COLUMNS

Column Descriptions

 

A MUSE BOUCHE (est. May 2016)

Past writer: Erika Robertson
In order to conserve their collections, most museum galleries begin with a sign prohibiting food or drink. For most of the history of museums, food and collections have been at odds. While museums tend to collect objects to tell enduring stories, food is so temporary and common it can be overlooked. However, the emerging field of food studies is making inroads into museum studies and once you start seeing through food-oriented lenses, the evidence is everywhere. This column will explore the surprising intersections of food and museums through cafes, exhibitions, and artifacts.

AFRICAN CANADIAN HISTORY (est. February 2014)

Curent writer: Kendra Campbell
Past writers: Annissa Malvoisin, Blair Newby, Jaime Clifton-Ross
Traditionally, the African Canadian History column has largely focused on museums, events and individuals in early Canadian history. However, it lacked the important aspect of history as constantly ongoing - making contemporary museums, events and individuals a remarkable part of Canadian history. This column's refreshed focus emphasizes these instances by remaining relevant while addressing historical Black stories in Canada, and how the editor muses upon its relation to current museums, arts and culture.

ALUMNI CHECK-IN (est. October 2016)

Past writer: Kate Seally
As the title suggests, this column will be checking in with MMSt alumni to see where they are today. Musings' contributors will be speaking to alumni from the beginning of the program all the way up to as recently as last year. Since the program's alumni are spread across North America and the world, this column will also help to reconnect distant alumni to the Faculty of Information and current MMSt students. Alumni Check-In will feature interviews with MMSt graduates, "where are they now?" segments, and information for current students about post-grad career options.

COLLECTIONS CORNER (est. May 2015)

Current writer: Katie Paolozza
Past writers: Natania ShermanJennifer Maxwell
At the heart of any great museum, library, or archive is its collection. Musings’ Collections Corner column explores the many unique and diverse collections in cultural institutions around the world, while delving into the significance of objects and their stories. This column covers a wide range of topics and themes, including the stories our collections tell, debates over historical artefacts, and how our collections are kept safe. As well, Collections Corner introduces readers to the adventurous and sometimes chaotic world of collections management.

CONSERVATION TIPS AND TRICKS (est. September 2014)

Current writer: Kristen McLaughlin
Past writer: Madeline Smolarz, Nikita Johnston
Conservation Tips & Tricks explores the world of collections conservation, from examining individual object treatments, to the potential challenges of specific collections, to useful resources, tools, and everyday best practices. Combining case studies with insider tricks and insights, Tips & Tricks draws on examples and cases from a range of institutions. The column aims to showcase the exciting and often challenging nature of museum conservation.

EXHIBITION REVIEWS (est. February 2014)

Current writers: Sadie MacDonald, Tabitha Chan
Past writers: Stephanie Read, Mallory Horrill, Meaghan Dalby, Katie Wilson, Brittney Sproule, Madeline Smolarz
Exhibition Reviews wants you to put on your museum hat, get out to a museum near you, and see some excellent exhibitions! This column offers reviews of various carefully-selected exhibitions to get readers to think critically about what they are looking at when they enter a museum. The reviews raise questions about upcoming, current, or past exhibitions of particular note-worthiness to the writer and museum professionals more broadly. Exhibition Reviews include looking at the ways in which knowledge / stories are presented to the public, focusing on the facets of museology and display that together help shape exhibitions that are truly worth visiting. In the past, museum exhibitions across Ontario and elsewhere in the world (ex. London, England) have been selected for review, and reviews often take different shapes and forms in order to both educate and entertain.

(FUN)DRAISING (est. September 2016)

Past writer: Maya Donkers
As EMPs, we are becoming increasingly aware that one of the greatest challenges museums face today is fundraising. This column is intended to bring to your attention the multi-faceted and innovative efforts the sector is making to meet needs, make budget, and (hopefully) create fun programming and events!

