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Elizabeth Merritt

How Germany Changed Its Mind, and Gave Benin Bronzes Back to Nigeria - The New York Times - 2 views

  • by a changing social consensus about the ethics of holding on to such items, and further strengthened by a backlash against Germany’s flagship cultural project: the Humboldt Forum,
  • Germany’s approach also contrasts with those of the United States and British governments, which have left decisions up to individual institutions
  • some of the most important museums in England cannot return their Benin Bronzes, even if they wanted to, without a change in the law. That includes the British Museum, which owns about 900 of the artifacts, arguably the world’s finest collection.
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  • a key turning point there occurred in 2019, amid growing public pressure.
  • a rising awareness in Germany of its own colonial crimes — including the killing of tens of thousands of Nama and Herero people in what is now Namibia. The atrocity, carried out between 1904 and 1908, is widely seen as the first genocide of the 20th century.
  • Until then, the main vehicle for discussing the return of the Benin Bronzes had been the Benin Dialogue Group, a network founded in 2010 that brought together Nigerian representatives and figures from European museums with bronzes in their collections. The group, however, favored loans over transfers of ownership.
  • The agreement stipulated that all objects that had been obtained “unethically” would be liable for return and directed institutions to facilitate claims by producing publicly available inventories.
  • obstacles remained on the Nigerian side. Although the country had requested the return of the bronzes since the 1970s, there was conflict over who would take ownership of the artifacts. Both the Nigerian government and the oba of Benin, whose family ruled the historical Kingdom of Benin from which they were looted, claimed that they owned the items. Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State, where Benin City is, said he acted as a facilitator to resolve the dispute.
  • Ultimately, he said, the oba’s family, Nigeria’s museum commission and the government of Edo State agreed to join a trust together, with independent directors that oversee the construction and operation of the new museum.
  • the agreement allows for 168 pieces chosen by Nigeria’s museum commission to remain in Germany “so that Benin’s art can be shown to the world.” The approximately 350 other bronzes that were part of the Berlin museum collections will be transported to Nigeria once the pavilion is completed.
  • Edo Museum of West African Art
  • It remains unclear who will pay for the shipment and insurance of the remaining items in Germany, and he noted that the bronzes’ storage and upkeep will come at a considerable cost, including electrical bills for climate control.
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    The foreign minister's trip is the culmination of a yearslong process that upended Germany's approach to handling cultural items unjustly obtained during the colonial period. It is also part of a pioneering model for large-scale restitution, in which ownership is swapped before any artifacts change hands. Crucially, that approach allows for items to be restituted even if the country of origin does not yet have the facilities to store and exhibit them.
Ariane Karakalos

