Settling in at Delaware

I have to say that so far my experience at Delaware and with the department has been incredibly positive. This is exciting because initially when I began applying to Graduate schools I had mentally thought of UD as the best PhD fit for my interests. I wasn’t sure entirely if I’d be able to get into a PhD straight out of undergrad, but I knew I wanted to try. Now that I’m here, I feel both excited and entirely glad I was able to do the direct PhD. Continue reading

The Grand PhD Roadtrip: Results

I haven’t had the time to update as I’d originally intended this last week, but moving from one side of the country to the other tends to do that to you. In the last week, I’ve been through: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. 

The addition of PA may seem strange considering it’s north of Newark, DE, but my Aunt lives just on the other side of the border and I stopped to visit. Updating will be slow or sporadic, but I hope to get my new wifi up and running soon and I’m certain I’ll have settled in soon. 

Instead of describing this trip any further, I’ll just present a nice little picture summary under the cut! Continue reading

Packing for Graduate School

A time honored tradition of anyone who’s ever moved — last minute packing, re-packing, and packing again. I’ll be leaving for Delaware this Saturday, meaning I’ve organized as much as I possibly can of my things, donated anything that doesn’t fit me any longer, and squeezed more clothes into space bags than should be technically allowed. 

The biggest problem, of course, is not the basic items I need every day like clothes, toiletries, or pots and pans. As with any academic in the making, the brunt of what I own is books — unwieldly, heavy, filled with color-plates, and far too many — books

At this point, I’ve parsed down the necessary books (things that I will need the moment I get unpacked) to only a single box, but I have three more that are either art history texts, or language books (Chinese and French, for the sake of the language exams I’ll be taking.) These will probably need to be shipped, as I’m going to be road tripping from one side of this country to the other, so everything has to fit in the car.

And since we’ll be driving from Arizona to Delaware (we being myself, and my roommate and good friend), I may end up updating here a few on the road pictures simply to get myself in the habit of updating this blog. I’ll probably also make a post on the “Essentials” book box I packed, just so it can be compared.

What are your book necessities for study?  

Meet a Museum Blogger: Desiree N. Annis


My interview with the Museum Minute.

Originally posted on Museum Minute:

Desiree N. Annis is a 21 year old Museum Studies student at Arizona State University with a lot on her plate. When she’s not running three different blogs, interning in a museum, in class or working at her day job, she can usually be found drinking coffee and researching the decorative arts for pleasure or researching material culture with Asia Arts Phoenix as a side project. She intends to follow up her BA with an MA/PhD, and fully reserves the right to call herself Dr. D.N.A.

Desiree N. AnnisDo you work in a museum? If not, where do you work? Tell us about your job.

Yes and no. This summer I interned with the Tucson Museum of Art, and I’m currently still helping them with a few things, but the museum is in another city. So I’m working with them, but not in the museum. In addition to that, one of…

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5 Times I should have known Art History was for me (but didn’t)

Choosing a major – or field – in college can seem like a daunting process. But now that I’ve finished my BA (in Museum Studies) and have been accepted into a PhD program in art history, I can point to a few things that make my choice of field make a lot of sense in hindsight. It’s not always clear on the beginning of your path what you’re interested in for college, but sometimes when your bachelor’s degree is all said and done, you have to take a step back, and realize why it made sense. These are the 5 times I could have realized I would love Art History — but didn’t.

And the one time I did realize. 

Continue reading

7 Things Museums can Learn From Comic-Con

Last year I wrote a paper for my internship credit at Arizona State University called: Kapow!: Arts Accessibility and the Dynamic Culture of Comic Conventions. A year later, I’ve gotten back from Phoenix Comicon 2014 (the second year that Phoenix Art Museum attended the convention), and I feel like my key points remain.

In 2012, Nonprofit Quarterly posed the question: “In Foreign Policy magazine, Daniel Drezner asks what the world’s political wonks can learn from [San Diego] Comic-Con. Given all the directives for nonprofits to innovate, innovate, innovate, couldn’t the same question be asked on behalf of the nonprofit sector? […] more than 130,000 people attended Comic-Con this year. When did a nonprofit conference you know about draw a crowd like that?”1

Here’s what Conventions get right: Continue reading

My MOOC Misgivings

Let me relate a little conversation I had almost two years back with my ABD TA of Medieval Art. She was chatting with our class about how unlikely some of us were to seek out additional lecture materials outside of class, and I responded that iTunes U had hundreds of such lectures, some of which I watched if I found interesting.

She jokingly told me it was okay to have fun, once in awhile.

