The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

New stuff at New Walk reports that the Art Fund has assisted New Walk Museum in Leicester to purchase a pair of digital prints by Chila Burman. According to the press release, they will be displayed in the museum this autumn.

Read more

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Conference Alert: Heritage: Past, Present, and Future

From H-Material Culture:

Heritage: Past, Present, and Future
Cooperstown, New York
October 3-4, 2008

The Cooperstown Graduate Association is pleased to announce its conference Heritage: Past, Present, and Future to take place in Cooperstown, New York, October 3 and 4. Friday's schedule will include workshops on oral history, historic districts, and new technology available to museums, as well as tours of the collections of the New York State Historical Association and The Farmers' Museum housed at the Iroquois Storage Facility. Friday evening, a free public lecture by Rachel Bliven of the Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor Commission will address heritage tourism-what it is, who is involved, and how to plan for it. Saturday's conference program will feature ten speakers. The morning session will begin with a look back at the life of Louis C. Jones, a pioneer in heritage preservation and interpretation. In the afternoon, conference participants will get a peek at heritage programs at regional institutions in the Catskills and Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Looking toward the future, presenters will explore the use of documentary film, lasers and ground-penetrating radar, and the web-based Quilt Index to make the past more understandable and accessible to a broader audience. Conference participants will also have the opportunity to see the new exhibit Through the Eyes of Others: African Americans and Identity in American Art at the Fenimore Art Museum, the newly opened More and Dimmick houses at The Farmers' Museum, and the exhibit Three Eyes on the Past: The Legacy of Dr. Louis C. Jones at the NYSHA research library.

For more information, contact Cindy Falk or Cathy Raddatz at the Cooperstown Graduate Program at 607-547-2586 or by email at or . A complete schedule and registration information is available at:

Cynthia G. Falk, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Material Culture
Cooperstown Graduate Program
SUNY Oneonta
P.O. Box 800
5838 State Route 80
Cooperstown, NY 13326
607-547-8926 (fax)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hidden Masterpieces

The Observer ran a report last weekend about 'the hidden gems to discover off the beaten track.' While the commentary reveals the London-centric attitude of the national media (Blimey! Check out that Velazquez at the dingy parochial country pile! Who'd have thunk it?), it does help to emphasise the rich diversity of museum and gallery collections up and down the country. You can read about The Observer's selection here, but there must be many more. My vote would go to the Constables and Gainsboroughs at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich, and the Attenborough collection of Picasso ceramics at New Walk Museum, Leicester. Where are your hidden masterpieces?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Showcasing the weird and bizarre

Photo by internets_dairy
The BBC reports that a new Ripley's Believe It Or Not! opens in London (Piccadilly Circus) today. Mark Lawson visited the 'museum'* for Radio 4's Front Show. You can listen to the audio and watch a slide show of exhibits here.

Watch out for the rather disturbing take on gallery interactives... (Hey, you can't fault them for their committment to audience participation and active learning!)

* Ripley's refer to their sites as 'museums' rather than, perhaps, the more appropriate curiosity or, dare I say it, freak show. I wonder why? For the validation and respectability the term confers? Or simply because they recognise what museum visiting is really about: curiosity and titillation?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Extra-curricular activities

Photo by tortuga767 (the sentiment seems kind of appropriate!)

Pippa is currently accompanying her husband Sid on an intrepid cycling pilgrimage from Glasgow to Barcelona - all of us here in Attic Towers are very impressed. The cycle ride has been organised to commemorate a similar journey that took place in 1938 to raise awareness of and money for the victims of the Spanish Civil War.

The organisers are keeping a blog throughout the journey - follow Pippa's progress here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

CFP/Online Publication: Museum Education Monitor (MEM)

Working on a museum education/interpretation research or evaluation project?

MUSEUM EDUCATION MONITOR (MEM), the monthly e-newsletter, is compiling a list of ongoing research and evaluation projects for our upcoming August 2008 issue. I welcome listings by museum workers, faculty, and students at all levels of study.

If you wish to share your research or evaluation, just send an e-mail to that includes:
- name of project
- research/evaluation question
- how the data will be presented
- principal researcher/ evaluator
- site where research is being conducted
- time span
- contact information
- key words to describe the project

All listings are free of charge and displayed in their language of origin. Deadline for the August issue is Friday, August 15.

FYI, the following research projects were listed in MEM July 2008:

- How can walled kitchen gardens be developed to support heritage education? (UK)

- New Literacy New Audiences [Digital Literacy] (Australia)

- Renaissance North West: Evaluation of the North West Museum Hub Family Learning Initiatives (UK)

- Memory places: contexts of symbolic learning about gender. The anthropological museums case in Mexico city (Mexico)

- Museum of Discovery NSF funded exhibition, Mystery of the Mayan Medallion
(Summative Evaluation) (USA)

- Genomic Revolution Exhibition - Audience Research (Brazil)

UPDATES on research listed in earlier issues of MEM:

- What is it that makes an exhibition spectacular like non-museum experiences? (USA)

A complimentary copy of this Museum Education Monitor, July 2008 is available upon request to . Or visit the MEM Blog at for up-to-date listings.