The Cost of "Free": Admission Fees at American Art Museums - 0 views

  • Museum theorists such as Elaine Heumann Gurian point out that admission fees may be the single biggest obstacle preventing museums from fulfilling their missions as educational institutions that are open and accessible to the widest range of visitors from all income levels and backgrounds. But is the financial position of most art museums so precarious that the 5 percent of operating budget provided by admissions fees is indispensable to the survival of the institution? Is there a middle ground between free admission and a standard entrance fee?
  • Potential visitors—especially families with children—are often concerned about the financial costs associated with a museum visit, such as transportation, parking and lunch. As the costs have risen, visitors expect greater value for their admission dollars.
  • Many of us have visited museums and seen the words “suggested donation” or “recommended amount” next to the admission fees. The actual amount collected per visitor is often significantly lower than the suggested amount
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  • he Art Institute of Chicago switched from free Tuesdays to free Thursday evenings, from 5-8 p.m.
  • At the time of this writing, there is not much more than anecdotal evidence available on the desired result of racially and ethnically diverse visitors during free evening hours, but the Art Institute of Chicago has every reason to believe its change in free hours achieved this. “We had Chicagoans in the museum who reported that it was their first-ever visit,” Lee said. “We had parents telling us that they were grateful that the free hours allowed them to easily bring their children after work. We had more visitors per free hour than we did when the free hours were on Tuesdays.
  • the competing priorities of ideology, practicality and economics. By designating periods of free admission to attract the infrequent visitor, museums can more easily justify charging an entrance fee on a regular basis
  • Cool Culture, an inventive nonprofit formed in 1999, has created a family pass to 71 cultural institutions in New York City. The pass is intended for low-income families, and the program’s primary clients are Head Start and other subsidized child-care centers. Two-thirds of participants have household incomes below the federal poverty line.
  • Although transportation is not provided, participants can visit at any time and return as many times as they wish.
  • Cool Culture’s success is in the numbers: Families who have the Cool Culture Pass are four times more likely to visit a museum than families without the pass, according to Linda Steele, executive director.    
  • one might logically conclude that museums with no admission fee will attract larger audiences and thus have a better chance at earning more revenue within the museum: more visitors, more sales in shops or restaurants. Upon closer scrutiny, this assumption may not be true.
  • museum visitors who did not pay an admission fee were likely to spend even less on additional goods or services than the average visitor who paid a fee to enter, even they were not museum members.
  • responses from museums of various sizes, settings and budgets. The most commonly mentioned benefits of free admission were service to the community and accessibility to a more diverse audience. Increased exposure, attendance and public relations opportunities also ranked high, as did improved opportunities for individual, corporate and foundation support. The primary drawbacks were lost revenue and the inability to build a membership base. Security concerns also figured prominently.
  • Do Not Touch” signs in art exhibitions. Of the 15 responding museums that offered limited free admission days or hours, more than half reported a significant difference in visitor demographics: seniors, large family groups, school groups, disabled persons and drug or alcohol recovery groups were most likely to attend at these times. Museums in Seattle, Scottsdale, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay area all reported an increase in student visitors on free admission days. Sue Cake, a longtime docent at the Oakland Museum of California, observed that free admission days enabled teachers to assign a museum visit as part of a class lesson, likely a factor for increased student visitation at many museums.
  • can discount or waive admission fees on a case-by-case basis. “The experience should have value like a movie, going out to eat, a concert or any other leisure-time activity,” said Deputy Director Amy Oppio. “It is . . . important for guests to believe in supporting the organization and its mission.” 
  • Not all respondents shared Oppio’s view. One of the survey questions asked about the ideal admission fee structure. Of the 24 museums that responded to this question, 30 percent said that free admission is the way to go. Midge Bowman, executive director of the Frye Art Museum, responded that art museums “should be free as public libraries are. Without this open admission, they remain elitist institutions.”
  • ents we write and the act of imposing an entry fee,” she wrote. “Museums, if they remain oriented toward their paying customers will not . . . feel motivated to become essential elements within the community and an important educational resource for all individuals wishing to learn.”
Ariane Karakalos

Four Ways to Keep the Museum Experience Relevant | Fast Company - 0 views

  • The event was successful from both historical and new metrics. Attendance surpassed projections and 1,700 new memberships were generated just from people waiting in line for the exhibition. More importantly for Ferriso, the city-wide experience changed how people perceive the museum.
  • Chinese residents from Chinatown got involved for the first time.
  • Kids showed up by the busloads. Local restaurants hosted after-parties for young patrons, and robust blog discussions were moderated by some of Portland's design community. By extending the conversation throughout the city, the museum was able to attract a new audience and re-energize its traditional base.
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  • Ferriso understood that the ability of the museum to involve more people in the conversation was based on the relevancy of the content.
  • The CDN content was particularly relevant to Portland and had the potential to attract a new audience--the young creative class.
  • Portland has had a long trade relationship with China due to its location in the Pacific Northwest, and city officials intend to forge even closer ties. Portland's entrepreneurs and business people are interested in understanding more about this global force that is transforming the sociopolitical dynamic of the world. In addition, the exhibition's focus on design, though not traditional for the museum, connected with Portland's thriving design community.
  • triggered local businesses that were not previously involved with the museum to get involved
  • Discussions are ongoing about bringing in more exhibitions that are relevant to local businesses.
  • They invited a small number of people from the creative community who they knew would help stimulate conversation, like a good host at a dinner party. These creators hosted their own events and were invited to blog on the exhibition's Web site.
  • The bigger challenge for the museum was releasing control of the conversation. Museums are historically cautious, and protective of the intellectual rigor of each exhibition.
  • Curation: Stay true to who you are."At the end of the day, you still need to present a point of view," said Jay. "Curation is still king." The museum was able to successfully move beyond the traditional museum experience and remain authentic because it understood its core promise--inspiring conversations through art and culture. The medium of social media did not become the museum's promise, but a means to connect with a new generation of potential patrons. It remained committed to curatorial rigor, the selection of collaborators was strategic, and the topic was timely and meaningful. By staying true to its purpose, the museum was able to be relevant to this new generation without alienating its traditional patrons. An 85-year-old board member said it best: "CDN allowed the museum to rethink how it connects with people."
  • New metrics are being discussed to measure the value of the conversations generated by the museum. Ideas include measuring repeat visits to the museum, quality of conversations, and influence (how do you measure the impact of inspiring the next Frank Gehry?).
Ruth Cuadra

