@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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    December 8th, 2013mardixonCulture, International

    Back in October (I think), David Mentiply mentioned he was organizing a Museum Marathon to raise funds for Guide Dogs. I can’t remember exactly how the conversation went but soon after, I booked my tickets for December 7th to take part.

    Yesterday, I woke up at 5 am to catch the early train to London full of energy.  Ok perhaps not quite that much energy but I was definitely excited.   After dropping bags off to Lovely Laura (who I can’t thank enough for meeting me), I rushed to our meeting point:  V&A.

    When I arrived (slightly late), they were just doing a group photo.  I was handed a Guide Dog mask and told to smile.

    vanda

    The day was pretty much going to continue on like that – I was surrounded by people who were prepared with paperwork and maps – scary stuff! My role as a follower was clearly labelled (and I was quite content in this role!).  I was also going to try and Tweet as much as possible to share (and hopefully guilt a few into sending a donation!).

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    August 27th, 2013mardixonCulture, International

    askacuratorUPDATE: CHANGED TITLE TO REFLECT 2014 DATE SEPTEMBER 17th

     

    What time is it?  It’s #AskaCurator time!  Yes, September is more than Back to School time – it’s Ask a Curator Time!

    When is Ask a Curator?

    It’s an all day event on September 18th 

    What is Ask a Curator?

    It’s a way to talk to curators and people who work in cultural venues you normally don’t have access to.  #Askacurator is open to everyone: Museums, galleries, National Trust, Theatres, and more. You can ask anything that you’re curious about or want more information on. 

    • What’s it’ like to be a curator?
    • How do you decide what to display?
    • What is the most unique object in your collection?

    As some curators won’t know *all* the answers straight away, it might be they have to get back to you if it is a specific question about the museum/gallery.  However, if it is a general question, you might find another museum’s curator could answer it.

    How to get involved?

    Use the hashtag #AskaCurator on Twitter.  You can ask questions to specific museums using the @MUSEUMNAME or you can ask general questions using #AskaCurator.

    Museums/Galleries 

    Please fill out this simple form which will export your information to a spreadsheet to share.   On the day you can schedule the time you are going to be there or you can dip in and out and answer questions when you get them.  Others also decide to spend the day asking questions not just to their Museum but the general questions that are asked (last year, Bears in Museums asked who had Bears in Museums…. it was one of the top questions!)

    In other words, curators spend as much or as little time as they want.

    It’s also a good idea to let your followers know you’re taking part.  Some curators will write a blog or tweet they are taking part in #askacurator.

    Audience/Visitors

    Just come to twitter on the day and ask the questions.  What I like to do is keep an eye on the countries and museums taking part and find a few unique ones that I want to know more about.  You can set yourself a goal of asking a question to every country even!

    Who can get involved?

    EVERYONE!  You just need to sign up for Twitter account if you haven’t yet.  Curators can answer questions to other museums and/or general questions (how to questions, etc).  Everyone is allowed to interrupt – this is Twitter after all! 🙂

    Where

    Go to Twitter and search for #AskACurator

    I find using Tweetdeck or HootSuite makes following the conversation easier.

    Hope this write up helps with some of the questions about what Ask A Curator is.  If you still have questions please ask away or you can tweet using the tag 🙂

    Why should you take part? 

    Many museums and art galleries who took part back in 2010 will testify to the great platform it gave them and large exposure that they would not have been able to achieve without #AskACurator.  This is true for both large and smaller venues.

     

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    March 24th, 2013mardixonCulture

    FashionI recently attended the preview of V&A’s extremely popular David Bowie Is exhibition.  I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of David Bowie. The one minor link is his work with Jim Henson on Labyrinth and I like the song Under Pressure.  Other than that, he was just a character with a cult following I never really grasp.

    Until now.

    Top tip:  Take the Headphones! 

    After your ticket is checked, you are offered a headset.  Take it!  This is not your normal audio guide with punching in numbers.  The V&A digital team has used RFID technology throughout the exhibition to automatically launch the appropriate information, song, interviews, etc depending on where you are in the gallery.  This was brilliant as it meant I didn’t have to go up to the display and locate the audio guide symbol and number, nor did I have to punch the number in.  This raised the exhibition to a different level for me as I found myself staying longer in areas to finish listening to what was being shared.

