@MarDixon

Passionate about culture internationally. Run remixing events, workshops, create solutions, and an international speaker. Over sharer and Mom who loses arguments to a teen. Projects created: @CultureThemes @lovetheatreday @AskaCurator @MuseumSelfieDay @TeensInMuseums @52museums
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    September 8th, 2011mardixonCulture

    Anyone who has read my website knows how passionate I am about  Wolverhampton Art Gallery (see examples here and here) so having an opportunity to interview the curators was a real treat for me.  Wolverhampton has the second biggest pop collection outside of London but also embraces local and social history in addition to Georgian and Victorian art.  It’s a delicate balance to combine all of these under one roof but they have never disappointed.

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    September 4th, 2011mardixonCulture

    Bantock House was built in 1730’s for Bantock family who made their money as a canal and railway agent after moving to Wolverhampton from Scotland.  The house was left to Wolverhampton in 1938 but, as that was world time, it was used for the home guard until 1948.  It wasn’t until 1999 that this Grade II listed building took it’s current, and most impressive, stance as a social history museum.

    I was able to have a chat with three of curators:

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    September 1st, 2011mardixonCulture

    The Wolverhampton Archives falls under the umbrella of the Wolverhampton Arts Services.  Originally started in 1978 with the first archivist, Liz Reese. It’s original position, like many other city archives, were integrated with the library services before they moved to their own premises in 1996 in Snow Hill.  They stayed at Snow Hill until moving to their current, and hopefully permanent, location at the city’s historic Molineux Hotel in March 2009.  The building had remained derelict for many years, and was additionally destroyed by a fire in 2003. Luckily, Caroline Sampson, the archivist at the time, was very proactive.  She saw past the damage and recognized the value of the Grade II* listed building for being the perfect marriage of old with new (there was a new extension added).

    I was able to interview Heidi McIntosh, the City Archivist and Jon Everall, Conservator. However, it was very much a group interview with whoever could/would answer the question.  For example, my first question was actually answered by an Archives and Local Studies Assistant who was researching information behind a desk!  It clearly is a friendly, helpful atmosphere

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    August 29th, 2011mardixonCulture

    Anyone who knows me, knows my passion and love for the Natural History Museum.  Through the power of social media, I’ve been able to build my relationship with the internationally renowned museum.

    I had arranged to interview Ian as Charlotte and I were in London to attend our first proms together.  Ian was kind enough to make time with short notice.

    How long have you been Manager?
    Five years, but been at the museum for 14 years

    What is your biggest achievement?
    It may seem strange, but putting the accessibility toilets and baby changing facility in (located by Exhibition Road).  It was 2004 and the Disability was passed and although we met the guidelines, I wanted to do more.

    What is your proudest moment?
    The Launch of the Darwin Centre in September 2005.  Seeing all the different elements of Natural History Museum come together – visitor services, tours, presenting, etc.

    What is the vision for the future?
    Our focus for the next 2-3 years is to increase visitor focus within our organization.

    How many visitors did you have last year?
    4.2 million and another 120,000 that visiting Tring.

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    August 28th, 2011mardixonCulture

    Attingham Park is a National Trust located in Shropshire and was built for the 1st Lord Berwick in 1785.  I’ve been several time with my family and on school trips and am always amazed at their detail to care for kids of all ages.

    Ben and Charlotte in Front of House

    Attingham is more then just a house as it has a walled garden with activities such as water the plants available, a garden theme play area, in addition to a deer park, family trails, and delicious café.

    We were taken on a mini tour before the house was open.  The first item we were shown was the QR code by the clock tower as you aren’t allowed in the clock tower but could see what it was like when it was working.  Attingham Park is one of the first National trust sites utilizing this new technology.  There are QR codes throughout the house (although signal was a bit of an issue to load the pages, the QR reader was able to save the url for me to reference later).

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    August 22nd, 2011mardixonCulture, International

    From July 27th until August 1th, I ran a simple 8 question survey called Does Social Media work for Cultural Sector.  Why?  Because I was working on a blog post and Tweeted to find out if anyone could point me to any research that would prove, or disprove, whether Social media does indeed work within the Culture sector.  To my surprise, it seemed that this question hadn’t been posed and there certainly didn’t seem to be any research or analysis to answer my question.

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    August 20th, 2011mardixonCulture

    This summer, my family and I travelled to France to for our summer vacation.  Prior to leaving, I tweeted that I was going to Paris and would love to interview museum people.  Via the power of Twitter (and some great friends), I had arranged to not only interview, but also film curators for AskACurator.com.

    Over the course of the week, I was able to see a variety of museums, both to interview and some just to visit.  However, my social media radar was always active.  Prior to attending a museum, I would check to see if they had a Twitter/Facebook/ website.  Did they?  Most, but not all.

    This surprised me.

    France seems to be a country on the cusp of grasping the true value of social media.  Some museums, such as Musee de Cluny (@museecluny) and Musee des arts et metiers (@ArtetMetiers) are prime examples of museums that have empowered themselves via their social media usage.

    How did they do it?  By engaging with not just their target audience but everyone that gets in contact with them.

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    August 17th, 2011mardixonCulture

    If you never been to the Ikon Gallery, you’re missing a real treat.  The building itself is a piece of art that never fails to fascinate.  Originally built in 1878 for an infant school, it has had a few other responsibilities before its current (and hopefully permanent) position as home of the gallery.  The artist journey begins as you walk in and see this very prominent but non-busy sign:

    I met Director and Jonathan Watkins, a busy man who’s passion for Ikon was evident from the start along with Kate Self who is the essentially their Educational Officer (although it’s technically Ikon Youth Programme (IYP)).

    After explaining the many hats and angles this interview was going to take (blog, AskACurator.com, Kids in Museums), I quickly got into the questions as I knew time was precious for both.

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    August 10th, 2011mardixonCulture

    A few weeks ago, during one of my many Tweets about AskACurator one tweet led to another and I was soon making arrangements to go to Birmingham Art Gallery.  After another few emails and tweets, it was narrowed down to me meeting the Fine Art’s Curator Victoria Osborne.

    I was told that Victoria had a few questions ready for our meeting.  Upon meeting Victoria, she also explained that she had read my blog on the French AskACurator (herehere and here).  Victoria was clearly well prepared.  But unfortunately for her, she soon found out I don’t really work that way.

    We started with a few general questions which I was hoping led to the right Ask A Curator question – and I wasn’t disappointed.  My journey with these interviews has been fascinating as each one is different so no template can be used.

    Victoria has been at Birmingham Art Gallery for ten years. She is clearly very knowledgeable which was evident from our conversation.   We agreed the best approach for this interview would be for Victoria to speak for herself as role of Fine Arts Curator, and not representing all of BMAG as their collections are numerous and diverse.

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    August 8th, 2011mardixonCulture, International

    Musee Guimet and Musee d’Art Moderne

    Charlotte and Michael decided to have another trip up the Eiffel Tower which allowed me a morning to explore. I originally planned to head to Musee d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris but along the way, I managed to find this quaint, very French market.  There was something special about stumbling upon this very established market that made the event special. The market had very fresh food, along with traditional market-style items.

    While wondering through,I noticed this fabulous building on the corner that clearly looked like a museum, so I headed in.

     

    Please Click here for More

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