In Praise of (Loud, Stinky) Bars -- Rooflines - 0 views

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    The vaunted "third space" isn't home, and isn't work-it's more like the living room of society at large.  It's a place where you are neither family nor co-worker, and yet where the values, interests, gossip, complaints and inspirations of these two other spheres intersect.  It's a place at least one step removed from the structures of work and home, more random, and yet familiar enough to breed a sense of identity and connection.  It's a place of both possibility and comfort, where the unexpected and the mundane transcend and mingle. And nine times out of ten, it's a bar.
Elizabeth Merritt

Quitting is just half the story: the truth behind the 'Great Resignation' | US unemploy... - 1 views

  • “quits”, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls them, hit a high in September, with over 4.3 million people leaving their jobs, and was followed by a modest reduction of that trend in October and November.
  • n Tuesday the labor department said there were 10.6m job openings at the end of November and 6.9 million unemployed people – 1.5 jobs per unemployed person. The number of quits hit a new high of 4.5m.
  • The top reasons cited by experts continue to be lack of adequate childcare and health concerns about Covid
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  • many quit in search of better work opportunities, self employment, or, simply, higher pay.
  • The recent trend towards higher pay exists in the context of decades of low-wage growth, as until recently, wages in the US had stagnated.
  • The current competitiveness of the labor market – at least the proportion that is driven by gap between the high demand for workers and the supply of those searching for work – might be temporary.
  • in September and October of this year, there were 1.4 million fewer mothers actively engaged with the labor force than those same months in 2019.
  • Mothers with college degrees and telework-compatible jobs were more likely to exit the labor force and more likely to be on leave than women without children. She also found that teachers are most likely to leave the labor force as compared to their counterparts in other industries.
Ariane Karakalos

A Lifetime of Curiosity: Science Centers and Older Adults - 1 views

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    Browse PublicationsA Lifetime of Curiosity: Science Centers and Older Adults A Lifetime of Curiosity A Lifetime of Curiosity: Science Centers and Older Adults Wendy Pollock, Editor ASTC, May 2009 With the first wave of baby boomers now looking to the next phase of life, the time is right for museums to expand their engagement with older adult audiences. This publication offers positive examples, inspirational stories, and resources for those who are ready to get involved
Ruth Cuadra

Purpose Emerging as Important Driver of Engagement. - Thursday, 24th May 2012 at 4Hotel... - 2 views

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    "Purpose" is emerging as a powerful new driver of attraction, retention, and productivity. on average, 57 percent of respondents (64 percent Germany, 58 percent US, 48 percent UK) said they would favor joining an organization that has a clearly defined Purpose. Moreover, an average of 65 percent of respondents claimed that Purpose would motivate them to go the 'extra mile' in their jobs and 64 percent claimed it would engender a greater sense of loyalty towards the organization they work for.
Elizabeth Merritt

A Texas superintendent ordered school librarians to remove LGBTQ books. Now the federal... - 0 views

