spring break eve

The blog has been quiet for a while as I’ve been caught up in the business of programming, events, and general #museumlife. Spring break is next week and we’re all looking forward to slowing down just a bit.

Not that I’m complaining at all! I’ve enjoyed recent collaborations with Kansas State University faculty that brought films, concerts, dance performances, and Broadway showtunes to the Beach Museum of Art. It’s been busy but amazingly fruitful and productive.

As a land grant university, K-State has a strong outreach and community-based mandate, which the museum reflects in its own mission statement. That mission is central to everything we do. I’m often asked, “Why are people singing and dancing in the art museum?” I usually respond, “Why not?”

The museum is the ultimate interdisciplinary community space. It’s not beholden to a particular unit or department, the art collection reflects a variety of cultural influences and inspirations, and it’s free and open to everyone. Driving that point home, part of the Beach Museum’s physical structure serves as a corridor connecting the campus to the greater Manhattan, Kansas community.

As discussions in the museum field continue regarding remixing, hacking, and deconstructing the “typical” museum experience, we would be well-served to remember that above all, museums are places where people should come first.*


Dan and Beth Byrd Memorial Arch, Beach Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Benz Resource Group.

*I realize that this might be considered art museum blasphemy of the highest order. 

frights at the booseum

Happy Halloween! While the real horror is how long it’s been since I’ve updated this blog, I love sharing all things spooky and museumy each year. I’ve covered haunted museums and spine-tingling artwork but this time around I’m featuring links to some of my favorite Halloween get-ups sported by art fans:

  • Buzzfeed’s “17 Brilliant Art History-Inspired Halloween Costumes” includes a couples nod to Grant Wood’s American Gothic, a Van Gogh self-portrait, and a Banksy.
  • Practically everybody at Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Halloween party, Spirits & Skeletons, which HMNS promised would be “the jam.”
  • The Blanton Museum of Art’s staff costumes inspired by the museum’s permanent collection convinced me to step my Halloween game up next year.
  • From the Beach Museum of Art, gallery attendant Lindsey B.’s “Mobile Lisa.”
Personal photo by Adrianne Russell.

Personal photo by Adrianne Russell.

summer plans

Storms are rolling through the Prairie and temperatures are rising. Summer has officially arrived! With that comes increased activity among museums as they  present a staggering amount of summer programming. I was knee-deep in that world when I worked in the Education Department at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art but now that my core audience at the Beach Museum of Art is primarily college students, summer is not nearly as hectic as it used to be. It feels strange to contemplate taking a vacation in July!

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The Meadow. Personal photo by Adrianne Russell

However, just because the campus is a bit quieter doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done. On the public programs side, we’re hosting two community open houses celebrating new exhibitions and a Maker Workshop for teens focusing on printmaking in collaboration with the Manhattan Public Library.

Work will continue this summer on The Meadow, a sustainable native plant garden located behind the Beach Museum, which is very exciting and takes me back to my landscaping days in AmeriCorps working with Habitat for HumanityI’m part of a team administering the project’s blog.

In August, we’re hosting a GLAM-WIKI workshop for university professors led by Wikipedian and Kansas State University graduate student Alex Stinson. I’m excited that this program went from conception to implementation in less than a year, which is very quickly in museum-planning time.

Fall 2013 programming is nearly locked down (knock on wood), so now I must turn my futurist eye to programs for 2014 and beyond. Ideas that I’m mulling over include design thinking projects, 3-D printing, and student-led art programs.

Wow, did I say summer wasn’t busy? I take that back!