A foggy day dawned Monday as Jane Weinke, curator of collections, and I whisked eastward in her red Jeep toward Oshkosh for the Wisconsin Federation of Museums annual meeting.
Amid huge, suspended airplanes in the galleries of the EAA AirVenture Museum, I hoped the sessions might afford me a similar bird’s-eye overview of the museums in Wisconsin. The professionals who gathered represented museums featuring art, history, glass, natural history, mining, veterans, botanical gardens, cars, ships, and even pharmaceuticals.
A key to developing creative exhibitions, said speaker Erich Zuern, producer with Xibitz, is to remember that “objects in a museum are essential, but stories bring it home.” That message resonates with me, a former journalist, who’s made a career of telling stories.
Does offering a descriptive label or audio-tour recording about an artwork limit the viewer’s opportunity to experience it for himself or herself, unsullied by the thoughts and opinions of others?
Well, I just know that for a visual arts institution, we use a lot of words around here. Press releases, brochures, events calendars, preview reception invitations, newspaper columns, grant proposals, blogs, Facebook and Twitter posts, labels, and audio tours. We’re sharing our excitement about what’s here, in the fervent desire that visitors walk through the door to experience it for themselves.
With words and images, we’re trying to cut through the fog of information overload and shine a spotlight on the Woodson Art Museum’s ever-changing, dynamic, and enriching artwork, events, and programs. And we’re working hard to learn more so that we spend time and money wisely to do so.
These times demand that we maximize our efforts – and dollars – as we spread the word through printed materials, digital technology, local newspapers, radio, TV, regional and national magazines, our website and blog, and a variety of social media platforms.
Simply put . . . great stuff awaits. Come see for yourself!