  • The U.S. Education Department’s civil rights enforcement arm has launched an investigation into a North Texas school district whose superintendent was secretly recorded ordering librarians to remove LGBTQ-themed library books.
  • accused the district of violating a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender. The ACLU complaint was based largely on an investigation published in March by NBC News, ProPublica and the Tribune that revealed that Granbury’s superintendent, Jeremy Glenn, instructed librarians to remove books dealing with sexual orientation and people who are transgender.
  • An Education Department spokesperson confirmed the investigation and said it was related to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits schools from discriminating on the basis of sex, gender and sexual orientation.
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  • After a volunteer review committee voted to return all but a few of the titles, two disgruntled members of the committee filed a police report in May accusing district employees of providing “pornography” to children, triggering a monthslong criminal investigation by Hood County Constable Chad Jordan, which remained open as of August.
  • The ACLU of Texas made similar legal arguments in another civil rights complaint filed last month against the Keller Independent School District in North Texas in response to a policy banning any books that mention “gender fluidity.” The Education Department has yet to decide whether to open an investigation in Keller,
  • the nonprofit PEN America, which has tracked thousands of school book bans since last year,
  • If the Education Department finds Carroll students’ rights have been violated, experts said, the federal agency could require the district to implement the same types of diversity and inclusion training programs that conservative activists have fought to block in Southlake.
Gina Hall

Sea Notes: Enjoy a Virtual Aquarium Experience in the Bay Area - 2 views

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    How does this virtual Aquarium on wheels work? You connect to the truck's wifi connection on your touch-enabled smart phone. Then you can login as a male or female diver and swim around the tank full of sharks, turtles, penguins, sardines and jellyfish, all displayed on the side of the truck. When you encounter one of the creatures, you and the creature react and you win a "badge." At the end of the interaction, you can post an image of the badges you won on Facebook.
Elizabeth Merritt

Majority of U.S. Workers Changing Jobs Are Seeing Real Wage Gains | Pew Research Center - 0 views

  • From April 2021 to March 2022, a period in which quit rates reached post-pandemic highs, the majority of workers switching jobs (60%) saw an increase in their real earnings over the same month the previous year.
  • 2.5% of workers – about 4 million – switched jobs on average each month from January to March 2022. This share translates into an annual turnover of 30% of workers – nearly 50 million – if it is assumed that no workers change jobs more than once a year. It is higher than in 2021, when 2.3% of workers switched employers each month, on average. About a third (34%) of workers who left a job from January to March 2022 – either voluntarily or involuntarily – were with a new employer the following month.
  • rom April 2020 to March 2021, some 51% of job switchers saw an increase in real earnings over the same months the previous year. On the other hand, among workers who did not change employers, the share reporting an increase in real earnings decreased from 54% over the 2020-21 period to 47% over the 2021-22 period. Put another way, the median worker who changed employers saw real gains in earnings in both periods, while the median worker who stayed in place saw a loss during the April 2021 to March 2022 period.
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  • A new Pew Research Center survey finds that about one-in-five workers (22%) say they are very or somewhat likely to look for a new job in the next six months
  • those who describe their personal financial situation as only fair or poor are about twice as likely as those who say their finances are excellent or good to say they’d consider making a job change (29% vs. 15%).
  • About half of job switchers also change their industry or occupation in a typical month, but this share has not changed since 2019. Women who leave a job are more likely than men who leave a job to take a break from the labor force, and men with children at home are least likely to do the same.
Ruth Cuadra

What type of book should you read? - 0 views

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    A job for the future:  London's School of Life offers the help of "bibliotherapists" who can help you decide what kinds of books you should be reading.  Maybe a "museuotherapist" can help visitors decide what parts of the museum they should spent their time on.
Elizabeth Merritt

