Art’s Colonial Legacy: ‘It Would Have Been Better Not to Have Needed Museums.’

Via The New York Times, 9 January 2024

Watch the film here.

The idea for this film began when a friend was planning an exhibition featuring Congolese artwork. She was considering including the documentary “Under the Black Mask” (1958), by the Belgian filmmaker Paul Haesaerts, but was unsure how to present the piece, which contains voice-over and images that stereotype and exoticize Congolese culture. How could we adequately contextualize a work by a filmmaker from Belgium created in the final years of that country’s decades-long, brutal colonial occupation of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Even if the original film were presented with commentary, such critique typically appears offscreen, only available to those who choose to or are able to seek it out. I suggested that we instead create a new film that would reframe the original imagery.

I began by selecting images from “Under the Black Mask” that gave me the feeling that the masks faced me directly, allowing them to momentarily escape Haesaerts’ frame. What would these images have said if they had a voice? We decided to replace the narration with excerpts from Aimé Césaire’s seminal work “Discourse on Colonialism,” which argued that colonization dehumanizes the colonizer and was published less than a decade before the original film was made. It was a text I had carried close to my heart for many years.

More here. 

Internship Information Session: Smithsonian Institution, January 9/11

Information Sessions on Internships: Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC/USA

January 9, 2023, 12:00 – 1:30 pm EST/11:00 am – 12:30 pm CST/9:00 am – 10:30 pm PST

January 11, 2023, 3:00 – 4:30 pm EST/2:00 – 3:30 pm CST/12:00 – 1:30 pm PST

Looking for an internship in 2024? We’re hiring interns to support the 2024 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, celebrating “Indigenous Voices of the Americas” and the 20th anniversary of Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian opening on the National Mall.

Our interns are involved in all aspects of Festival planning and production, including event organization, social media,  graphic design, foodways, curatorial research, accessibility, participant and volunteer coordination, video production, administration, and more! Internships are open to undergraduate, graduate, and upper-level high-school students, as well as non-students. For the 2024 program, individuals from Native and Indigenous communities are encouraged to apply.

If you’re interested in learning more about Smithsonian internships, register for one of our info sessions:

Email Contacts:

Internship Announcement: Collections Assistant Intern, Mackinac State Historic Parks, Mackinaw City, MI

Collections Assistant Intern

Department: Museum Programs
Location: Petersen Center, Mackinaw City
Start Date/End Date: early June through August
Pay Rate: $2,000 stipend upon successful completion of the internship; Free Housing

Accepting applications for the 2024 season.

Scope of Duties:
The intern position in Mackinaw City will be responsible for inventorying, cataloging and other general collections work. Duties may also include organization and cataloging of historic photograph or archival collections material and assisting in conservation treatments and research. Based on the individual’s interests and skills, the intern may also have opportunities to participate in costumed interpretation or visitor evaluation. May also have other duties as assigned.

Mackinac State Historic Parks (MSHP) will offer free housing in Mackinaw City to the selected individual in return for 32 hours per week of internship duties. Housing is dormitory-style with kitchen facilities available. We will also attempt to find a paid position within our organization for up to 15 hours per week to assist with spending money.

General Information:
The workstation for this position is the Petersen Center in Mackinaw City. The intern may be assigned duties at other MSHP sites on Mackinac Island and in Mackinaw City as park needs dictate. The work schedule may vary according to park needs and may include occasional weekend and evening work. Generally, this is a 32-hour per week internship working Monday through Thursday.

Position Requirements:
-Must be 18 years or older as of first date of internship.
-Must be pursuing or have graduated with a degree in History, Museum Studies, Library Science or related field.
-Education and experience in basic museum practices.
-Knowledge of collections management, policies and procedures.
-Knowledge of computers and good word processing skills.
-The successful candidate should have experience in museum inventorying, artifact handling, marking and cataloging.

Physical Requirements:
Stretching and bending are moves commonly made throughout the day by interns in this position. The intern must have the ability to do the following activities, with or without reasonable accommodation: frequent lifting, carrying, transporting, loading and unloading of up to 35 pounds, walking long distances and up steep inclines in all weather conditions, frequent twisting, bending, stooping, reaching and grasping, sitting and/or standing for long periods of time, and the ability to utilize ferry boat transportation to and from Mackinac Island. This position also requires the individual to walk over uneven terrain and up steep inclines.

Length of Internship:
Position interns for 12 weeks starting in early June through late August. The start and end dates of the internship may be adjusted if the applicant’s school schedule requires it. The individual must indicate on their employment application their dates of availability.

If you have specific questions regarding this position, please contact Brian Jaeschke, Curator of Collections, 231-436-4100, extension 107.

Due to the high volume of applications, only those applicants invited to interview will be contacted.

Application Information and Deadline:
Click here to fill out an application online.

More here. 

