from the accüsed to zoetrope

In Public Collectors, a rad new project by Chicago-based artist Marc Fischer, we now have a space for cataloging everything else:

Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible. Public Collectors asks individuals that have had the luxury to amass, organize, and inventory these materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public.

At launch, the site contains catalogs for Marc’s physical collections of art and music, as well as digital collections of images of anti-car barriers in Chicago, face paintings in Mexico City, and more. Public access to the physical collections is available by appointment (!) and access to information about the digital collections is available via email correspondence.

Don’t forget the MARC subject headings for that Born Against / Suckerpunch Split 8″ Flexi, Marc!

Just kidding….keep up the awesome work!

If you have a collection that you would like to make public, please contact: marc [at] publiccollectors [dot] org

mfrecords3.jpgA photo of an actual record collection, cataloged at Public Collectors.

cop some pics, copyright cops

Sorting through the gigantic pile of pre-blog material on the SD desk, we just came across this bit of online archival-related activism. It seems that an organization known as, inc, which was founded by ‘nets granddaddy Carl Malamud, took it upon themselves to free the images currently viewable (and currently claimed ownership by) the Smithsonian e-commerce site

In a letter addressed to the internet, claims that these images belong in the public domain and that the Smithsonian is unfairly preventing access to them. To serve the public interest and to raise awareness of the issue, has made all 6,288 images available on Flickr. The images are low-resolution and watermarked, as they are on the Smithsonian site. In addition to this work, they also purchased two high resolution images from the Smithsonian at $25 a piece and promptly made these available on Flickr as well.

There are many many issues regarding archives, copyright, reproductions, and usage, and we encourage our readers to chime in on the matter or to send us links and stories. Send anything via comments or email:

suggestions {at} suggested donation {dot} com

katrina katrina

Well, it’s been two years since the preventable disaster that was Hurricane Katrina.  Here’s an image tailored for Suggested Donation’s audience that is suggestive of the damage:


A new website,, was designed to offer information on the continuing crisis and recommendations on how you can get involved in the reconstruction. 

Also, on the archival tip, check out the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, which has collected thousands of stories and images.

More images of New Orleans’ Katrina-devastated libraries here, here, here, and here.

Tut v. Franklin

It’s the dog days of summer and things have clearly slowed down around here, with SD’ers in various foreign places enjoying themselves. Nothing jolts us up out of our slumber faster, though, than learning about the protest of the curators of the King Tut exhibit, currently on view at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

While any museum protest would be of interest to us, this one is particularly interesting as the organizers are claiming that curators of the exhibit have intentionally made King Tut whiter than he in fact was. Their demands are as follows:

Demand 1
The Franklin Institute must make a Public Apology for not properly representing King Tut as an African in the Golden Ages Exhibit and thus falsely representing KMT (Ancient Egypt) as non-African .

Demand 2
The Franklin Institute must develop and display a Historical, Factual, and Scientific Exhibit of the African foundation and identity of Dynastic KMT.

Demand 3
The Franklin Institute must Display the Pioneering Accomplishments of African Nile Valley Civilization in education, architecture, social organization, art, industry, etc.

Demand 4
The Franklin Institute must document and display
the great research and accomplishments of Cheikh Anta Diop in scientifically proving that KMT was indeed an African civilization.

As important a discussion as this is, we’re still more interested in proving, once and for all, that Black Bart is cooler than Bart.

Black Bart

tipster: dear boss, i don’t care about your banal existence.

SD reader BH writes from a lil’ Museum in Manhattan:

Sweet Christ,

When [Museum Director] Linda sends me those emails titled “I’m going to run a mile on the treadmill,” or “I’m going to take a bath for an hour,” I want to puke. What the FUCK is wrong with her? I’m going to write her one with “I have to take a poop” in the subject heading.

