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, about.me, and twitter (@desireeannis), as well as staring puzzled at academia.edu. (One day I’ll load something of value to it.) 

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