Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Research

I have a presentation that I've done a couple of times that exams low-cost technology that can be used for museum applications. At the moment I'm spending some time looking at some new apps to add to the list.

On the list are two video editing programs and two photo editing programs.

What I'm most excited about is a simple little app called Readability. It's a bookmarklet that let's you decide how you want to view a webpage in order to read it (and print it if you like). When I demoed the Firefox plugin Nuke Anything, there was much rejoicing. User could delete annoying flashing ads and happily print their content without the ads wasting toner. But you had to do it one ad at a time.

Now some of you might be thinking who worries about wasting toner. But when you are in the non-profit world, especially during a recession, you are always looking for a way to eke out every penny's worth.

Well Readability is ten times better. It gets rid of everything at once and you get to decide the final format of the content you are trying to read. You get to pick the font, margin, and style. It's still in the experimental stage but the makers have made it so it works with most major browsers. They say it isn't 100% effective all of the time so they are looking for issue reports and comments, but it has worked every time for me. I'm in Heaven because reading on the Internet has just become so much easier.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Museums in Mourning

The museum world is in mourning.

Today a man walk through the doors of the US Holocaust Museum in Washington DC and shot a guard. Guards had to return fire for the safety of the visitors at the museum, including a group of 165 eighth graders there on a field trip.

The guard, Stephen T. Johns, subsequently died at the hospital. The Holocaust Museum will be closed tomorrow and flags will be flown at half mast in his honor.

I've been to DC twice and of course my favorite place is the mall. So many fabulous museums in such close proximity. My most recent trip to DC was last August. It was a wonderful trip and the first time my husband had been. On our last day in DC we stopped to get frozen lemonades after we had finally been asked to leave the Natural History Museum because it was closing time.

It was such a lovely evening to be sitting on a bench at the Mall watching the sun set after a hot August day. We watched some guys playing football and there were little girls turning cartwheels in the grass. It was so peaceful.

In my mind that image has been changed. A shot rings out and everyone scatters for safety. The football is left abandon on the field. Peace is lost.

I can't imagine being one of the guards. Have they ever had to fire their guns before? I'm sure it has changed their lives forever. Their peace is lost.

I can't imagine being on the staff of the museum. When they go back to work in a few days they will be missing a coworker, a friend. Their peace is lost.

In my mind there are just certain words that should not go together in phrases. A new phrase has been added to this list: museum shooting.

The museum world has changed. I think most people in museums feel that museums are peaceful establishments of knowledge and learning (unless it's a children's museum - then it's a loud, fun crazy place of learning). That was changed today. Our peace was lost.

The museum world is not only mourning the death of Officer Johns, we mourn the lost of our peace. Tomorrow every museum should have its flag at half mast.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I Need to Do WHAT for My Job?

One of the things I love the most about my job is the unexpected things I need to do for my job.

Tomorrow my parents are coming to visit me because it's my birthday. While they are here I need to get my dad to teach me how to square dance and call so I can then teach our education staff for the camps that we are having this summer.

How many people get to say, "yeah, I need to learn to square dance for my job"?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Projects

My current projects are many and varied.

For the museum I'm currently cataloging and organizing a very large manuscript collection of papers from the International Order of Odd Fellows. I'm also trying to catch-up on editing some podcast episodes and planning an exhibit that will open in 2010.

I'm in the process of writing an article for the Historic House Museum Affinity Group newsletter and I'm putting together a workshop on social media for the Arkansas Museum Association.

On the personal front I'm currently working on creating a portfolio.