GHOSTS OF TORONTO'S PAST (est. June 2017) 

Current Writer: Katie Paolozza
This column explores the evolution of Toronto by taking a look at parts of the city that have disappeared or evolved significantly over time. Drawing upon archival material, we investigate landmarks, neighbourhoods, historic buildings, and major cultural events of the past by comparing them to their contemporary counterparts. Our goal is to deconstruct the bittersweet notion of progress by acknowledging what has been lost to the ages. By questioning the process of urban change and its inevitability, we hope to gain further insight into our great city's complex history and understand how the ghosts of the past can still impact the future.

GREATEST HITS (est. September 2015)

Current writer: Katie Paolozza
Past writer: Hayley Mae Jones
Greatest Hits dives into Musings' archive in order to revisit and revitalize past blog posts to show their continued relevance for readers. As the most recent addition to Musings, this column provides fresh perspectives on previously published writings and encourages readers to have new discussions about old posts, so make sure to leave a comment! Posts under the Greatest Hits column are released once a month, and past posts must be at least 8 months old to be considered for this particular column's content. 
 

HERITAGE MOMENTS (est. May 2016)

Current writer: Connor Kurtz
Past writer: Jocelyn Kent
Though heritage may be the legacy of past cultures, places and landscapes, it is very much alive. It shapes how we understand who we are and prompts celebration and contestation. Bringing together ideas from a broad scope of disciplines – including art, architecture, archaeology, history, anthropology, geography, and urban planning – Heritage Moments considers how traces of the past are used today and preserved for tomorrow.

HISTORIC KITCHEN (est. May 2015)

Past writer: Leah Moncada
Please note that out of respect for Leah, Musings has retired the Historic Kitchen column. For more Historic Kitchen please check out Leah's website,  for all your historic cooking needs. Musings will, however, continue to publish articles about food and museums. You can find more food and museum related content in a new column called A Muse Bouche.)
Historic Kitchen explores historic times through the recipes, cookbooks, voices (such as Jane's in the above quote!), ingredients, cuisines, and flavours of peoples from the past. Join our historic chef while she bumbles about the kitchen! Follow along as she makes concoctions both familiar and sometimes those almost lost to time. Each post recreates a few recipes, using them as launching pads into interesting historical tidbits. Funny, insightful, and sometimes delicious, Historic Kitchen is a new lens into your favourite historic periods!

Previous Seasons:
Summer 2015: Ancient Greece and Rome
Fall 2015: Medieval and Renaissance Europe
Winter 2016: Canada 18th-20th centuries

INTERNSHIP CHECK-IN (est. June 2014)

Current writer: Tabitha Chan
Past writers: Maya Donkers, Madeleine Adamson, Meaghan Dalby, Brittney Sproule
Please note that this column is reserved for the summer months when MMSt internships occur.
Master of Museum Studies (MMSt) students have the option to complete an internship in the summer between their first and second years of study in the program. The first portion of their experience is spent in the classroom learning about how to make the most of their internship, and the second is spent in a host institution for at least three months over the summer (May – August). The internship is an incredibly exciting opportunity for students to explore an area they are interested in pursuing career-wise in the museum field. Past experiences have taken interns all over Canada and the world to various institutions: New York and London, England are two recent locations our students have enjoyed! Our Internship Check-In column highlights perspectives from interns while they are on the job to promote a culture of knowledge-sharing and peer support during the summer for MMSt students.

MUSEUM INNOVATIONS (est. May 2014)

Current writer: Hannah MonkmanCassy Kist
Past writers: Kelly MacKenzieJaime Clifton-Ross, Jenny Ford
The museum world is ever-changing. From new technology to social issues, museums must be nimble in their cultural milieu. But what does it actually mean to be an innovative museum? Musings’ Museum Innovations column explores institutional practices and initiatives that are making waves, taking readers to collections storerooms, cutting-edge exhibitions, city streets, and even cyberspace. Using case studies and examining broader emerging trends, the column has its finger of the pulse of what’s happening in the museum world - and the issues you need to watch out for.

MUSEUM MONDAYS (est. January 2014)

Current writers: Maeghan Jerry, Kara Isozaki
Past writers: Emma HoffmanMadeline Smolarz, Alexandra Jeffrey, Cady McLaughlin, Brittney Sproule, Maya Donkers
There is no better start to the week than reading about the many curiosities of museums. Writing about galleries, science centres, public art events, speaker series, and everything else related to the arts, culture, or heritage sectors is what makes the Museum Mondays blog unique. Nearly anything, anywhere can be related back to a museum. The key is to find the connection that allows readers to explore, question, and understand, the endless number of relationships that create the museum, as we know it.

