Several important notions of heritage spaces and the museum career field are discussed within this unit. They arise throughout the two powerpoints present in the unit, two articles pertaining to a lack of focus on entities deserving of attention for their historical significance, three museum crush articles and an exploration into the job market of the museum space.
Largely outlined in the first PowerPoint in this unit, is that heritage is everywhere and affects everyone. This notion is reflected by buildings with historical value that don’t fulfil the five functions of museums as their core point of focus. Furthemore, forms of state affirmations of heritage reflect this prominence. The government plays a role in preserving and celebrating heritage, such as encouraging embracing tradition and building loyalties within royal military college training. This government influence is inherently problematic as it elicits a unilateral agenda but additionally reflects potential benefits such as the implementation of memorials that provoke discussion among various perspectives. The public educational system plays a similar role in having the potential to shape societal perspectives. Community affirmations of heritage largely take place through volunteer groups, but can exhibit influence through their basis of focus amongst their members and amongst the public through memorials or commemorations. Furthermore, a large amount of businesses do work that relates to heritage. These examples of non-museum buildings that have implications in society reflect the prominence of heritage in society, additionally all of these examples speak to the identity shaping role that these institutions often play.
Heritage’s prominence and influence is additionally reflected by academic and popular publications. Sources of history largely differ, as such distinctions between academic sources and non-academic sources are important. However, non-peer-reviewed publishings can still be solid sources of history or provide certain valuable insight. The prominence of online videos that pursue ignorant agendas reflect the importance of discernment of sources. Web presentation however can reflect the internet’s value in approaching history through common experience, giving light to distinctive stories through focus on respected sources.
Heritage is often represented through performance and entertainment. The Toronto Symphony uses historical works for its repertoire reflecting that performances can create a link between heritage and culture. Contrastingly, the bulk of ethnic heritage commemoration takes place through amateur performance. These performances can often reflect roles that identify articles of ethnic history, reflecting how performances can keep culturally significant events alive in memory. Furthermore, a large portion of public understanding of heritage comes from mediums such as literature and film, these mediums are beneficial in a historical sense as they are inherently able to portray many perspectives and interpretive lenses, ultimately providing accessibility for many historical understandings, however the massive cultural impact of these sources allows for easy misinformation.
Heritage recognition takes place within a wide array of spaces. Public spaces such as Trafalgar square form major focal points of cities as many events have taken place within them. Furthemore these types of spaces are monitored so as to protect their historical significance, however are still able to be used in today’s society, providing space for artists and gatherings. Furthemore, public buildings such as government buildings can reflect cultural movements in the history of Canada, such as the Gothic revival, while serving as significant to heritage through the recollections of history that took place within these buildings.
Large-scale heritage areas such as conservation districts additionally reflect the significance of surviving architecture to historical understanding, providing a landscape for intellectual coherence. Places associated with the dead additionally often have historical significance, this attribute is reflected by Lenin’s tomb, with the positioning of Stalin changing reflecting the greater cultural implications these places of heritage often speak to. An element importantly developed throughout this course is the distinction between history, being of empirical, research basis, and heritage, being associated with physical assets and non-professional organizations, both have the potential to produce negative effects, yet both retain the ability to employ individuals in doing important and fulfilling things.
The second set of PowerPoint slides within this unit focused on job hunting and training. There is an incredibly wide array of non-museum organizations that employ many in performing similar museum functions. Furthermore the array of jobs that build experience or relate to the museum field within these organizations are particularly large. There are many ways to build experience part-time or seasonally, with these opportunities largely being in education, interpretation and retail. Job hunting while still a student is rather important as long-term career development is difficult and hinged upon experience in the museum field or in jobs performing similar functions. Although direct museum jobs may be competitively sought after, activity within the museum field of any sort will assist in obtaining eventual permanent and full-time jobs. Beyond a bachelor of arts, seminars, courses and programmes exist to help develop this. Fundamental career skills in general are highly beneficial to pursuing a career in the field, including a fundamental basis of knowledge. Many jobs although not exciting are great gateways into museum related jobs of interest.
