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Museum 2.0: Warning: Museum Graduate Programs Spawn Legions of Zombies! January 22, 2014

Posted by sandyclaus in Exploratorium, Museum History.
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Summer\’s coming to D.C., and with it flocks of museum studies / education / exhibit planning graduate interns. I’m always curious when I meet these folks, who are about my age, choosing a different entry path into the museum world. The value proposition of museum grad programs is cloudy in my mind. Is it a credential that serves as a gateway to better jobs? Is it an education that would make me a better person? Sure, it’s great to learn museum theory and history. But I have some big concerns about museums studies programs, namely:Standardizing the field limits the potential for radical change. I confess I often feel this way about school in general. One of the reasons I fell in love with museums is because they support learning that is distinctly un-school-like. So I see these programs as a threat, an encroachment of schoolishness on the willfully unschooled. Following a standardized curriculum to prepare for work in the museum field homogenizes the perspectives and skills people bring to museum jobs. I think one of the things that keep museums fresh, welcoming, and non-didactic is the fact that most exhibit designers, museum educators, and conservators come from a variety of backgrounds. You were a carpenter. I was an engineer. She was a ceramicist. He wrote poetry. Sure, we may have some communication trouble getting on the same page. But that’s worth it for the wealth of different experiences we bring to the table.

via Museum 2.0: Warning: Museum Graduate Programs Spawn Legions of Zombies!.

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Interview with Frank Oppenheimer – CaltechOralHistories October 19, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Exploratorium.
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The younger brother of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Frank Friedman Oppenheimer was born in 1912 in New York City. After graduating as a bachelor of science in physics from Johns Hopkins in 1933, Oppenheimer traveled to Europe where he studied at Cambridges Cavendish Laboratory and Florences Istitudo di Arceti from 1933-35. He then entered the California Institute of Technology from where he received his doctoral degree in physics in 1939. Before joining his brother in Los Alamos in 1943, Oppenheimer held positions at Stanford, Berkeleys Radiation Laboratory and the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Following the War, Oppenheimer returned to Berkeley but then moved to the University of Minnesota where he embarked on studies of cosmic radiation. His research ended abruptly in 1949 after he was required to give testimony to the House Committee on Un-American Activities regarding his communist activities as a graduate student at Caltech. Not until 1961 did he return to university life at the University of Colorado. There he developed a variety of innovative teaching techniques, many of which were later incorporated in his design of the Exploratorium in San Francisco where Oppenheimer served as director. He died in Sausalito, California, in 1985. Conducted at the Exploratorium, this interview focuses on Oppenheimers years at the California Institute of Technology. Oppenheimer describes his work on beta- and gamma-ray spectroscopy and reminisces about C. C. Lauritsen, his supervisor. He recollects the relationships he formed while working at Caltechs Kellogg Laboratory, including his memories of Willy Fowler, Richard and Ruth Tolman, Hsue-Shen Tsien, Robert Millikan, Henry Borsook, Thomas Hunt Morgan, Fritz Zwicky and Frank Malina. He also discusses his time at Cambridges Cavendish Laboratory and his recollections of Peter L. Kapitsa, John D. Cockcroft, Ernest T. S. Walton, George Gamow and Ernest Rutherford. In addition to a discussion of Oppenheimers communist activities in pre-war Pasadena, he recounts his memories of fascism while he was studying in Florence in 1935.

via Interview with Frank Oppenheimer – CaltechOralHistories.

Oral History Transcript — Dr. Frank Oppenheimer March 29, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Exploratorium, Museum History, Science Museum Environment.
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Oral History Transcript — Dr. Frank OppenheimerThis transcript may not be quoted, reproduced or redistributed in whole or in part by any means except with the written permission of the American Institute of Physics.This transcript is based on a tape-recorded interview deposited at the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics. The AIPs interviews have generally been transcribed from tape, edited by the interviewer for clarity, and then further edited by the interviewee. If this interview is important to you, you should consult earlier versions of the transcript or listen to the original tape. For many interviews, the AIP retains substantial files with further information about the interviewee and the interview itself. Please contact us for information about accessing these materials.Please bear in mind that: 1 This material is a transcript of the spoken word rather than a literary product; 2 An interview must be read with the awareness that different peoples memories about an event will often differ, and that memories can change with time for many reasons including subsequent experiences, interactions with others, and ones feelings about an event. Disclaimer: This transcript was scanned from a typescript, introducing occasional spelling errors. The original typescript is available.

via Oral History Transcript — Dr. Frank Oppenheimer.

