Monthly Archives: April 2013

Ready for a collection close-up?

ImageThis is a close-up of an animal sculpture. Can you guess the animal?

Made out of fabricated and chromed steel, I’ll be highlighting this piece from our art collection at an upcoming family program. What do you think it is?

Tagged , , ,

YSPN Volunteer Opportunities Fair

This week I represented the ISM at a volunteer fair hosted by the Young Springfield Professionals Network (YSPN). The YSPN’s mission is to “foster a community for young professionals to have the opportunity to engage in networking, community service, and professional development.” The YSPN Volunteer Opportunities Fair did just that. Nearly thirty non-profit organizations from the Springfield, Illinois area were represented. To help show how attendees could give back to the community by volunteering with the ISM, I set up a display on the provided table. The table cloth, range of brochures and booklets, as well as some hands-on opportunities helped the display stand out. This display may remind you of the one we used at another fair.

Learn about volunteer opportunities with the Illinois State Museum!

Learn about volunteer opportunities with the Illinois State Museum!

It was wonderful to meet so many interested community members and representatives of so many organizations in the area. Among the vendors I spoke to, it was great to see representatives from genHkids, a frequent partner with the ISM. Our involvement with genHkids is one way we continue to support the Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens program. I also met the volunteer coordinator from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and it was great to discuss how many of our current volunteers work with both museums! It was incredibly rewarding (and fun!) to speak with both attendees and vendors and see such a strong commitment to community service.

One highlight of the evening event was when a nine-year old daughter of a vendor visited my table and recognized hands-on items from The Play Museum. We had a great conversation about the gallery, and the girl shared her favorite parts of the gallery space – the dig pit and video microscope. Her presence at my table drew several other attendees over to the display, and really helped highlight how one of the goals of the The Play Museum is to learn about Illinois’ natural, cultural, and artistic heritage through play. As one of the only children at this event, it was warming to see her make a beeline for the ISM’s table!

By participating in this fair, I continued to uphold best volunteer recruitment standards as developed by the American Association of Museum Volunteers. During this recruitment process, I highlighted volunteer positions with our exciting hands-on children’s gallery, The Play Museum. I presented clear descriptions of the duties of Play Museum volunteers and had sufficient applications at hand. I also made sure the materials present at this event were welcoming and engaging to individuals of diverse age, socioeconomic status, and educational background.

Do you or your institution(s) utilize volunteer fairs to share community service opportunities? Have you attended a volunteer fair recently or in the past to learn more about your community?

Tagged , , , , ,

Happy Earth Day!

To help celebrate Earth Day, the ISM celebrated with a Recycled Play Day! Visitors of all ages helped construct a giant playhouse out of repurposed cardboard boxes and other recyclable materials. It was a lot of fun! To fasten boxes, we utilized a product called Makedo – this was a very easy, kid-friendly product that allowed all visitors a chance to “saw,” fasten, and construct a variety of materials together. The Makedo kit also included a fold out poster that inspired all sorts of creations…

The finished house featured several detailed features including window boxes for flowers, turrets, and a swimming pool.  




Are you (or your institution) doing anything to celebrate Earth Day?

Tagged , , , , ,

Artist Spotlight: Ansel Adams

We all know him for his landscapes and nature scenes – but did you know Adams was also a street photographer? I recently stumbled across this 2010 NPR article which details that the photographer’s range of work.

I came across the NPR article while researching  Adams. An advertisement for the Peoria Riverfront Museum appeared in the program for the upcoming Association of Midwest Museums 2013 conference “Locally Grown, Community Created.” The advertisement outlined the new exhibit “Ansel Adams: Western Exposure” which opened April 13 and runs through September 22, 2013.

Anyone want to check it out? 


Ansel Adams, c.1950


“Evening, McDonald Lake, Glacier National Park,” Montana., 1933 – 1942
Ansel Adams

Tagged , , ,

Partnering with a Campus Museum

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the exhibit “Experiences of the Illinois Civil War Soldier: Reflections through Art and Artifact” hosted at the Tarble Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University.

Current students in the Historical Administration program partnered with the Tarble Arts Center (an AAM accredited institution) to share the stories of Civil War soldiers from Illinois, with a focus on art and artifacts. It was a fascinating, focused look on a popular topic as we continue to mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War – the students did a great job!


Explore an exciting new exhibit at the Tarble Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University.
Photo credit: HA Class 2012-2013.

To see the exhibit up close, explore the exhibit’s TumblrFacebook, and Twitter. Students created these social media pages through class assignments in Museum Digital Apps I & II. The sites outline the exhibit from a “big idea” to hammer and nail construction, and each site grants a unique behind the scenes look at the arch of the project. 