MUSEUM MYSTERIES (est. September 2014)

Current writer: Serena Ypelaar
Past writer: Christopher WaiMadeline Smolarz
Museums learn about and share stories of all kinds relating to the world around us, but they aren't always clear. Questions come up all the time, whether they are from academics, descendant communities or curious members of the public. Sometimes there is no frame of reference, other times, there is a partial picture preserved and yet other times heritage is lost, stolen, or even destroyed. In many cases, there are things that are simply overlooked completely in a blind spot away from our preconceived expectations. This column tries to present, record and encourage questions about the mysteries we might find relating to museums so that we can try to see the stories of objects, peoples and/or places differently.

MUSINGS ABROAD (est. September 2016)

Current Writer: Kristen McLaughlin
Past writer: Stephanie Read
What is happening in museums across the globe? This column presents topics regarding international museums and cultural institutions as experienced and/or researched by Museum Studies students. Posts will explore themes such as programming and exhibitions, design, interpretation and technology, safety and conservation issues, accessibility, and the visitor experience. Readers will be able to gain more knowledge of museum offerings abroad as they relate to current museological issues.

OBJECT OF THE WEEK (est. January 2014)

Current writers: Eleanor Howell
Past writer: Hayley Mae JonesKatherine Hannemann, Rowena McGowan, Natania Sherman
What would museums be without objects? Musings Contributing Editors explore the origins and significance of a different object or group of related objects through this column. Museum objects can be defined quite broadly, from pieces of art, digital media, plants, and even buildings! Past objects have included a designer's family home, a speculative dinosauroid, taxidermy tableaux... even a 3D-printed gun.

RESEARCH COLUMN (est. May 2014)

Current Writer: Jennifer Lee
Past writers: Janine Zylstra, Robin Nelson, Emily Meikle
The Research Column is a space to try out new ideas and showcase the range of work being done by students in the University of Toronto’s Master of Museum Studies program. Posts in this column include updates on thesis projects and adaptations of independent research; less formal posts about the process of conducting research; and more recently, iSchool students' analysis of museological theory. The Research Column welcomes proposals from any and all inquiring minds within the program. To submit a proposal or to learn more about writing for the column, click on the "CONTACT" tab at the top of the page and send us an email!

SEW WHAT (est. September 2014)

Current writer: Jessica Svenningson
Past writer: Brenna PladsenAnya Baker
Sew What explores how fashion and textile history intersect with the museum world. Our lives are saturated in this history; we consume it through the lens of film and television, the stage, historic and contemporary art, lavish accounts and depictions of historical and contemporary dress, and of course, museum collections and interpretive materials.

SHE'S MY MUSE (est. October 2016)

Past writer: Natania Sherman
This column is dedicated to women in museums. Women, defined in the most inclusive sense of the word (womyn, transwomen, women of colour, women in the LGBTQ2A community), have always figured in museums as subjects, employees, volunteers, curators, and founders. This Column will celebrate the amazing stories of women in museums. So read on and let us introduce our museum muses.

 

TECHNOLOGY TUESDAYS (est. October 2014)

Past writers: Orvis Starkweather, Jenny Ford, Madeline Smolarz, Stephanie Read, Natania Sherman
Technology Tuesdays explores interesting and innovative approaches museums are leveraging to engage their audiences. What is technology? We have adopted a broad approach, defining technology as anything invented by humans to make tasks easier. Most of the blog entries examine digital initiatives, with a focus on web and mobile platforms. The column is an opportunity to learn from projects developed for museums and try out the technology for ourselves.