The exploration into museum careers began with a development of two distinct professions at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The director of education and wellness functions as a coordinator facilitating museum accessibility. This director identifies distinct roles in the museum environment and attempts to use them in assisting interpretation. This role involves managing material and financial resources in maintaining department values. The culmination of these responsibilities is opportunities such as pursuing a project that resolves the unwelcoming aspects of museums in interacting with out of reach communities. An interest at an early age is beneficial for this job as early focus on a bachelor of arts, fine arts, or coordinating degree provides a solid grounding for this position. Furthermore, experience in the museum space or a fine arts environment is an asset.
Alternatively, the photographic and copyright department technician works with outside institutions such as publishing houses or commercial consumers. The position is involved with exhibits, the IT department and the photography department as it revolves around seeking out permits for the reproduction of works. A diverse skill set is required for the job as it relates to art history, but largely to intellectual property and law, as such educational research in any of these fields serves as an asset. Additionally a copyright technician works with larger organizations such as SOCAN to facilitate communication with artist beneficiaries.
The Hunting for Museum Jobs document explicated that applications for museum related jobs must be perfect. Employers receive high amounts of applications, as such, standing out becomes crucially important. Services exist that make these competitive jobs more accessible. There are a wide array of websites that provide career opportunities for their respective museums. These sources allow for a great starting point for career-building in the museum field, but additionally provide valuable insight on the professions present within the field and their respective requirements.
Part three of the job space exploration consisted of three articles that outlined various focuses for those applying for jobs. The first article, “What I look for in a Cover Letter and Other Thoughts About Job Applications” speaks to the requirement for conciseness and being forward with your intentions and desires within applications. Furthermore, the article noted that cover letters should reflect on your personal experiences in direct relation to the needs of the position.
The second article, “Hey Job Applicants, Stop Doing These Dumbass Things” listed frequent mistakes job candidates make. The article largely speaks to not over-glorifying oneself, making your applications the most accessible. Furthemore, conducting yourself with punctuality and listening actively, again without over emphasizing yourself, are discussed. Largely, the article relates to respective conduct in the application process.
The third article, “Top Tips for Applying For Jobs” focused on the need to stand out and to formulate your application in direct relation to the goal of obtaining an interview. Furthermore, the focal point of the application should be how your experience meets the specifications of the job, providing your evidence in a logical way but not over assuming it’s credibility to your claims.
The exploration additionally discussed the value of being straightforward, honest and presenting your desire for the job in cover letters and CV’s. Attention to detail becomes crucially important within application documents as it is a quality that reflects real life skills. Furthermore, strict analysis is required as the content and language of these documents is important. Carelessness is apparent, as mistakes are glaring when expectations are high and competitive, proofreading and a focus on academic professionalism is thus essential. Furthermore, an awareness of your lived experiences additionally assists you in the application process as it implicates how you reflect on yourself as a person.
Theatre: A Neglected Site Of Public History by David Dean, discussed how theatres should be studied as a site of public history and have been neglected. This opinion was reflected using Vern Theissen’s play, Vimy as a representative example. Vimy Ridge was a very significant historical event for Canadians, reflecting an early unified Canadian force and Canadian victory amid massive losses. The tragedy and diversity present in the story of Vimy Ridge represents Canadian society at large and becomes representative of the event’s historical significance.
A study was performed in which audience members of the play were questioned of their experience and of theatre’s value in historical representation. Respondents found the play humanizing of history, as they attached personal associations to it. Few commented on the importance of plays as a medium in shaping Canadian identity. Some interpreted the play as having anti-war motives and thought the film focused on the terrors, which was not the intention. Respondents identified that personal and life-like experience of theatre extend beyond physical barriers, expanding the imaginative experience of the viewer, allowing for them to deeply engage with content being presented to them.
The different interpretations of the play’s implications of Canadian identity are additionally reflected by roughly a tenth of the respondents finding plays to be untrustworthy in accurately depicting historical events. The author relates this number to the notion that it shows the similarity of trustworthiness of historical representation as other mediums of public history that are considered by public historians, as such public historians should focus on plays as much as they do these other mediums.
