Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Being Thankful: Following our Path: Regis College through its Art Collection

By: JP Harwick, Undergraduate student

 On October 2, 1873 Mother Regis Casserly arrived in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts with four other sisters. This small group of Sisters of St. Joseph dedicated themselves to founding schools and children’s centers within the Boston area. Realizing the need for quality Catholic education, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston established Regis College, taking its name from Mother Regis. The college embraced its mission to empower women through education. As such it was a women’s college until 2007 when Regis College began enrolling male students.  At the time of the opening of the college the Sisters served in roles such as president of the college, dean of students, nurse, and professors.
          St. Joseph’s Hall, which is now used as a dormitory on the third and fourth floors, used to be inhabited by approximately fifty Sisters during the 1960s and 1970s. Today, there are seven Sisters who work at Regis College and although there numbers have diminished their profound effect on the institution continues. Regis College’s mission remains unchanged: to achieve excellence with gentleness and kindness to the “dear neighbor.” As a tribute to the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, the college continues to celebrate their arrival each year through Founder’s Day events to remind all of the debt owed to the Sisters through their self-sacrificing efforts for Regis College.  Over this Thanksgiving holiday, we will remember to be thankful for all that they have given us.     

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Guest Speaker Tonya Largy

Tonya Largy, Coordinator of the Wayland Archaeology Group, speaking with
Regis College Public History and Archaeology class

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The NEMA Conference: “Following our Path: Regis College through its Art Collection”

by: ​Karen Dropps and Audrey McCullough, Graduate Students

This past Wednesday, three graduate students and Dr. Kathryn Edney went to the New England Museum Association’s (NEMA) 95th annual conference in Newport, Rhode Island. The conference was attended by museum professionals, students, and those with a general interest in museums. NEMA describes the conference as follows on its website:

“NEMA's 55+ conference sessions this year are the best of the best – loaded with strategies, tips, and techniques for every type of museum and museum professional: directors/trustees, collections, administration/management, exhibitions, marketing/development, facilities, academic, and more. Plus, this year we offer a special focus on museum education with an intensive track of more than 16 sessions covering a wide variety of trends and issues.” (http://www.nemanet.org/conf13/index.htm

​The theme of the conference was “Who Cares? Why Museums Are Needed Now More Than Ever.” That question is a valid one: why should we continue to care about museums when the internet can provide a similar learning experience? The reason is because the internet cannot provide the same experience. There is nothing like walking through the building of the museum, taking in the exhibits and experiencing the art and artifacts. Museums offer a different learning space for people outside of the classroom, which some people need to learn about certain subjects. For example, science becomes more interesting when going to the Museum of Science in Boston and exploring their interactive exhibits! Some people cannot learn in the classroom as effectively as they would in a different environment, which is what museums can offer.  In addition, museums are places where communities can be formed.

One session in particular stuck out: the keynote. This year it was given by Dr. Roger Mandle—an internationally known museum professional—who talked to us about his new definition of museums, and thinking of museums as idea instead of objects.  His presentation on knowing your audience, and understanding your community is something we hope to do with our exhibit. (http://www.nemanet.org/conf13/keynote.htm

In his presentation he gave his definition of a museum:  "museums are receptors and communicators of tangible experiences of cultural and scientific ideas based on their intention to serve diverse audiences with specific interests and requirements without respect to location."

This new definition opens up many paths for museums and exhibits to follow.  Our exhibit here is communicating a shared history of Regis College.  As we work further on this exhibit we look at what history we want to tell, and who our audience is.  The main audience we hope to draw to this exhibit is already a part of the larger Regis community, but we also hope to reveal a history that anyone who attends the exhibit can feel a part of its collective whole.  We want all those who attend to become part of the Regis family by learning more about its past.

As we are in the final stages of our exhibit, we have been working on our brochure.  In that brochure we are outlining what we hope they learn.  As we as a class work together to write the labels, the brochure, and other material with an eye on a common idea, an idea that we hope will speak throughout the exhibit: the shared history and mission of Regis College and the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Monday, November 11, 2013

La cena è servita

By Margaret Bogosian

Just as we expected, the Heritage Studies program broke attendance records at this past week’s Italian Night. We had visitors from all walks of the Regis Community, including professors, graduate students, undergraduates, and faculty. Students from Dr. Pellegrino's IT 101 class made presentations throughout the night about Italian food and culture. We sampled many authentic Italian dishes including pasta puttanesca, gorgonzola risotto, pesto pasta, proscuitto and melon, fresh baked ciabatta and focaccia, some bubbly prosecco, homemade tiramisu, an apricot glazed fruit tarte, chocolate mousse, and espresso to finish.

It was wonderful to see both familiar and new faces at this Heritage Studies event. As the year has progressed, the events we host are growing in popularity and we can only thank the members of the Regis College community for giving our program and students all the support thus far. We would also like to thank PaGE and Erin Wisniewski Director of International Student Services for co-sponsoring this event. We look forward to more nights like this in the coming future!

Strive, Striven, or Strove? Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty of Group Editing - "Following our Path: Regis College through its Art Collection"

Amy Damon, Graduate Student

We have spent the last few weeks of Museums Studies class going through everyone’s exhibit labels, sentence by sentence, and editing. It is amazing how much time we have spent editing 200 word paragraphs! We easily spend at least an hour on each. Why 200 words? From experience visiting museums, we all agreed (and I think most people reading this article would concur) that if an exhibit label is too long, we will skim it at best but most often skip over the label all together. There are studies to prove this, saying that when exhibit labels are over 200 words visitors start to skim.[1] So if we want our visitors to fully grasp the meaning of each label, we need to pick our words wisely and keep it short and sweet. Thus, we have spent a comically long amount of time this semester analyzing the difference between “institution”, “college”, and “university” and debating whether the word tense should be “strive”, “striven”, or “strove”. 

This week our task is to read through our labels sequentially and assess them as a coherent whole. This is especially important since each label was written independently and we need to make sure they make sense as a whole. This includes reading for flow from object to object, appropriate tone, and clear themes. This will probably take us more time than the two hours we have allotted for class this week but the results should be worth the extra out-of-class time.

I wonder if there are any studies about how long people will read blog posts before they start skimming or give up all together and moving on to the next post? If that limit is anything equivalent to exhibit labels, I have already surpassed my limit (I am at 298 words right now, for those of you who are counting). Before you stop reading, however, just think about this: if this blog post was on a gallery wall, would you read it all the way through?

[1] Beverly Serrell, Exhibit Labels: An Interpretive Approach (Latham, MD: AltaMira Press, 1996): 127

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ask an Archaeologist

by Karen Dropps

Last week we had our first archaeology event! We invited out the campus and community to come check out our dig site, and 'Ask an Archeologist'! We had a good turnout, and feel all that came out got a chance to learn more about our program, and hopefully they might join us in our next adventure!  It might have been a cold day, but those  who came got a chance to look at our site, talk with the students involved, and take a close look at what we found.  
We want to thank all who came out for our event! We loved sharing our dig with all of you! We hope to have more events like this, and hope to keep the community involved in our future projects!

After this week, with the cold setting in, we are planning to be slowing on the dig, and soon fill in our site.  We will be moving into the lab to take a close look at all that we have found.  We will have more updates so check back soon!