Internship Announcement: Anne Ray Internship, School for Advanced Research, Indian Arts Research Center , Santa Fe

Anne Ray Internship

The School for Advanced Research, Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) offers two nine-month internships (September 1–May 31) to individuals who are recent college graduates, current graduate students, or junior museum professionals interested in furthering their professional museum experience and enhancing their intellectual capacity for contributing to the expanding field and discourse of museum studies. The internships include a semi-monthly salary, free housing and utilities, a book allowance, the cost of one professional conference, and reimbursable travel to and from SAR. One internship is open to an Indigenous individual from the U.S. or Canada, and one internship is open to any U.S. or Canadian citizen meeting the application requirements.

Interns devote their time to working on IARC educational programming, research and writing activities, and collections management and registration. Other requirements include making one public presentation; attending a professional conference; assisting with IARC seminars, symposia, and collection tours; and working on outreach initiatives to local Native communities. Interns will also participate in interviews, photo sessions, video recordings, and exit interviews to document their experience.

For more information, please visit our online application portal or download the Anne Ray Internship ApplicationThe deadline to apply is March 1st.

More here. 

Internship Announcement: Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport, Maine, full-time education/interpretation intern, Summer 2024

Application review begins February 15, 2024

The Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport Maine seeks a full-time education/interpretation intern for summer 2024. This internship will provide hands-on work experience in the daily operations of a medium-sized museum, including activities in different departments and working as a member of the front line staff. This internship will include professional development field trips to other museums (inperson or online) and participation in an intern cohort.

Duties include but are not limited to the following:

• Participate in the intern cohort

o Assist with and lead programming

o Submit articles for enews

o Conduct evaluations with visitors

o Contribute posts and videos to social media

o Assist with projects in different museum departments

o Attend weekly intern meetings and intern field trips to other museums

o Complete an internship project related to the intern’s skills and interests and adapted to their education level

• Engage with visitors

o Welcome visitors and answer questions

o Learn written guided tours and lead scheduled guided tours

o Lead groups of children (scouts, field trips, etc.) through exhibits

o Assist or lead children’s crafts and programs

o Lead two week-long children’s day camps

• Contribute to a positive, safe, and tidy work environment

o Work as part of a team and staff buildings/give presentations solo

o Respond to security and/or safety concerns

o Perform minor housekeeping in exhibit buildings, including sweeping, vacuuming, and monitoring pests, as needed

• Additional duties may include

o Covering the gift shop, including selling admissions, gift shop sales, and answering the phone

o Conducting research

o Other duties as assigned

More here. 

Call for Proposals: Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums Conference 2024, Due February 15 2024

Deadline to submit Session Proposals is February 15, 2024. Proposals submitted after the deadline will be considered on a space available basis.

The ATALM Conferences fulfill the educational and networking needs of indigenous peoples from throughout the world. Known for delivering practical and culturally relevant training, the conferences provide a unique opportunity to share knowledge and build networks.

Program decisions will be announced by April 1, after which the Program Committee will work with presenters to finalize session descriptions and content. The preliminary program will be announced to the public by May 15.

More here.

How Zines Brought Power to Those on the Margins of Culture

Via Smithsonian Magazine, 5 December 2023

By Teresa Nowakowski

The history of zines—short for “fanzines” or magazines—stretches back to the 1930s, when authors produced short, usually self-made publications with mimeograph machines. Early zines were associated with science fiction fans, eventually expanding into categories like comic books and rock music.

Their popularity took off in the 1970s, when they were typically produced using copy machines. Since then, zines have connected members of various movements, becoming vital tools for artists and members of communities to express themselves and build connections.

Now, an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum is spotlighting the power of these publications. Titled “Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists Who Make Zines,” the show begins in the 1970s and continues to the present day.

“Part of the ethos of these fanzines is that they’re very open to reader feedback and participation,” says Branden Joseph, an art historian at Columbia University and one of the exhibition’s curators, to WNYC’s Alison Stewart. “They welcome correspondence. They welcome contributions. … They’re more open and collaborative with a community than your typical magazine, [which] has a gatekeeper function.”

More here. 

Portland Art Museum Disbands its Docent Program, Sparking Controversy

Via ArtNews, 6 October 2023

By Francesca Aton

The Portland Art Museum (PAM) is replacing its docents with paid learning guides from local colleges, reported local newspaper Willamette Week on Wednesday.

The news was announced to the 175 docents via email on August 22. With the subject line “Future Directions,” the museum explained it was ending its 40-year-old docent council structure to bring in paid learning guides recruited from local colleges. The decision was made with the help of a committee.

PAM’s pilot group includes four paid learning guides who started training last week and will give tours to students two days per week. The museum is recruiting from Portland Community College, Portland State University, and Lewis & Clark College.

