TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  TM Saturday access
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  01-17-2001 on 11:49 a.m.
Dear all,

The subject of rugs being displayed at the Textile Museum on Saturday mornings has been discussed previously on Turkotek. Forgive me for repeating what I have posted in earlier salons or discussions.

In my view, the practice of allowing a guest speaker to show up to eight examples from the museum's collection on Saturday mornings was the best outreach and the most educational program ever offered, even if visitors weren't allowed to touch (or look as if they were about to touch) the examples.

With budgetary limitations and what seemed to me to be an increasingly complex codification of the procedures to have such a program, the TM now offers this event but once a year - and that is reserved for former Board Chairman Ed Zimmerman. While Ed and Michael Seidman together always make a wonderful presentation, it is simply too little.

I was told several years ago that it took approximately 50 man-hours of museum time for each 1.5 hour program. Having been through all the hoops several times myself, I know how much additional time I had to spend.

The curatorial and conservation staff had to review the requested objects for structural integrity and to see that each object had not been previously exhibited within a given time frame.

On the day of the program, staff members were brought in to bring the objects to the Meyers room, hold them up during the program, vacuum them afterwards and return them to storage (possibly after a visit to the freezer to prevent infestation).

Then the process became even more complicated and time consuming. As it was explained to me, the TM decided that all presentations of TM material should be in accordance with stricter museum standards. Whereas the staff formerly merely held up the objects against a slant board for anywhere from one to three minutes, the new policy meant that objects presented on Saturday mornings now would have to have Velcro sewn on so that the objects could be suspended from boards and anything shown would preferably have to be clean. (A lot of the material is in serious need of cleaning.)

I suggested to Virginia Delfico, then the Education Director, that volunteers could be used for the Saturday programs, but she felt that nearly all of the time devoted to the mornings had to be done internally. Merely holding the objects up on the slant board did not contribute significantly to the burden. The curatorial and conservation staffs at the Textile Museum are much, much smaller than anyone not familiar with it might imagine. It is unfortunate that the TM has not created a way to use the talented pool of potential volunteers that exists in this area.


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