Why is the great resignation happening? - Quartz - 0 views

  • Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on people who left their jobs shows that people working in transportation and manufacturing quit at a lower rate than people working in professional and business services, and below the overall private industry average. Among industries with lower wages, hospitality did see a high level of resignation and job changes, though the industry typically has very high turnover (up to 70% to 80% yearly).
  • Nikolaidis’s research shows that some of the strongest determinants of lower mood after covid-19 were external social circumstances, including income or economic distress, as well as the person’s mental and socioeconomic conditions prior to the pandemic. People working in low-wage and hourly jobs have long expressed significant stress associated to their work, and their burnout epidemic arguably pre-dates covid-19.
  • The US administration seems aware of the looming crisis, and has proposed a mental health strategy with an overall budget of about $1 billion for 2023, to provide mental health services, recruit a mental health workforce, provide support to frontline health workers, and strengthen the role of community behavioral health clinics.
Ruth Cuadra

Zócalo Public Square :: Human Life Was Partly Inevitable - 0 views

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    combat people's fear of science by telling stories of discovery-human stories of people taking chances and making mistakes, persisting over time and getting lucky. A story of discovery transforms the conversation: making it accessible, human, and harder to argue with.
David Bloom

An anthropologist explains how hackers are changing the definition of freedom - 0 views

  • Coleman argues that two cultures have been colliding in the United States for years — the culture of hacking and the culture of intellectual property favored by the entertainment industry. Yet this clash has taken place in the shadow realm of code, intellectual rights, and things that glow in the night. The combatants and their weaponry sport strange monikers: Warez, Debian GNU, SOPA. They are fighting for nothing less than what Lawrence Lessig calls the "future of ideas," what it means to be a free individual, and the nature of that elusive beast, software, which is pushing the wave of the future.
Ruth Cuadra

The top 10 emerging technologies of 2016 - 1 views

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    The World Economic Forum's annual list of this year's breakthrough technologies, published today, includes "socially aware" open AI. As technology for AI assistants expands, imagine that you could walk up to a display in a museum and ask a custom AI assistant any question you like about what you are seeing. Siri and Cortana and Google Assistant and Amazon Echo try to answer questions on all topics, but what if museums and other organizations could build their own add-on packs for their sphere of knowledge? The Getty, for example, would prepare answers to every question they've ever heard about "Statue of a Victorious Youth" and museum visitors (or maybe anybody in the world) could use the add-on pack to find out what they want to know.
Leslie Matamoros

Center for the Future of Museums: Introducing TrendsWatch: Your Digest of the Future - 0 views

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    AAM, TrendsWatch, Center for the Future of Museums, Museums, Trends, 2012, Dispatches from the Future of Museums, Annual Report, Scanning, Crowdsourcing, Non Profit Status, Funding, Aging, Education
Ruth Cuadra

THE SHIFT AGE DAVID HOULE - 1 views

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    The Shift Age is about humanity's new era. As the Information Age gives way to the Shift Age, we are entering a time of transformation and change that offers both great risk and incredible opportunity. Why do things happen so fast? Why do we feel unsettled, even out of control? David Houle identifies and explains the dynamics and forces that already have reshaped and will continue to reshape our world for the next 20 years. He comments from the front lines of the Shift Age on issues and topics that affect our lives. We have entered the final, global stage of humanity's cultural, social, and economic evolutionary journey: the Shift Age.
Ruth Cuadra

"SmartStuff" E-book Introduces "Internet of Things" Revolution to Public - Business Rev... - 0 views

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    the second major phase of the Internet, in which the number of human users will be dwarfed by the number of cell phones, remote sensors and devices connected by the Internet. a projected 50 billion devices will be Internet-enabled by 2020
Karen Wade

Physical Disability | National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials - 0 views

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    Discussion of accessible instructional materials for people with physical disabilities--includes a good breakdown of types of mobility impairments. There also are links to pages concerning various forms of sensory disabilities.
Ileana Maestas

Making Sense with Paul Solman | PBS NewsHour | PBS - 0 views

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    Writer Michael J Sandel's book "What Money Shouldn't Buy" speaks to the growing "marketization" of our society. He asks strong moral questions about paying for access to fundamental parts of our society like equal representation. In this interview he does not address the marketization of arts or culture but I can see some of the warning signs he brings up. Is access to museums up for sale?
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