spectacular craptacular vernacular

The Museum of Vernacular Photography is a geocitiesesque online collection of old photos, or, as the scrolling teal banner on the top of the page tells you, “great images by as-yet unappreciated & undervalued artists.” Let’s disregard the double negative of that tagline and explore the collection!

Lovers of the female form won’t be disappointed, as the Museum showcases Bathing Beauties, Nudes & Erotica, as well as the strangely themed Two Women collection. Other collections include Flying Machines, French Collotypes, and Japanese Snapshots.

Most bizarre of all is the My Summer Vacation collection, which features a smattering of beach themed photos narrated in prose by what seems to be a semi-literate eight year old. All is going well–The beach is nice, my grammy hates the sand, my dad bought a neat maroon Buick–until the end, when they decide to climb a mountain with Leni Riefenstahl “But, my father said that it was too dangerous and rented the video for Alive instead.”

Richard T. Rosenthal, Founder, Director, Curator, we salute you!


MoOM-MoOM Room

Coudal Partners, which seems to be the Hanso Foundation of the tote bag and web design set, continues to update their excellent Museum of Online Museums.

The MoOM features an ever-changing, curated, list of links to museums and collection, large and small:

Here, you will find links from our archives to online collections and exhibits covering a vast array of interests and obsessions: Start with a review of classic art and architecture, and graduate to the study of mundane (and sometimes bizarre) objects elevated to art by their numbers, juxtaposition, or passion of the collector.

The larger institutions featured are mostly design-related and well-covered, but there are tons of gems in the exhibition and collections section, many of which are hosted on personal websites, like the Faded Billboard collection, and the Gallery of Skatepark IDs.

And, just like a real museum, benefactors and board members get to throw their weight around a little bit!


geocity museum of www

A partial list of museums with websites hosted on Geocities:

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

Earnest Goes to Museum

While diligently researching the pleasingly small world of other museum-related blogs, I just stumbled across Young Museum Professionals. “Dedicated to new museum professionals to connect, share stories, and seek advice“, the site is like an earnest, Midwestern version of Suggested Donation, silently shaming us for our coastal cynicism, making us think for a split second that life might be more enjoyable without the emotional Gore-tex of our critical nature.

Case in point: in a post about getting burned out at work (SD’s origin story), YMP reflects:

In recent months, however, I have recognized these signs of burnout in many of my young-ish colleagues here at the museum. It has helped me to know that I am not alone, but I’ve thought a great deal about how I can help them avoid the “career quilt” that I’ve experienced.

YMP then quaintly recommends, among other things: redecorating your office, taking on a new project, looking at your musem’s exhibitions, and re-watching City Slickers.

Well guys, good luck with that. But, if the leadership conferences don’t pan out and you’re still bummed, you are always welcome to come over here to the dark side and anonymously talk some isht about your employers and donors. Use our now-more-democratic comments section or email us: suggestions {at} suggested donation {dot} com.

Suggested Donation also recommends listening to Lil’ Wayne.

Imagineering an Interactive Experience

siniseOld news, but I just got back from Chicago, where I finally learned about CSI: The Experience (via its ubiquitous billboards and bus stop ads). This barf-tastic-looking exhibition, on view right now at Chicago’s venerable Museum of Science and Technology is an interactive space where daddy’s little career prosecutors “can play the role of crime scene investigator, learning scientific principles and real investigative techniques as you try to solve a crime scene mystery”. Sponsored by Diet Pepsi, the exhibition was designed by Bob Weis Design Island, the firm led by the dude who brought us The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular!

Not to be a geezer about this, but didn’t we invent theme parks for things like this and the other Back to the Future: The Rides?

Not to mention the whole training-of-young-people-to-think-the-world-is-full-of-serial-killers thing and the promotion-of-the-unquestioning-veneration-of-law-enforcement thing.

Lil’ Crimestoppers

a visit to the shrink: totem and taboo

ripley3heads.jpgRumor has it the American Museum of Natural History still has a shrunken head or two buried deep in the bowels of its collection. Doc Bwana, however, would rather leave fancy words like “repatriation” and “postcolonialism” to the academics in their ivory towers. His online shrunken head museum harbors no such guilt.

And didn’t you know?

Shrunken heads are popular display items in museums, school rooms, and shopping malls everywhere.


Well…on the non-sexy, non-neo-cyber-goth side of Second Life, they are apparently building virtual museums. Neal Stephenson could have warned us about this.

From a paper given at the Museums and the Web 2007 conference:

Exploratorium staff members have created… a space in the massively multi-user, three-dimensional world of Second Life. In the virtual museum called the ‘Splo, we’ve been experimenting with the social, contextual, and educational possibilities of a world in which people can fly through the solar system, scan their own bodies, and change gravity so they can bounce off walls.

Wait, wait, think of the fund-raising and naming opportunities!

fake ids: not just for teen drinking anymore

Sure, your friends in CorpAm get box tickets to sporting events, an expense account for “power lunches”, the ability to say “power lunch” with a straight face, free car service rides home from work, a good health insurance plan, a 401k (which we just recently learned does not mean a one-time payment of $401,000), and yearly cash bonuses. That ain’t shit compared to the sole Museum employee perk: free admission to all other Museums. Yeah, we look after our own. (Full disclosure: we did receive a bonus in 2006– a purple cashmere scarf purchased with petty cash at a half-off sale at Century 21.)

But sometimes two paid meals, a car service home, and a bonus the size of our last NYSCA grant isn’t enough for our fine feathered friends in the Corporatesphere, so along comes Eric Doeringer, who has so graciously supplied us with templates for fake Museum IDs. Look, we think it’s ridiculous to pay $20 to get in MoMA also, but ante up already. Props though to the imaginary “Kincade Museum,” although the greater part of middle America might be considered as such.

See also: Doeringer’s fake museum t-shirts