My graduate class also collaborated with the Tarble Arts Center, working with their permanent art collection and archives. One of our projects was to research and craft a disaster plan for the collection. It was a wonderful opportunity to apply material learned in the classroom (best practices, theory, etc) directly with a partnering institution on campus.

Campus museums play a great role in the development of not only budding museum professionals, but also students and staff affiliated with the arts, humanities, sciences, and all sorts things in the realm of informal learning.  The role of campus museums was recently discussed in the American Alliance of Museums LinkedIn group.

Did your college or university have a museum or two? What type? How did you connect with it as a student or visitor?


Tagged , , , , ,

Ready for a dip?

“Summer is a great time to visit art museums, which offer the refreshing rinse of swimming pools – only instead of cool water, you immerse yourself in art.” – Jerry Saltz. 

Are you looking forward to visiting any museums this summer near or far? Which ones? 

An art critic with New York magazine, Jerry Saltz has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism three times. Born in Oak Park, Illinois, Saltz has been an art critic and visiting art critic at a range of institutions across the country including The School of Visual Arts, Yale University, Columbia University, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Artist Spotlight: Erastus Sailsbury Field

While interning with the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum in South Hadley, MA, I became fascinated with a painting on dispaly at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. Located in a permanent gallery, the piece was of a little girl holding a book. The background features a landscape scene with a lake, with a draped column on the left. The girl seems to greet you, her gaze warm. The straight lines of her dress and the detail on the fringe suggest a steady painter’s hand while the attention and care with the facial expression and eyes indicates an observant and careful creator. From the Skinner collection, this oil on canvas dates from about 1835 and is by Massachusettes artist Erastus Sailsbury Field.

What do you think of this piece?

Born in 1805 in Leverett, MA, Erastus Sailsbury Field spent much of his life in Massachusetts. The National Gallery of Art details that with an early interest in art, Field moved to New York in the 1820s to study with Samuel B.F. Morse. With a natural talent, Field spent much of his time painting portraits and landscapes, and was known for his quick and precise work.

The artist married and had one child, a daughter. Field integrated changing technology as he worked, utilizing evolving camera technology such as the daguerreotype to capture a sitter’s image. He would use this image as he finalized painting a portrait. Adoptive, resourceful, and industrious, Field created a small studio in Sunderland, MA.

By the time of his death in 1900, Field had produced over three hundred paintings. In addition to portraits and landscapes, Field’s work also includes many historical and biblical scenes. I was grateful to encounter this artist’s work while living in Massachusetts!

Tagged , , , ,

Snapshots of a Symposium

Below is just a glance at the 36th Annual Historical Administration Program Association Symposium which was held this weekend at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL. It was a wonderful chance to stay current in the field, learn new resources and study trends, connect with classmates and meet alumni! More on this conference later, but here’s a look to wet your appetite. . . 


There were multiple conferences being held this weekend, so signs across campus helped direct out of town visitors. 


Half of the 36th Annual Historical Administration Program Association Symposium was held at the MLK Jr. Union at Eastern Illinois University. Flowers AND trees were in bloom – no snow!


Symposium Swag! One of the included goodies at the symposium was a mini tape measure sporting this year’s logo, “Keep Calm and get the Disaster Plan.”


The Symposium featured a variety of speakers and mini workshops, including a session held at the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site. The day was very insightful and a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with HA alumni and meet new and returning students.


Tagged , , , , ,

Illinois Museum Day

Happy Illinois Museum Day!

The Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) and Museums In the Park joined forces today at the Illinois State Museum for Illinois Museum Day. Museums and other cultural institutions organized today at the Museum and met with state and local lawmakers to advocate museums and the arts!

This was my first year attending Museum Day, and it was a great opportunity to network with individuals passionate about the museum field. The morning consisted of a breakfast social with legislators. This was a wonderful chance to meet and greet several visitors to the ISM from near and far across the state. This breakfast session was followed by an overview of advocacy goals, the state of museums in Illinois, and the role museums play culturally and economically on the local, state, and national level. After the morning session, attendees were invited to visit the Capitol Building and meet with their legislators.

Do you have a favorite Illinois museum? Which one?


Illinois Museum Day
April 11, 2013
Illinois State Museum


Tagged , , ,

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM)

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library

Researching manuscripts for the Springfield Art Association. Mmm the smell of archives!

Have you been to a presidential library and/or museum? Which one(s)?

Tagged , , ,