THE GRAD SCHOOL GUIDE (est. May 2015)

Current writer: Aurora Cacioppo
Past writer: Emma Hoffman, Jenny Ford
Please note that this column only appears during the summer months with prospective MMSt students in mind.
This popular summer column targets incoming first year MMSt students, or anyone interested in pursuing graduate studies in the museum field for that matter! Think of it as a tips column for new grad students. Writers give insights into the world of grad school – sometimes with special reference to the MMSt program and the University of Toronto – by dispelling many of the myths and concerns people may have in mind when thinking about graduate studies and giving valuable advice for navigating some of the trickier parts of entering museum studies. Since this column is reserved for the summer months (May – September), the writers who produce it are former first year students transitioning into their second year of study, so they have plenty of experience to draw upon and share to help interested readers.

THROWBACK THURSDAY (est. October 2014)

Current writers: Serena Ypelaar, Jessica Svenningson
Past writers: Mallory Horrill, Jaime Clifton-RossJocelyn Kent, Kate Seally
This column is all about reminiscing and recalling the past, and often the past as it connects to museums. Writers strive to introduce their readers to new ideas, hidden histories, or entertaining historical nuggets. Since “the past” can be as recent as last week, the options for topics that this column can explore are endless! Columns containing listicles, unknown facts about history, and new takes on well-known events are par for the course.

TORONTO STORIES (AND THEIR OBJECTS) (est. September 2016)

The series of digital stories about Toronto history and culture which make up this project are the work of fifty-three Master of Museum Studies (MMSt) graduate students. The project was inspired by the 2015 Myseum Intersections – Telling Toronto’s Stories and invited each storyteller to select an object from local collections which has significance to Toronto’s past and present. The objects inspired the authors to connect historical events with contemporary context so that they tell stories about the multiple intersections that happen in the city.

Each object was meticulously observed and researched, through multiple visits to the museum or archive, some detective work, and great enthusiasm. Of course, each object can tell multiple stories, so the storyteller’s challenge was to find the one that can resonate best with contemporary Torontonians, from Kensington Market to Scarborough, the Beaches to Etobicoke and beyond.

We hope that, after reading the stories, you will know Toronto a little bit better. And perhaps you will find similar stories in your own objects!

Our partners for this project, to which we are extremely thankful, are:

Archeological and Cultural Heritage Services

Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives

John M. Kelly Library, St. Mike’s College, University of Toronto

Lambton House

Myseum of Toronto

Ontario Jewish Archives

Private Collection of Russian Artefacts

Scarborough Archives

Scarborough Museum

The Multicultural Historical Society of Ontario

The Real Canadian Portuguese Museum

Toronto Botanical Garden

Toronto District School Board Archives

WALK OF FAME (est. January 2014)

Current writer: Julia Zungri
Past writers: Madeline Smolarz, Kathryn Methot, Mallory Horrill, Jaime Clifton-RossAmanda Barbosa
The Walk of Fame column looks at individuals (but is not limited to just human beings) that have anything to do with museums, galleries, or heritage sites. Whoever is spotlighted might have worked at a museum, been an important political leader that was recently featured in an exhibition, a famous artist, or a former owner of a house-now-turned into a historic site... the list goes on. The column looks at their biography, their significance, and any other important or interesting facts.

WEEKEND EDITION (est. January 2015)

Past writers: Anya Baker, Madeline Smolarz, Leah Moncada, Jaime Clifton-Ross, Natania Sherman
Please note that this is an infrequent column that is not included in Musings' regular schedule.
We’ll be honest… Weekend Edition is reserved for when something doesn’t fit into the weekly Monday – Friday content schedule or anywhere else. However, this columns presents a unique chance for non-contributors to be featured (please click “CONTACT” at the top of this page if you would like to send us an email about that) as well as provide extra bonus content for readers to enjoy over the weekend.

WHAT'S HAPPENING WEDNESDAYS (est. January 2014)

Current writers: Kelly ManikothEmily Welsh
Past writers: Kate SeallyJennifer Maxwell, Cameron Crawley, Lauren Williams, Jaime Clifton-Ross, Natania Sherman
Contributing editors who compile the What's Happening Wednesday column collect a variety of events of interest to prospective, current, and former students of the MMSt program. Toronto has so many educational and entertaining activities on every week that it is a challenge to just choose a handful! The offerings included in the column vary based on the time of year and the columnist but are always sure to provide every reader with a well-rounded list of museum-related events in the Greater Toronto Area.


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