Archives for September 2006

Found objects


I hadn’t visited MuseumPods for some time, so I was delighted today to rediscover their extensive catalog of museum podcasts. Go check it out!

Podcast User Magazine offers tips to both those who produce and those who listen to podcasts. Issues are free PDF downloads. (via Past Thinking)

Also, The Museum Detective now has podcasts. You can either listen to them on the blog itself or subscribe to the series in iTunes. Good listening!


I recently revisited NPR’s very strong Hidden Treasures series. Have you listened to any of the episodes? They provide a good model for museum pocasts about material culture.

I just discovered the extremely well done Sacramento History Online, a project of California State Library’s California History Room, the California State Railroad Museum Library, the Sacramento Archives and Museum Collection Center, and the Sacramento Public Library’s Sacramento Room. The site has a ton of fabulous images, and I hope in the future the site expands to cover more than agriculture and transportation. Here’s a sampling:

Southern Pacific Railroad Sacramento Shops complex: celebration to mark arrival of SP steam locomotive No. 5000. California State Railroad Museum Library, CSRM Negative 28153.

Fruit packing shed. California State Library, California History Room, Negative 5073.

Just as impressive–and greater in subject scope–is the Powerhouse Museum’s Powerhouse Museum Collection 2.0 database. I could play around conduct research in these databases for hours at a time.


Tom Scheinfeldt of Found History ponders exactly what makes a museum. His reflections are in response to the NPR segment inspired by Coudal Partners’ wonderful Museum of Online Museums.

Have you heard of Zotero, the Firefox extension previously known as Scholar for Firefox? Dan Cohen of Digital History Hacks showcases how to use this tool for collaborative work.

Mister Jalopy celebrates some unusually themed dinnerware. An excerpt:

I was not prepared for The Hippopotamus Service as it changed the way that I view the world. On the best days, you see something that you are absolutely positive you will remember for the rest of your life.

I believe in objects – worn, proletariat, celebrated, tiny, grand, sitting on dusty shelves in suburban garages, rusty, forgotten, reviled, behind glass in museums, praised, mechanical, pristine, decorative, functional, authentic, playful, historic, perfect, personal and profound.

image from Sotheby’s coming off hiatus, plans to expand

Good news: Museum Blogging has returned from its hiatus. Blog “curator” Leslie Madsen-Brooks has completed her Ph.D. in cultural studies and is now ready to take this blog to another level.

Future plans (6-month to 1-year timeframe) include interviews with leaders in the museum and cultural resources fields, podcasts, book reviews, forums for museum professionals, new content channels aimed at parents and teachers, advertising opportunities, and more.

If you’re a cultural resources professional, publisher, or vendor who would like to participate in any of these projects, please drop me a line. I’m interested in conducting interviews by e-mail or phone, welcoming guest bloggers who are experts in their fields, sharing success stories from your museum or cultural site (photos and video are welcome!), and more.

News of Note from the Smithsonian

Webcast September 28-30

The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s symposium, American Art in a Global Context, will be webcast live on September 28th through the 30th. Viewers may launch the webcast each day from the symposium home page, which also includes the schedule of program events. The symposium opens at 2 p.m. on September 28th. Each day’s sessions will be archived and accessible for viewing afterward as well.

Free monthly e-newsletter

The Smithsonian recently launched Smithsonian Focus, a free monthly e-newsletter. From the site:

In Smithsonian Focus you’ll find links to exciting Smithsonian exhibits online, engaging activities, and few features, along with advance notice of events and exhibitions on the National Mall and in your neighborhood.

I signed up. Have you?