Interdisciplinary Studies in Museums

This month, the Mint Museum will be hosting ArtFusion: NaNoWriMo Write-In. ArtFusions are monthly events geared toward young artfusion adults in the Charlotte area that unite art, culture, and community. These events serve as a fun way for adults to experience the museum and connect with the art.

This ArtFusion corresponds with the Mint’s new special exhibition, Connecting the World: The Panama Canal at 100. The exhibition celebrates the centennial of the opening of the Panama Canal. It shows the building of the canal from all angles: the heroic, the harmful, and the scientific. What’s great about this show is not only its masterful design and the multimedia resources available, but the diverse number of interests that it can support: art, history, engineering,
environmentalism, travel—the list goes on. Further, this exhibition has been organized as a bilingual exhibition, meaning that all text panels have been duplicated in Spanish, so that its impact might reach even more people. Finally, in the curating of this exhibition, the Mint Museum commissioned a novella by New York Times Bestseller author Anthony Doerr, uniting the value of art and
panama canal
literature as one cultural importance.

The idea of celebrating National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo) with our November ArtFusion is an exciting thing for us at the Museum. This gives us the chance to continue in the tradition of our commissioned novella and further the connection of art and writing. We will guide our visitors through the galleries and encourage them to take the meaningful documentation of the building of the Panama Canal as inspiration for their own stories.

On a slightly different note, I was able to attend last week’s Davidson Alumni event in Charlotte where Drs. Dave Wessner and Anne Fox presented on the art exhibition, Re/Presenting HIV/AIDS, a co-curated show with the Van Every and Smith Galleries at Davidson College. In their presentation Dr. Wessner and Dr. Fox touched on the value they saw and experienced in teaching their cross-discipline designed class: the ability to think “outside of the box” and push boundaries, the challenge in learning something outside of one’s comfort zone and being able to talk about it, and, of course, the connection that students can then make with the surrounding community. Hearing this brief talk reminded me the importance of interdisciplinary learning and made me value, even more, my education.

Dr. Fox and Dr. Wessner’s presentation also got me thinking about interdisciplinary interactions in the real world. With the opening of Connecting the World: The Panama Canal at 100, I realized that this is what the Mint Museum is doing. It is uniting many disciplines in this one exhibition and furthers the unity as it works with National Novel Writing Month to host a Write-In.

The importance of uniting such interests and using interdisciplinary methods is not only to cater to different individuals, but it encourages two groups of people (or more!) to come together and have meaningful conversation in the community. It is exciting to be a part of such a wonderful example of such efforts at the Mint.

 

My Place at The Mint

Wow! It is incredible how quickly the time passes. I cannot believe it has already been a month and a half at my new position of Davidson Impact Fellow with the Learning & Engagement Department at the Mint Museum.

Mint-Museum-Randolph

The Mint Museum Randolph, the site of the original branch of the U.S. Mint

Brief history: the Mint Museum was the first art museum in North Carolina and is so named because it was first installed in the original branch of the U.S. Mint. In its two locations, it is home to collections of African, Mesoamerican, European, and American art, as well as a vast collection from the Craft and Design movement.

This year, Davidson has broadened the Impact Fellowship Program with a “Build Your Own” option, an addition that I believe is an incredible way to encourage graduates to pursue uncommon fields and to ensure that they can get started in a great way. Because of this opportunity, I was able to seek out the non-profit organization that spoke the most to me and work for them. With this freedom, I am able to channel my passions, art education and the greater community, into an amazing postgraduate opportunity!

Now, just over a month in, I have found myself taking a step back and asking a few questions: What on earth am I doing? What do I hope to accomplish? and of course, Will there be enough time? I had all of these questions answered in my mind when I started the fellowship in August, but as a typical Davidsonian, I have made my goals much larger than 28 weeks can handle.

25 - MMU

The Mint Museum Uptown, home to the Craft + Design Collection

What am I doing?

As I am the first fellow at the Mint Museum, this is a very valid question. I have signed on to be the Learning & Engagement Fellow, meaning that I assist anyone and everyone in the department with all features of their public programming to ensure their successand impact on the public. I work most closely with the Learning & Engagement Programs Coordinator on the museum’s Docent Program. I help organize training materials, am researching and reorganizing the structure of the program for efficiency, and I facilitate training sessions. Further, I am helping kick-start the Mint’s new Teen Initiative. Quite the exciting job!

 

What do I hope to accomplish?

Before starting this program, I came in with the intention of leaving with a complete and stable teen program series planned, a well trained and energized docent class, and nothing left to be done. Clearly, all of this is not possible. My overarching life goals of making art accessible to the community in a fun and engaging way, however, might be! In the next two weeks, I will help facilitate a teen program and an adult program, both of which are educational with the goal of engaging a hard-to-reach demographic, so I’m on the right track!

 

Will there be time?

Six and a half months is not a lot of time, especially to make the changes I envision. But, in these short 6 weeks, I feel as though I have accomplished a lot. I am already making great connections with the Mint Museum Docents, a group I believe is the face of the museum, relaying educational information to visitors and making their experience that much more fulfilling.


2459

Taking a step back to reassess is always good. Sometimes we get caught up in the now and forget to remember our goals in each thing we do. Though my time at the Mint Museum is short, I hope to make even the smallest difference in bringing the Charlotte community to the amazing world of art.

css.php