Museum Explorer creates experiences to delight visitors. We put the visitor front and center in our museum planning, program development and exhibit design. We work hard to prepare thoughtful environments in which people enjoy learning in non-traditional ways—and find themselves motivated to learn more.
everyone is officially back in school, so it might seem like summer has
technically come to a close. But if you
hadn’t picked up on this yet, it seems our summer weather has only just begun –
just in time for the remaining 29 days of the season. So, until the Autumnal Equinox gets here, you
should get yourself to the remaining summer events at the museums! You might have noticed that we’ve been to a few already this
summer, and we will be posting about a few more this week (to make you feel
just the slightest bit more sociable now that everyone’s cooped up for the
One of our recent trips was to the Art Institute of
Chicago. Last month we went to the AIC for Martini Mondays, a summertime event
bolstering “libations, light bites, live music and special exhibition viewings.”
This particular program (different from the monthly “Art After Dark” and “Night
Heist” events the AIC already hosts) varies from month to month in location,
trying to make use of the outdoor spaces of the museum before leading inward to
a particular exhibit inside. July’s
event started off in the Pritzker Garden – the bright, sunny courtyard amid the
trees, located off the east side of the Modern Wing. There were several tables offering generous amounts
of antipasto options (the Art Institute provides some of the best food at these
events), as well as a few bartenders mixing up pretty martinis (pictured
right!) and the standard bar classics.
Visitors dined and sipped as the sun lowered in the skyline, all to the
tune of a live jazz band at the end of the courtyard. It was as lovely as it sounds!
Post-martini, this event was to lead back inside for a
special look at the “Chicagoisms” exhibit.
Sadly, there was a miscommunication and “Chicagoisms” ended up being
closed that night, so the museum instead had the Classics hallways opened for
the guests. Although I had been looking
forward to viewing the “Chicagoisms” architecture exhibit, this was no great
disappointment. The cool blue hallways
hosting the Greek, Roman and Byzantine works are among my favorite spots in the
museum - for the jewelry, artwork and sculpture as much as for the views overlooking
the pretty garden and fountains of McKinlock court below. As an added bonus, we got to watch the sun finally
disappear behind the buildings downtown.
The sun sets over McKinlock Court
This event provided visitors all the best things that summer
in Chicago has to offer. The weather was
perfect, and it was easy to see why the AIC would add a third program to their
already full schedule of social events.
The gardens of the museum are so peaceful and visually beautiful, and
yet we are only offered a few short months to enjoy them. Incidentally, tonight is the last Martini
Monday of the summer. So get yourself
there before the summer does officially end!
You can go here to buy tickets.
Since early May, Museum Explorer has really been “with the program,”
so-to-speak. It kicked off with the release
of our article on program carts published by the National Association of Museum
Exhibition (N.A.M.E.) in their Spring issue of The Exhibitionist (vol. 33, no.
1, Spring 2014). The issue, dedicated to ‘Intentionally Designed Spaces,’
includes our contribution “Exhibition Carts: Intentionally Design Spaces on the
Move” by Museum Explorer staff, Rich Faron and Jessica Banda. The article is
still available from N.A.M.E. on their site (here), but here's a refresher excerpt:
“Program carts are wonderful tools for
responding to this increasing pressure facing exhibitors. As a method of
flexible program delivery, these carts provide activities that fulfill a
variety of purposes, from conveying mission content, to serving as a changing
marquee, to supporting local school curricula. Because carts bring staff,
objects, and an exhibit-like experience into direct contact with visitors, they
provide an intimate and simple means for establishing and building a dialogue
with the public.”
Our article was so well received that of the dozen articles
published in that issue, ours was among only 3 that were selected to be
highlighted on the N.A.M.E. web site and made available via PDF through a link
with their web site.
But…that wasn’t even the biggest deal. In May N.A.M.E. invited us (Jessica Banda and
Rich Faron) to participate in a Twitter Chat that was by all accounts,
including our own, a huge success. The chat
was hosted by on June 26th by Dana Allen-Greil (Digital Outreach Manager at the Smithsonian
Museum, National Gallery of Art), and included participants from museum
of all kinds from all around the country. If you missed it you can still recap
and read the tweets by clicking the link.
But wait - that’s not all! It’s one thing
to write, talk and tweet about carts, but in the end the most important thing
is to actually design and build carts! We’re proud to report that we are currently
designing and working with our fabricator on 3 brand new cart designs for Lincoln Park Zoo, the
Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida, and the
Naper Settlement in Naperville, Illinois. Additionally, we’ve been developing some
brand new program materials for the History
a la Cart programs at the Chicago History Museum!
So…we are keeping busy! But so far it has been a great summer and
here’s hoping that it keeps on ROLLING!