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    November 19th, 2012mardixonCulture

    Last week, I attended a workshophosted by RNIB called ‘Opening Up Creative Culture’.  This one-off free workshop at Ironbridge Museums asked for volunteers to be train to create audio descriptive tours for arts and cultures. While the course name presumes all candidates would work at a museum, that wasn’t true.  It was refreshing to find several candidates were Teaching Assistant, others were audio guide speakers and others were people who were visibly impaired.  All felt privileged to be there (and yes, there was a waiting list).

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    October 23rd, 2012mardixonCulture, International

    Day 3 – the day when all teams shared their projects with *insert dreaded music here*  The Public. In other words, it was a day of total concentration on projects.

    For my part, it was a hard day to try and capture in tweets or for this post so instead I went and made audio boos to capture the spirit of the teams, visitors and and support team involved in MuseoMix.

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    October 21st, 2012mardixonCulture, International
    Day two started at 8.30 with many have been here since doors opened at 8.  A slow start was not an option – creative juices were already flowing and needing the outlet that the good night’s rest clearly instigated.The morning (and majority of the day) saw all the times transforming their presentations with Playmobil into realistic objects. In other words, this is when things got serious.Throughout the day teams went from conceptual and theory to tangible and workable.  Not every project pushed boundaries, and that was ok!  What I liked is some teams knew when less was more – a value we often forget in today’s fast pace, hyper-technological world.  Could some teams reached higher?  Possibly but they are dealing with time constraints – another factor that is known but not appreciated until day 2.There are 10 teams, each working with a mixture of diverse personality and knowledge.  Day One was all about collaboration and agreeing on a project.  This included coming to a decision on which of the 10 issues identified by the museum and museomixers to choose from. Cross-over is allowed, in other words, 2 teams can work on the same project. Read the rest of this entry »
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    September 1st, 2012mardixonCulture, International

    askacuratorWhat time is it?  It’s #AskaCurator time!  Yes, September brings kids going back to school,

    When is Ask a Curator?

    It’s an all day event on September 18th

    What is Ask a Curator?

    It’s a way to talk to curators and people who work in cultural venues you normally don’t have access to.  You can ask anything that you’re curious about or want more information on.  Read the rest of this entry »

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    May 22nd, 2012mardixonCulture, International

    I first heard of Guide Me Tours when I met up for a bit of Museum Hopping (as you do) with Clare from Intermezzo Arts. She explained how it was a win/win situation as museums didn’t pay a thing but turned a profit.

    Pardon?  Nothing is free without an asterisk.

    But it’s truly a genuine business model that provides a free app to museums, galleries … any cultural venue and turns it into profit.  While I had the day with Clare and had the opportunity to ask question after question (looking for the asterisk and loophole), I felt a Guest Blog for her to explain it would be best.

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    February 26th, 2012mardixonCulture, International

    ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’.

    Good rapport with customers.

    It may be an overused cliché, but it is still so vital in any customer or consumer led business. When we consider Museums or cultural venues we now collaterally see them as customer led, gone are the days when we could rely on prestigious or academic clout to ensure our security, we now need foot flow and we need to make sure that those visitors are stimulated during their visit and most importantly made to feel welcome and valued. Our visitors are our customers and the better they feel; the longer they will stay, the more money they will spend and the more recommendations of us they will give once they leave. Yet no matter how interactive our exhibitions, how informative our displays or innovative our approach we have to realise that very often we are judged on something far more human – our front of house staff.

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    February 20th, 2012mardixonCulture, International

    I would like to thank Mar Dixon for giving me a chance to write about Russian museums in her blog. It is an honour for me. I appreciate and with interest read about what Mar does and write with regards to museums and libraries.

    I came to London from Russia 5 years ago to work as a software tester. Here while visiting many various museums, libraries, castles, parks, and towns, I became interested in culture, more than I had been before. At some point I came to an idea to help museum workers from my country to communicate with their international colleagues. In this blog, I will try to share with you some bits of knowledge about Russian museums.

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