M. Christine Castle, Editor, Museum Education Monitor
For more information about Museum Education Monitor

CFP/Publications: Digital Convergence


Digital Convergence: Libraries, Archives, and Museums in the Information Age

Three Special Issues of Library Quarterly, Archival Science, and Museum Management and Curatorship


The editors of Library Quarterly, Archival Science, and Museum Management and Curatorship are pleased to announce plans for three special issues exploring the shared information needs and challenges facing libraries, archives, and museums in the information age; the overlapping educational goals of library and information science, archival studies, and museum studies programs; and areas of convergence for educators and professionals working to meet user needs in libraries, archives, and museums.

The resulting three separate issues of Library Quarterly, Archival Science,and Museum Management and Curatorship will be published at approximately thesame time (end of 2009), and all three issues will be Guest Edited by Dr.Paul F. Marty, College of Information, Florida State University.

The impetus for this project stems from a recent conference, sponsored by the IMLS, on the need for information professionals who can transcend the traditional boundaries between libraries, archives, and museums to meet user needs in the information age (see: ).

The increased use of and reliance on digital resources has blurred traditional distinctions between information organizations, leading to a digital convergence of libraries, archives, and museums. In light of this convergence, there is a need for more research examining how libraries, archives, and museums can collaborate and combine forces to better serve their users, many of whom do not clearly distinguish among different institutions or the information resources they manage.

We are looking for papers addressing one or more of the following three broad questions in ways that cut across the traditional distinctions between libraries, archives, and museums:

1. What are the information needs of libraries, archives, and museums in the information age, both internally (staff and other professionals) and externally (public services)? How can new information technologies support information professionals as they adapt to meet these needs?

2. What are the roles and responsibilities of information professionals in libraries, archives, and museums in the information age? What are the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to succeed at their jobs (e.g. intellectual property, information management, digital preservation, etc.)?

3. What kinds of educational programs best prepare information professionals to meet the needs of libraries, archives, and museums in the information age, including degree and non-degree programs? How are these programs currently preparing their students, and what potential is there for sharing expertise across programs?

While authors may choose to focus primarily on libraries, archives, or museums (depending on their interests and expertise), each article should attempt to explore issues of convergence across libraries, archives, and museums.


* Optional Abstract: September 1, 2008

* Submission Deadline: December 1, 2008

* Review Decisions: February 1, 2009

* Final Versions Due: June 1, 2009

* Publication: End of 2009


If you wish, you may submit an optional abstract (by email to Paul Marty at for feedback by September 1, 2008 (please indicate the journal to which you plan to submit).

Please direct your submission to the journal that most closely matches the particular focus of your article, research, or discipline, as follows:

* Library Quarterly, follow submission instructions at

* Archival Science, follow submission instructions at
(When specifying "Article type" please select the "Special Issue on Digital Convergence")

* Museum Management and Curatorship, please email submissions directly to Paul Marty at .
(Please see instructions for authors at )

Please mark your submission as being intended for the special issue on digital convergence.

If you have any questions about the special issues, please contact Paul Marty at .

A PDF version of this CFP is available at:

Paul F. Marty, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, College of Information
Florida State University
240 Louis Shores Building
Tallahassee, FL
. 850.644.5133

Monday, August 11, 2008

Don't know what to do after you finish your PhD?

Wrestling, grappling and kickboxing in a cage would hardly be the career of
choice for most women with a PhD and a three-year-old son, but Dr Rosi Sexton is
not your average woman.

PhD Mum Awaits Cage Fighting Fame

Thursday, August 07, 2008

CFP: Maritime Identities


Maritime identities: museum, communal and personal uses of heritage

A session at the Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) 2008 conference being held at University of Southampton, UK on 15-17 December 2008

20-minute papers are invited for presentation at this session. Please submit abstracts (500 words max) directly to the TAG web site at
by Monday 1 September 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

NaMu: Day 2, Part 2

Continued from Day 2, Part 1...

So, I've just remembered that I'm yet to finish off my review of the Fifth NaMu session held at the University of Leicester back in June. Where were we? Ah yes - we'd finished the morning session and were having lunch...

The afternoon session was devoted to group work. Our task? 'To consider how the national museum might be re-imagined in the light of the technological revolution.' My group (A), were tasked with plotting the landscape of national museums in the future. Other groups looked at Information, National Boundaries, Voice & Authority, and Infrastructure.

Given it was such a lovely day, my group headed outside onto Victoria Park for a spot of brainstorming.

Sadly, this is where I will have to leave the narrative; I had to keep a long-standing hospital appointment (don't worry - nothing life threatening!) and was, thus, not privy to the group discussions, nor the presentations that followed. By all accounts there were very entertaining, thought-provoking and enjoyed by all.

