Monthly Archives: February 2011

A longer hiatus than expected

You can’t fail a museum. —Frank Oppenheimer

Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes life REALLY gets in the way.

It’s been almost a year since my last post. In that time, I’ve run a half-marathon, gone to my first AAM conference, finished grad school, worked 6 different jobs at 5 different institutions, and have finally settled in for the next seven months as a law enforcement/judges educator and online outreach project coordinator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where I get to save the world every single day.

I work here!

USHMM, Washington, DC. Image credit North Carolina Council on the Holocaust.

In the last year, I’ve done a lot of thinking about museums as part of my job-searching soul-searching. What is it that fascinates me so much about them? My relationship with museums has changed as I’ve left grad school and gone on to work as an evaluator, educator, researcher, marketer, and camp counselor in a very short period of time, as I’ve seen institutions hungering to be more than they are right now, to reach out and have visitors come who are just as passionate as the staff about what the institution has to offer.  I think it’s just made me fall more deeply in love with the idea of the museum as a place that brings people together, that allows us to explore our collective humanity and challenge our misconceptions about history, about ourselves, and about each other.

My relationship with museums has also changed as I spend more time downtown: the boy’s brother stored his suitcase at the Freer during the Rally to Restore Sanity, I popped into American History for a long drink of water during a training run around the mall, my family met up outside the National Gallery to take pictures after I graduated from GW. Museums are not just a part of my intellectual and professional life, they’re a part of my everyday.

As a working girl, I’ve found myself having less and less time to visit museums other than my own. I want to change that. I miss the inspiration for my own work and stimulation of my curiosity about things other than European history and the American justice system (much as I adore my job and the fact that I do get to study these things every day–and get paid to do it!), and most of all I miss talking to other people about museums. I miss not being the only one in a room whose eyes sparkle when talking about a new exhibit or a previously undiscovered piece of an old favorite, who talks too fast and with her hands because the excitement is just that hard to contain.

To that end, welcome to the Museums 365 reboot. We’ll be starting where we left off and trying again to see all of DC’s museums between now and next Valentine’s Day. I can’t wait.

Laura DiSciullo

The wonderful museum-and-animal-loving Laura!

Please also welcome the wonderful Laura DiSciullo, a grad school classmate of mine, who blogs at Informed Humane. She’ll be adding her thoughts and views on her museum visits, and somewhere between the two of us we’ll see all those museums in the next 365 days.

Now soliciting suggestions for the next first museum visit!