mih Thoughts

Enhancing museum outreach through technology

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Elevate 2014 – A day with amazing Chicago start-ups!

Elevate 2014, was a fantastic day-long event presented by Entrepreneurs Unpluggd!

They created a wonderful atmosphere at Morgan Manufacturing, for an amazing variety of Chicago start-up companies to network and exchange ideas.  I was so impressed by the passionate people with such a range of interests: Designation, a design boot-camp that a former classmate of mine works for, and an exciting Chicago news source Breaking Voices were among the multitude of companies there.

The speakers were were so inspiring! They were broken down into the the various stages that a start-up will expect to go through, from start-up through acquisition. While the focus was predominately on for-profit companies (which we are definitely not), the foundations of starting, nurturing, and growing a new organization were important for any kind of start-up. The two major takeaways for me were:

Perfect is the enemy of the good: Most speakers touched on this concept to one degree or another, but Maria Christopoulos Katris the CEO of Builtin Chicago summed it up well when she said ‘if you aren’t embarrassed by your first project you waited too long’. In other words get your work out there in the public sphere and then respond to feedback, positive or negative as it will all help your project, but you have to start and keep working!

-Solve the problems that exist: Again each speaker addressed the importance of really listening to your client regarding what they really need and how they can best use your product. Make sure you are solving the primary problem that exists, not just the one you want to solve

This second point is going to be crucial for us as we move forward with our pilot project with the aim to support both museum outreach and student education.

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and we’re off

So Tuesday Museums in Hand took a huge step forward with our pilot project and had our first day of filming. Thanks to the amazing work from Jenny Butkus, Gene Weiss, and the entire MIH filming and photography staff we are well on our way to a great project! With permission (of course) from the curatorial staff we were able to interview and document them as they carefully measured, mounted, dusted and framed a beautiful painting for the upcoming Dia de los Muertos show. As they worked they explained to us the lengthy and detailed process that goes into the development and execution of a museum exhibit. Beginning with the theme development and a preliminary selection of work from their permanent collection, the work continues as the curators research and reach out to museums near and far to collaborate and secure loans to further flesh-out their vision. Once the final selections are made, the physical set up begins. The paper handling that we were privy to and the building of the room and finally the hanging and display of the final work. We were also lucky enough to get a preview into the themes and key pieces of the 2012 show, but we’ll keep those under our hats for now- no spoilers today. All I’ll say for now is that there is such remarkably far-reaching cross-section of Mexican and Mexican American art at the NMMA that the final exhibit will be truly remarkable. So next time you are walking through a show, take a minute to think about all the behind the scenes work, both physical and mental that went into creating that final story for your enjoyment and enrichment.

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Hello world!

Welcome to the Museums in Hand blog! Museums in Hand is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding museums’ educational outreach through digital video technology.  During a time of budget cuts, consolidations and school closures, the arts and humanities are often the first to subjects to be lost. We strive to empower students to explore these independently by bringing exhibits created  for them, to them, in their own classroom.  We create a learning resource including a digital video of a local museum resources supplemented  with lesson plans and study material packaged onto personal tablets and bring the tablets to your school for student use.  As we team up with the National Museum of Mexican Art in the Pilsen area of Chicago for our pilot project, we want to hear from you! As educators in schools, libraries, museums, private institutions and more we want to know what challenges you face engaging students and what methods or tools you have found successful.