I rejoined delegates in the evening for the Conference Dinner, held at Belmont House Hotel (where many of the assembled were staying). My memories of this event are rather blurred (and I hadn't even been drinking!), but I remember a pretty good four-course meal and rather fantastic company. My gang were enjoying ourselves sooooo much we even forwent the planned quiz night at The Old Horse. The conversation continued well into the early hours, some of us (ahem Pippa) fortified by copious amounts of free alcohol (there have to be some perks to conference going!). :)

And so to bed...eventually (I suffered for my excesses the next day!)

To be continued.

Symposium: International Museum Design Symposium

From H-Museum:

Europe's biggest-ever museum design event launches with a unique one-day Symposium at the Science Museum's Dana Centre on Tuesday 14 October.

The Symposium
International in scope and with contributions from world leading architects, designers and senior museum professionals, the Symposium is the must-attend event to discover and debate the very best in museum design.

In the morning session you'll hear keynotes from opinion-forming museum directors with the right international experience to give compelling insights into global contemporary museum design.

And then in the afternoon you'll get further inspiration and fresh ideas from world-leading museum designers and architects from both North American and Continental Europe.

The International Museum Design Symposium is an exclusive opportunity for you to discover the latest developments and trends in the field of museum, gallery and heritage design.

The Festival
The Symposium is part of The Festival of Museum Design - a week-long celebration, exploration and examination of museum design from around the world.

Throughout the week we're planning a stimulating series of study days with key figures leading guided tours of world-class museum projects and design studios. Watch this space for further details of these events...

The Book
At the Symposium we're launching Museum Design 2009 - a ground-breaking new 356 page colour hardback book that provides a richly-illustrated guide to the latest in museum design.

As a delegate to the Symposium, you'll be able to attend the book launch, meet the authors and be among the first to see the book.

The Projects
More than 35 leading architectural practices and design studios are involved in some way in the week-long Festival of Museum Design. They include:

Opera Design (Netherlands); Murphy Catton (USA); Ralph Appelbaum Associates (USA); BRC Imagination Arts (USA); Cultural Innovations (UK and Middle East); Purcell Miller Tritton (UK); Andre & Associates (USA); Kvorning Design (Denmark); G&C Partners (USA); Design + Communication (Canada); Terry Farrell & Partners (UK); Lorenc+Yoo Design (USA); and Overland Partners (USA).

And here are just some the projects being featured:

* The Great Egyptian Museum
* Danish Jewish Museum, Copenhagen
* Hong Kong Museum of History
* Smithsonian National Museum of American History
* Massar Children's Discovery Centre (CDC), Damascus
* Afognak Native Corporation Museum, Alaska
* The National Museum of Lebanon
* Cultural Center of Jbalaya Beduins, Egypt
* The National Museum of the American Indian
* And new museums in Guangdong and Ningxia, China

Places at Symposium are intentionally limited to encourage dialogue, discussion and interaction.

We expect this event to sell out very quickly so early booking is strongly advised.

Delegate places: £247

Greg Chamberlain
Norfolk House
499 Silbury Boulevard
Milton Keynes

CFP: Past vs Present

From H-Museum:

Call for Papers

Past vs Present
Churchill College, Cambridge, UK
13 - 15 July 2009

Joint meeting of the British Association for Victorian Studies and the North American Victorian Studies Association hosted by the Cambridge Victorian Studies Group. The CVSG is a five-year project at Cambridge University funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

How did the Victorians rearrange the past? What new pasts did they discover?

Conference topics include:
The ways in which new discoveries across diverse fields helped shape new disciplines such as archaeology, geology, biology, linguistics, classics and history;
The proliferation of myths of origin - cosmic, geological, biological, historical, and anthropological; New technologies and tools for investigating the past - such as photography or museology;
Diverse and even contradictory responses to the past from different groups of people;
What the Victorians decided to throw out, and what they decided to keep;
The heritage that the Victorians invented for us - are we still living in a Victorian world?

The conference will feature four plenaries, eight special sessions, ten workshops, outings in Victorian Cambridge, and an after-banquet Literary Panel with neo-Victorian novelists.

Special Sessions:
Yesterday; Old Worlds and New; Tomorrow; Learning; Dressing Up; Leaving; Growing Up; Throwing Out.

Archaeology for Victorians; Evolution for Victorians; Enlightenment for Victorians; Music for Victorians; Architecture for Victorians; Prehistory for Victorians; Roundheads for Victorians; Classics for Victorians; Medievalism for Victorians; Bible for Victorians.

Two Categories of Attendance:
Papers or Workshops
1) Submit an individual paper or panel proposal, or
2) Sign up to join one of ten Workshops
(see conference website for guidelines: )

The deadline for proposals and the initial round of workshop sign-ups is 26 SEPTEMBER 2008.

Registration information and a provisional programme will be available on the website by the end of 2008.

Enquiries in advance of the deadline may be directed to Please put "BAVS-NAVSA" in the subject line.