But this anecdote roughly explains the MOOC (massive online open course) demographic, where most people in MOOCs are already college educated, and have degrees. That, and about 90% of them drop out1, and as seen at San Jose State:

83% of students finished the course and 56-76% of them failed it. She pretty much hits the nail on the head, but let me add in a few comments: 

1. A failure rate of 56-76% translates over 40 courses (roughly typical for a four year college) into an infinitesimally low graduation rate. 56% gives you 0.0000000084629%. That’s a bit low because students could take more than 40 courses to manage graduation, but it’s also a bit high because it doesn’t allow for the 17% who didn’t finish the courses.

2. Not finishing or failing the course is – from a monetary standpoint – a feature, not a bug. Students who fail to finish or finish but fail have to pay again for the same (or an equivalent course). Profit!” 2

And that’s where I have a problem. Failure is a feature, currently, and the paid MOOC is banking on it — instead of fixing any of the problems higher education already has.  Continue reading

Chapman Symposium 2014

April 25th, I flew into Orange County, CA and got an amazing opportunity to wet my feet with presenting and show my paper at the Chapman Undergraduate Art History Symposium. I presented my paper: Ellis Island Madonnas: Lewis Hine and the Construction of American Immigrant Women in Social Documentary Photography, which I had written for my seminar class at ASU “Body in the 19th Century.”

Without trying to sound egotistical, I noticed my video had finally been posted because I was googling myself. (I was trying to maintain a solid and linear online professional presence. I only just deleted my 2005 MySpace page a few months ago. The world didn’t need my junior high memories any longer.)

You can watch my presentation of my paper Ellis Island Madonnas: Lewis Hine and the Construction of American Immigrant Women in Social Documentary Photography here, and catch the other speakers here. Like most people I have trouble watching myself on video. I think I sound a little more nervous at the beginning than I felt, and definitely started speaking too quickly, but all in all I’m happy with it and think I sounded better after the first few minutes. I think my intent to sound energetic made me seem like I was going too fast — next conference presentation, I’ll have to be more purposeful.

Hopefully I’ll look back on this and feel like I’ve improved. It was wonderful to attend the symposium and I was so glad to have an opportunity to start with a smaller undergrad conference under my belt before I left for my doctoral program.

Summer Goals

Like any good student, I have a long list of things to do. Every so often I give myself a goals update so that I can keep track of my unending to-do list somewhere outside of my moleskine notebook/planner. This summer is a little different, given that I’m using it to A.) work and B.) prep myself for entering into the doctoral program at University of Delaware. I’m beyond thrilled, and my advisor and I have already had lovely phone calls regarding my upcoming move and fall classes.

But like any student, I have my study quirk. I’ve had it since elementary school.  Continue reading

Welcome to the Museologist!

Hello! My name is Desiree and as of this fall, I am an incoming first year Art History PhD student at the University of Delaware.

I’m a semi-frequent museum blogger (you can read my Museum Minute interview here), and have been throughout the last for years of my undergraduate BA in Museum Studies. After using other blogging platforms for several years, I decided to move The Museologist from Tumblr to WordPress. 

I run two fairly popular blogs on the Tumblr blogging platform, including one listed on the website’s main directory, so I thought I would explain this move of my domain name and central blog. Although I am keeping all my original Tumblr blogs, I felt that tumblr didn’t provide the kind of experience I wanted for The Museologist. This is for a few reasons.

One, Tumblr’s platform is meant for sharing media more than anything else. It’s great fun to pass along photographic images, but is really not meant for serious written blogging, partially due to the way information and posts are passed around on Tumblr, and partially due to the website’s poor functional quality. Simply put, if you want to write something more than a few sentences long, it will get automatically cut down in the “reblog post” when you try to share it elsewhere.  

And two, while Tumblr provides an interactive/memetic audience, it is also notoriously poor at protecting its users from abusive interactions or spam, fostering real discourse with easy to follow comment threads, and giving useful updates that improve user experience. It’s also easy to get caught up in frenzies of blogs that fabricate their information, or just plain get it wrong. 

In short, I have realized part of what keeps me from updating my personal museums and art history blog is that the platform is not built for what I wanted to use my blog for. So I have moved here, in the hopes of improving my experience with blogging and chronicling my studies, time in museums, and the beginning of my graduate program. It’s part of my summer goal to better improve my online presence. I’ve been slowly but surely returning to my sites, and updating them, fiddling around with my LinkedIn,, and twitter (@desireeannis), as well as staring puzzled at (One day I’ll load something of value to it.) 

Welcome, and feel free to say Hello, any time.