Former docents, who previously lead museum tours and aided with continuing education, can be part of a new volunteer program where they can serve as educators, greeters, and coat-check helpers.

“The message is really clear that the services of a group of older, retired educators are no longer needed,” retired art teacher and former PAM docent Paulla Dacklin told Willamette Week.

The docent council, says PAM’s executive director and chief curator Brian Ferriso, is “evolving to meet the needs of the community.”

More here. 


Will Algorithms Replace Docents? A New Mobile App Uses A.I. to Generate Art Recommendations for Turin’s Museumgoers

Via Artnet News, 18 October 2023

By Jo Lawson-Tancred

A new app offering museum visitors a digitally enhanced experience with A.I.-generated recommendations has been launched in the Italian city of Turin. I-MUSE aims to house a mix of partner museums in one virtual space so that when a user shows an interest in one object, they are offered suggestions about similar objects or exhibition at other institutions. The app’s aim is to engage new audiences and boost footfall at museums.

The recommendations made by the A.I. could depend on various characteristics such as style, period, movement, or subject. For example, if a user is particularly interested in Renoir’s La Baigneuse Blonde (1882) at the Pinacoteca Agnelli, the app might suggest they go see Portrait of a Lady (1889) by Giovanni Boldini, which is at the Galeria d’Arte Moderna (GAM) collections, a 20-minute drive across the city.

“The point is to give visitors extra information that might not be easy to find otherwise,” said Giovanni Mastrobuoni, one of the principal investigators responsible for the project. “Individual museums don’t have an interest in sharing what else individuals might like that is not based in their own building. So the novelty is that we generate these positive spillovers towards other museums.”

More here. 

Position Announcement: Faculty Fellow in Museum Studies, New York University Arts and Science, Program in Museum Studies

Faculty Fellow in Museum Studies
Program in Museum Studies
New York University Arts and Science

The Program in Museum Studies, an interdisciplinary program of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University, invites applications for a Faculty Fellow. The initial appointment will be for one year beginning September 1, 2024, with the expectation of annual renewal for up to one additional year, pending administrative and budgetary approval and satisfactory performance. We seek strong scholars whose research interests engage the history and theory of museums with a specialization in decolonial theory in museums and/or heritage and cultural property.

Faculty Fellow:
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, teaching three Museum Studies courses a year, coordination of thesis work, advising master’s theses, and actively participating in the life of a dynamic program. Teaching experience in higher education is required, and at least one (1) year of professional museum experience is highly desirable. A minimum of an MA degree is required; a Ph.D. must have been completed within five years prior to the start date of appointment.

Review of applications will begin on January 15, 2024 and continue until the search is complete.

NYU Program in Museum Studies
The NYU Program in Museum Studies has been training museum professionals for more than four decades. Courses are offered by outstanding interdisciplinary scholars and museum professionals. Located in New York, a global cultural hub, students gain unparalleled preparation for careers in the field. Our alumni work in fine art, history, anthropology, technology, and natural history museums; in arboretums, national parks, and science centers; and in government agencies, historical societies, and more. Core classes are designed for students to understand the historical and theoretical implications of current museum practice, development and management of collections and exhibitions, and a comprehensive account of the administrative, strategic, and financial aspects of museum management. In addition to our core courses, students choose from a wide range of electives that further and deepen their understanding of museum practice and engagement. The program attracts a diverse student body, including students from all over the world. Inclusive classroom experiences are essential for our teaching.

To apply, submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, three letters of reference, descriptions of three Museum Studies courses you would like to teach, and a 1-2 page statement outlining how diversity, equity, access, and inclusion have moved from theory into practice and action in your past and present teaching, research, and lived experience. Submit your completed application at

More information about the department can be found at

Arts & Science at NYU is at the heart of a leading research university that spans the globe. We seek scholars of the highest caliber, who embody the diversity of the United States as well as the global society in which we live. NYU affirms the value of differing perspectives on the world as we strive to build the strongest possible university with the widest reach. To learn more about the FAS commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion, please read

In compliance with NYC’s Pay Transparency Act, the annual base salary range for this position is $60,000. New York University considers factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the candidate’s work experience, education/training, key skills, internal peer equity, as well as market and organizational considerations when extending an offer.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement
For people in the EU, click here for information on your privacy rights under GDPR:

NYU is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to a policy of equal treatment and opportunity in every aspect of its recruitment and hiring process without regard to age, alienage, caregiver status, childbirth, citizenship status, color, creed, disability, domestic violence victim status, ethnicity, familial status, gender and/or gender identity or expression, marital status, military status, national origin, parental status, partnership status, predisposing genetic characteristics, pregnancy, race, religion, reproductive health decision making, sex, sexual orientation, unemployment status, veteran status, or any other legally protected basis. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of minority sexual orientation or gender identity, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply for vacant positions at all levels.

More here.