Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder…I hope

DarumaCollections have been missing from the blog lately, and as it is already February, I am compelled to make up for that absence. We have been keeping quite busy lately. Here are a few highlights:

  • We have a new Japanese House website! If you have visited the Museum website recently, perhaps you have noticed a new banner on the homepage. Just in time for Japanese New Year, we have launched a new Website featuring all things Japan: the Japanese House Exhibit (Kyo no Machiya), curriculum activities, archival materials and, of course, Japanese collections materials. You can find it here: http://japanesehouse.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/

It has taken a team of people three years to completely catalogue, research, and photograph over 1000 artifacts, and that is just the team focusing on the collections. Not all of the items are currently on the website, but there is a selection of categories to search through and learn more about these hidden treasures. We hope you will take a look and let us know what you think.

  • We have a new Growdon Collections Intern: Each semester, the collections office offers the Elvira Growdon Internship for Collections Management and Curatorial Practice. Named in honor of a beloved former Museum trustee who was a champion of the Museum’s collection, the internship is offered to a graduate student eager to pursue work with collections care and registration. Largely project based, interns select an area of interest in the collection and research and catalog the materials.

    Native smoking
    A beaded pipe bag and tobacco pouch in the Native American collection.

This semester’s intern, Jessica Rymer, comes to Boston Children’s Museum from the Historical Archaeology program at UMass Boston. On her first day, during her exploration of storage, she noticed the unexpected category of “smoking and narcotics” listed on many of the drawers. As it turns out, in the Museum’s 100 year history, we have amassed a unique collection of pipes, tobacco pouches, snuff bottles and other assorted smoking implements. While these are not materials that we will share in a program with visitors, they do offer a unique glimpse into history and culture around the world. Jessica is already digging in to her research and sharing her finds on her own blog: http://digthisfeature.tumblr.com/. Look for more from her here in the coming weeks.

  • Boston Children’s Museum Collections are on loan: We have been offered an opportunity to share our collections with the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library. In preparation for their upcoming exhibit “A City of Neighborhoods,” two of their staffers visited the collection to see what we have that would be fitting for the exhibit. As it turns out, a few of our cultural artifacts were just what they had in mind. The exhibit will be on view from March through August this year in the Map Center at the Copley branch of the library. More details to come as we get ready to pack things up and send them across town.
Wrenford Thaffe’s “Running Man” awaiting installation.
Wrenford Thaffe’s “Running Man” awaiting installation.
  • Upcoming Gallery exhibits: Although Museum collections will not feature in upcoming Gallery exhibits, we do have some exciting new shows lined up. Opening in February is “Animal Motion Park” (February 15 – April 27). Featuring kinetic sculptures by Wrenford Thaffe, the show explores the interface between art and science. It opens just in time for February vacation week’s “Engineering Everywhere” activities.

For our spring exhibit, we are collaborating with Sneaker Museum for a show and that will be followed up by an exhibit with Design Museum Boston. Both of those exhibitions will focus on the design process, which will bring a new element to the Gallery and related programs. Stay tuned!

Needless to say, the year is already off to a busy start with more activity to come. I look forward to sharing the news and updates from the Museum’s collection throughout the year ahead…and hopefully with fewer lapses between posts!

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