We feel your pain, S. Now we’re going to get a haircut and a permanent and come down to the office in about two hours.hair1.jpg

tenement museum taps tenants in imminent eminent domain dispute

Tenants online has the scoop on the latest in eminent domain boondoggles, blithely reported here :

Perhaps the most bizarre instance of Eminent Domain is where the Lower East Side Tenement Museum seeks to acquire a building owned by long-time resident Lou Holtzman to expand the Museum. The problem is that Holtzman has 15 tenants who would be displaced by the move. And while the Museum has done good work in preserving the immigrant experience, its move (like many arts groups that naively bite at developer’s carrots), would hurt the very neighborhood whose values it seeks to extol.

Stop biting those carrots, Tenement Museum! Maybe you could make a Quicktime VR of the eviction proceedings, too?


lapsed exhibition review: a review

We never claimed that we were timely. Via the excellent Old is the New New, we caught Stefan Schmitt’s thoughtful review of the “Game On” exhibition on the history of video games, which closed last February at the Science Museum of London. In our own defense, we weren’t a blog back then.

The exhibition, sponsored by Nintendo (natch), apparently deserves a bit of credit for at least attempting to address the social implications of video gaming via several installations called “debate walls”, allowing for a slightly more critical look at gaming than Gibby’s Game Room.

Next on Nintendo’s museum marketing radar: pursuing the naming rights to two mummies the British Museum, soon to be known as Mario and Luigi.


full disclosure: some of this isht is pretty cool

a more stubborn brand of shushers; sterile animal breeds literacy

Ripping off our cynical gore-tex for a moment, we report on the bibliomulas of Venezuela, where mules have been employed to bring books (and knowledge!) to remote villages at the footsteps of the Andes.
Say what you want about hegemony; we’re pretty down with literacy. But newer “technology initiatives” seem a little, how do you say, “Negroponte“?

Somehow there is already a limited mobile phone signal here, so the organisers are taking advantage of that and equipping the mules with laptops and projectors.

The book mules are becoming cyber mules and cine mules.

“We want to install wireless modems under the banana plants so the villagers can use the internet,” says Robert Ramirez, the co-ordinator of the university’s Network of Enterprising Rural Schools.

Looks like he fell for the old wireless router under the banana tree!


edutainment round up: convergence, emergence, divergence, detergent.

button_edutainment.jpgAre museums little more than edutainers? Here are some interesting internet link things about museums and entercation.

Stephen Asma doesn’t live near an inner city bus stop, but he does write about edutainment and museums, in his cuddly-titled book,Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums.” Asma relates the story of a T. Rex named Sue, a glam-rock covers of Johnny Cash dinosaur exhibit at Chicago’s Field Museum.

Asma also examines the phenomenon of “edutainment” including the ways in which museums use spectacle and fantasy in order to illuminate and educate, how much of current museum offerings are driven by a quest for large visitation numbers and the question of the relationship between big business, politics and what we learn at any moment in history.

Less than fifteen percent of the Field Museum’s funding comes from admissions. In order to raise the $8 million to acquire T. rex Sue, the Field partnered with Disney World and McDonald’s. “To my mind,” Asma writes, “Sue represents the best and the worst of edutainment.”

We take pause to wonder how this is in any way the best of edutainment, but I guess we’ll just have to buy his book!!!~!!

Elsewhere in the edutainmentsphere:

 So grab the sphere of life and aim it /and you’ll be guided by Edutainment.


above: the edutainmentsphere in cube form

fra-gi-le. must be italian!

LA’s best museum-on-top-of-a-3-mile-trolley-ride just got pwn3d, agreeing to hand over 40 antiquities to Italy. The Eye-talians claim the historic artworks, including a sculpture from the 5th century BC depicting Aphrodite, were plundered from their soil by the evil Getty.  The statue depicts a “cult deity” goddess, and not the cult drum ‘n’ bass producer Aphrodite, who produced such hits as “Luniz – I got 5 on it (jungle remix)” in the mid-90s.

In similar news, the Olive Garden is returning its recipe for its cult dish “Tour of Italy,” which features cuisine plundered from several parts of the boot-shaped nation: “Homemade lasagna, lightly breaded chicken parmigiana and creamy fettuccine alfredo.”