Collections and Exhibitions

Museum exhibitions are familiar to most people. Treasures displayed for the enjoyment (and education) of the general public… isn’t that the best way for archaeologists to tell people about their work and their discoveries? (As a museum curator, I agree completely.) Here are different types of exhibitions you might find in a museum.

Permanent Collections/Permanent Galleries
Museums will display a portion of the fabulous collections entrusted in their care in their permanent galleries. Occasionally, famous works of art might be lent to other institutions or be removed from the galleries to undergo conservation treatment, but there is always something from a museum’s permanent collection on view somewhere in the building (even if your favourite piece is not always on display). The quality of a museum’s permanent collection makes its reputation. Visit your local museum and find out what they are famous for…

Temporary Exhibitions
The masterpieces and artefacts presented in a temporary exhibition can be part of a museum’s collection that isn’t normally on display, but more often are part of a special collection from another museum or private collection, or represent a grouping of masterpieces from numerous museums gathered together under a specific theme. Temporary exhibitions are presented in a museum for a limited length of time (generally a few months) and are very popular because they are once-in-a-lifetime museum experiences.

Travelling Exhibitions
A travelling exhibition will be presented at different museums within a country or around the world. Needless to say, a travelling exhibition is by default a temporary exhibition. Occasionally, museums undergoing renovations will organise a travelling exhibition of their artefacts and masterpieces so that they can be seen across the country even if the museum or the permanent galleries are closed.

ROCHELEAU, C.M. Ancient Egyptian Art. North Carolina Museum of Art, 2012.

ROCHELEAU, C.M. Ancient Egyptian Art. North Carolina Museum of Art, 2012.

Exhibition and Collection Catalogues
Artefacts presented in a permanent or temporary exhibition at a museum are often published in catalogues, books that show pictures and give a description of the objects. Theses catalogues can focus on an entire collection at the museum (systematic catalogue), illustrated a few masterpieces from various collections within a museum (collection handbook or catalogue of select works), or accompany a temporary exhibition and feature works in that special exhibition (exhibition catalogue). Those catalogues are beautifully illustrated with maps and coloured photographs and fun to read. Some people even collect them!

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Reflecting on another crazy busy year

You know you’ve fallen behind when the January/February 2018 issue of Archaeology arrives in your mailbox and you’re still not finished with the July/August issue!

It’s the little things that have fallen through the cracks this year. Things like reading Archaeology magazine and posting on my blogs. Mostly because I’m desperately trying to complete projects at work or volunteer stuff at home so that my schedule (life) can return to some kind of normality.  Each time I actually do complete a project, something else pops up to take its place.  Even though I say no to new endeavours or delegate tasks to others, things still pop up. Just like the heads of the Hydra in Greek mythology. You chop one off and two more sprout up.

It’s been another crazy busy year. The second one in a row. And I know a third one is coming along with 2018. I thought perhaps I should reflect on what I have actually accomplished this year so I don’t feel so bad from having neglected my dear readers. (I’m sure you won’t fault me for spending what little free time I may have away from the computer, taking a dance lesson, eating out with friends, walking in parks to exercise or sleeping in).

  1. An article co-authored with a colleague from the British Museum is about to see the light of day (proofs were sent back to the publisher a couple of weeks ago). The project started back in 2008 (!) but took forever to complete because of other museum tasks that take curators away from their research–mostly exhibitions, which can be very demanding–and sometimes health issues get in the way.
  2. A second article is about to see the light of day soon–proofs should be coming to me this week. This was one of those projects that popped up out of nowhere–a conference paper given as part of a panel discussion that was selected for publication. Can’t say no to that!
  3. An online journal has seen the light of day.  When things had come to a grinding halt, I offered solutions to fix the problem–yes, creating more work for myself. However, that is part of my work ethics: if I sit on a committee it’s because I actually want to accomplish the task given the committee. Luckily, once the problems were fixed, colleagues took up the tasks assigned to them and helped make this a reality. This took up loads of my time on weekends and week nights; however, now that we have a system and the journal has its platform, volume two should be much easier to deal with.
  4. Funds were raised so that my next big project is fully funded. Quite an accomplishment, that! It’s so hard to find funding these days, but I did not give up and working with a colleague who has the same work ethics made this a reality as well.  You’ll hear a lot about this project in 2018 because it will consume my life for the next three years–but it’s very cool and should have loads of blogging opportunities. (Time permitting, of course.)
  5. No consultants were strangled and I consider this an accomplishment because a couple have actually brought my patience to its limit!  :)

I’m very happy about the publications (excited to see them in print soon!), the new online journal, and securing funds for my new project. I can’t wait for my other big volunteer project (not mentioned here) to be over soon because that will free up personal time on weekends. Just knowing that I have brought the project to a point where I am satisfied that it can continue with minimal input on my part–without falling apart–is reassuring. I have done my part; others should roll up their sleeves while I supervise from a distance.

I hope the holidays give me time to read my issues of Archaeology magazine, post a few things for you wonderful readers and will help me recharge my batteries.
I may not have Iolaus to help me, but I’ll get you, Hydra… I’ll cauterise one chopped off  head at a time. Just you wait!

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