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Museum Mondays: Ashleigh Herrera’12 ‘breathes new life’ into collections

April 14, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Ashleigh Herrera’12 is an anthropology and art history double major with a museum studies minor. She is currently conducting an honors term project, which she describes below.

The day I walked into the Logan Museum was the day I knew I would be attending Beloit College.

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I was awestruck. Not to detract from the collections of the Wright Museum, but to a young budding archaeologist, paintings and prints were not on quite the same level as a well-preserved pot. And never in my life had I seen so many well-preserved pots in one place. I must have wandered around the seemingly endless sprawl of artifacts for an hour or so. To this day, every time I walk through the gallery, something new catches my eye.

Like so many other visitors to the Logan Museum, I left after my first visit with more questions than answers. Why are there so many objects in one room?  Where did they all come from? What were they used for?

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These questions have not gone unasked by the students in the museum studies program.  Tucked away in the basements of both museums lie hundreds of papers, past object studies, and special projects. And while many projects were presented as symposia, temporary exhibits, and brochures in their creators' time here, many of them became largely forgotten as the years have passed on.

My goal this semester was to breathe new life into some of these projects and answer some of the questions that remained with me from my first visit four years ago—but my work has turned into so much more. Aside from learning so much more about the collections and their origins, this project has opened my eyes to the potential technology has within a teaching museum. My favorite project has to be QRator (a play on curator), a crowd-sourced museum exhibit where students can comment and share thoughts on items within the exhibits at the University College London Museums. I would love to find a way to implement something similar here before I leave.

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If you visit the Logan Museum’s cube today, you will probably notice several neon pink and green post-its. Within the next few weeks, prepare to see those post-its change into QR codes like the one pictured in the gallery below. These codes, when scanned with a smart-phone app such as i-nigma or google goggles will lead you to additional content such as videos, audio (originally produced by Greta Teigen’09), photos, and student research on objects. You will see QR codes both at the Logan and with objects on display at the Wright.

Stop by the Logan this week or visit to see what’s already up in the museum and to get a peek at what’s coming.