Posted March 10, 2016
If you have been into the Ohio History Center lately, you have probably noticed a few changes. With the opening of Gallery One and Gallery Two, our Great Collections Experiment is underway and every day we are discovering more about what our visitors want to learn and how they want to get the information. If you haven’t visited recently, Gallery One focuses on domestic life while Gallery Two focuses on decorative arts. We hope you will come in to explore and be a part of the experiment!
As the Manager of Museum Interpretation, part of my job is figuring out what people want to do in these new galleries, particularly Gallery Two. On a typical weekend our staff hosts around 8-10 programs, ranging from Curator Talks and Staff Picks to Collections Connections and Exhibit Tours. One of things that set Gallery Two apart from our more traditional exhibits is a lack of labels. In order to bridge the gap between museum-goers and the objects in the gallery we started a program called Curator on Call. This program has been taking place almost every Saturday in Gallery Two between the hours of 11a.m.-1p.m., and will continue for at least the next few months. It puts a knowledgeable staff member in the gallery to answer any questions visitors have about the objects, as well as provides access to our collections catalog. This program is not only helping visitors learn, but it’s also helping us learn too!
The information we are learning from Curator on Call is helping us put together self-guided cards that will take visitors through each section Gallery Two and share basic information about some of the objects, as well as how they might have functioned for the people that used them. Visitors can look forward to seeing these in Gallery Two in the coming months. We are also trying programs that focus on showing visitors the type of thinking used by our staff. Programs like Object Reading 101 were introduced to show the public that you can read objects just like you can read a book. We are looking at specific pieces in the gallery and talking about how style, materials, or signs of use can help us learn a great deal about any given object in our collection.
Along with this, we are also bringing our current lineup of programs into these new spaces, so you can look forward on Staff Picks and Curator Talks focused on the many aspects decorative arts. We are so proud of these new spaces and hope that you will continue to engage with our programs and help us learn more about how our collections can best serve our visitors.
I hope you will stop in soon to the Ohio History Center!
– Katie Poole, Manager of Museum Interpretation