As discussed in Kensington Market – an Urban Neighbourhood, a Cultural Metaphor, Kensington Market is a community with deep historical roots, evolving in accordance to commerce, providing a centre for wholesaling, distribution, manufacturing at different times. Throughout the commercial change it has remained a hub that retained strong cultural roots. These roots were formed largely through the migration of different ethnic groups throughout the 20th century to the neighbourhood, with immigrant populations often leaving their cultural mark well after a decline in relative population. The affordable housing and opportunities for small businesses brought a large amount of these immigrants.
In the 1960’s, the community faced public issues stemming from congestion which initiated a review by the Toronto’s Public Works Committee into some of it’s prevalent problems. The proposed methods were likely to disrupt memories and largely discount human factors, reflecting methods counter to their general goal of retaining the distinct feeling of the neighbourhood.
In 2005, Kensington was submitted for possible designation as a historic district by a neighbourhood committee group. The space met the criteria as it reflects important historical themes in Canada relating to urban migration, settlement patterns, small business, and fundamental aspects of Canada’s economic growth, ultimately influencing the formation of the Canadian identity.
Layers of cultural richness within the community are reflected by the material of the old Victorian houses and the bright colours present, attributed to Portuguese populations. Attributes of cohesiveness of activities common among buildings, and links between the district and historical themes additionally point to deeper social layers. Furthermore, the significance of the area is crucially tied to the immigrant experience in Canada, with implications of poverty being importantly associated.
Overtly, Kensington Market serves as a neighbourhood of high density and multiple uses. The feeling produced by the distinct nature of the neighbourhood is of note and can be attributed to the remnants and existence of many different ethnic groups. This community arose out of social needs and thus proves the significance of the community to immigrant experience.
The HM Factory Gretna formerly served the war effort for the UK in WWI producing cordite, a propellant used in every bullet . The factory was eventually demolished despite efforts pushing for its preservation. A Museum Crush article divulges that The Devil’s Porridge Museum now tells the story of the factory that was once there (HM Factory). The clock from the tower was the only salvageable artefact of the factory. It underwent a restorative process and is now being displayed in the museum. The museum has several other important collections such as objects and accounts of the Quintinshill Rail Disaster, and a large collection of oral testimonies, objects and photographs connected to the Solway Military Coast from 1939 onwards.
As discussed in the Museum Crush article, “Islamic Metalwork from the Courtauld at History of Science Museum”, There are several objects on loan from The Courtauld currently paired with modern day interpretation on Islamic metalwork spanning from the 11th to the 16th centuries as a public exhibition at Oxford’s History of Science Museum. Additionally, this project includes an online exhibition with interactive digital programming, both of which deal with intersections of culture. The museum has additionally utilized volunteer efforts more recently in their museum database, interacting with a wide community by implementing multilingual events, tours and displays.
In a final Museum Crush article, Grace Evans, the Keeper of Costume at Chertsey Museum spoke on the presence of Olive Matthew’s Collection in the museum. The museum is located in a Georgian house and contains important artefacts that reflect the rich history of the local borough. Museum contains dress, accessory and decorative art that extends as far back as the 1600’s. Olive’s collection is historically significant as she inherited it from her prestigious family. Furthermore, her commitment to the material’s preservation has been recounted by Evans. The exhibition programme at Chertsey Museum is run by the Borough of Runnymede and its presence online has remained active amid closures.
Heritage has vast implications amongst society as it is prominent and incredibly influential in its many different facets. Furthermore this notion is reflected by the many spaces that serve some of the five functions of the classical definition of museums. These aspects of heritage are echoed by the many different types of museum spaces that have been presented throughout this course, building an image of the valuable roles that museums can serve, as historical spaces are currently providing benefits to society through serving these roles. What emerged importantly in this essay is the reality of the museum job field. Notions of proper application etiquette, interview conduct and the mistakes to be avoided in pursuing a career in the museum field were discussed. The discussion of Kensington Market and its lack of recognition for cultural significance raised themes that have been discussed frequently throughout this course, largely in the Tenement Museum article. This aspect of the course has developed a feeling of the diversity of perspectives that historically significant spaces speak to. Furthermore, these aspects develop an understanding of the potential for museum-like institutions to serve culturally.