlier!

10: The Getty Research Institute, located next to the museum at the Getty Center, is home to the Getty's Print/Publications department as well as the museum's Research Library, which is non-circulating but is open to the public on weekdays. The photograph above shows the library's reference desk, where visitors can consult with Librarians. Hidden away on the level below is the majority of the library collection containing more than a million books and two million photographs. The Getty Institutional Archives are also a special collection of the Research Library. | "The responsibilities of a contemporary librarian and archivist encompass a range of tasks focused on providing access to information and the preservation of the sources of that information" (Schlatter, 2008, p.65).

11: These are photographs from a current exhibition inside the Getty Research Institute. The Connecting Seas exhibition displays books, prints, and objects pertaining to early nautical exploration. The exhibition brochure, which can be seen at the bottom of the photograph to the right, lists five Curators and an Exhibition Coordinator responsible for the exhibition (Connecting Seas, 2013), but it must have also involved Educators, Exhibit Designers, and Collections staff, since all of the objects come from the Getty's permanent collection.

12: No visit to the Getty is complete without a visit to the Museum Store. The museum actually has several smaller shops positioned throughout the museum campus, like the one outside the Jackson Pollock's Mural exhibition in the photograph on the right. There is another shop in the Getty's photography space, where, ironically, photography is prohibited. The museum even has a separate shop devoted to children. Below is the official catalogue for the Jackson Pollock's Mural exhibition, published by the Getty's Print/Publications department; also, the official Mural coffee mug!

13: References: Connecting Seas: A Visual History of Discoveries and Encounters [Brochure]. (2013) Los Angeles, CA: The Getty Research Institute. Glaser, J.R. & Zenetou, A. (1996). Museums: A Place to Work. New York, NY: Routledge. Knight, C. (2014, March 10). Rebirth of Jackson Pollock's 'Mural'. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-knight-pollock-review-20140310,0,6629299,full.story#axzz2wotqU96I Schlatter, N.E. (2008). Museum Careers: A Practical Guide for Students and Novices. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

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  • By: Edward W.
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  • Title: The Getty Center
  • A photo essay of a visit to the Getty Center and the J. Paul Getty Museum.
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  • Published: over 5 years ago