Remembering the California Museum of Science & Industry March 28, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Art and Science, Exploratorium, Museum History, Science Museum Environment.
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As for images of the old CMSI, I am currently on a quest to acquire postcards, brochures, guidebooks, and any other memorabilia (especially from the 1970s; even photocopies will suffice).

Through exhaustive research, I have been able to amass a collection of precious images and articles and proudly display them on this site. I hope to add more as my search contiues, so please return soon for another look.

via Remembering the California Museum of Science & Industry.

CMSI Pennant

Part 1: Report from “Art as a Way of Knowing” Conference at Exploratorium March 28, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Exploratorium, Science Museum Environment.
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Roger Malina outlined four generations of art/science collaborations, loosely as follows:

1st generation: tied to the arts in industry movement of the 1880s, marked by an emphasis on photography and film, and art and design, citing the Bauhaus as an example.

2nd generation: the establishment of interdisciplinary centers in the 1960s and 70s, such as Center for Advanced Visual Studies, E.A.T., and Exploratorium. He called this a period of “techno optimism.”

3rd generation: marked by the birth of digital culture and “creative industries.” Organizations that are emblematic of this include IRCAM, Paris, Ars Electronica, V2, MediaLab Pradp. Attendant with a similar digital optimism.

Malina said the 4th wave that we’re witnessing now is defined by a collaborative impulse, networked consortiums, and the building of “a new kind of institution,” one that’s small and agile, and generally underfunded. Arts Catalyst, Science Gallery, Eyebeam, IMERA, Marseille, and others are exemplary of this new breed. This wave, he argued, is “art-world driven,” and tied to Mode 2 science – a new form of knowledge production that emerged from the mid 20th century which is context-driven, problem-focused and interdisciplinary. He also used the term “intimate science” to describe this type of practice.

via Part 1: Report from “Art as a Way of Knowing” Conference at Exploratorium.

Exploratorium Final Day San Francisco California (January 2, 2013) – YouTube March 28, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Exploratorium, Science Museum Environment.
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Published on Jan 5, 2013

The last day of operation for the Exploratorium at it’s Palace of Fine Arts location, which fell on a free admission day, after 43 years in its Marina district home. The new location at Pier 15 will open April 17, with more room and new exhibits.

via Exploratorium Final Day San Francisco California (January 2, 2013) – YouTube.

The Responsive Eye, Part 1 Mike Wallace 1965 – YouTube March 28, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Exploratorium, Science Museum Environment.
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The Responsive Eye, Part 1 Mike Wallace 1965 – YouTube.

Part 1: Report from “Art as a Way of Knowing” Conference at Exploratorium March 28, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Exploratorium, Science Museum Environment.
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The “Art as a Way of Knowing” opening keynote was given by Lawrence Weschler, author of several works of “creative non-fiction,” including Seeing is Forgetting the Name of What One Sees: Conversations with Robert Irwin, and Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder. Weschler began by talking about the 18th Century, before “art was split off from science.” He named the year 1637 as the beginning of this fissure, marked by the publication of René Descartes Discourse on the Method which birthed the famous quotation, “I think, therefore I am”. Weschler discussed Francis Bacon, and the “Age of Wonder,” and presented paintings of Wunderkammers as “interdisciplinary expressions of the wonders of creation.” He also elaborated on how the study of anatomy was originally an artistic pursuit, not a medical one. Weschler summarized the distinctions between creative and scientific inquiry as such: “The artist uses himself as the measure” while the scientist “uses an external logic process.” Throughout his talk, Weschler deftly wove-in slides of Old Master paintings and quotations of poetry, with more recent quotes from the likes of James Baldwin: “Let us lay bare the questions that have been precluded by answers.” It was a very romantic kick-off.

via Part 1: Report from “Art as a Way of Knowing” Conference at Exploratorium.