About Monique Scott

I joined Bryn Mawr as the Director of Museum Studies in 2015. Previously, I served as head of cultural education at the American Museum of Natural History for almost ten years. I specialize in museum anthropology, and am the author of ‘Evolution in the Museum: Envisioning African Origins’ (Routledge 2007). I also have much experience mentoring and teaching students and have taught graduate courses in museum studies at New York University and Columbia University. I received my BA from Vassar College and my PhD in Anthropology from Yale University. As a graduate of Vassar College, I am particularly thrilled to join Bryn Mawr and rejoin the Seven Sisters community.

“Museum Anthropology” visit to the American Museum of Natural History

Day at the Museum

Have you ever wondered how much a group of students could geek out about Anthropology and museums? Well after spending the day at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City last Friday, I can personally tell you that it is *a lot*. In a couple previous blogs, I have talked about my love for Bryn Mawr’s new Museum Studies program. After our visit on Friday, I am even more inspired by, in love with, and excited to see the program grow.

IMG_9464We started our visit off with a lunch of authentic New York pizza and conversation with six incredible members of the museum’s education department. Each educator talked to us about their path to their current position, and as somebody who is interested in museums and their intersections with education programming, I was fascinated to hear how they had become part of the museum’s team. After lunch, we made our way into the inner-workings of the museum building and quite literally got to go behind the scenes. On the way to our next stop, we walked through hallways lined with offices and cases full of artifacts. It was breathtaking to realize that even though the museum has an amazingly large amount of artifacts and objects on display, there are even more artifacts that are not on permanent display. If only museums had infinite amounts of space!

IMG_9465Besides being in awe of having the opportunity to see a side of the museum that not many visitors get access to, by walking through the hallways of the museum behind the scenes, we got to literally walk in the footsteps of Margaret Mead, who through her work helped popularize American Anthropology. This is where the geeking out came in! As an Anthropology major, it was surreal to be a place where not only one, but two prominent individuals in your field had once worked and left their mark on. Franz Boas, who is known as the father of American Anthropology also worked at the AMNH, and according to one of the curators we were fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with, the museum is where Boas decided American Anthropology should be taught using a four- field approach including Cultural, Biological, Linguistic, and Archaeology, a practice the Bryn Mawr Anthro. department still practices today.

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Fellow Banter Blogger Maeve and I in front of Margaret Mead’s office!

The curator we spoke with also talked to us about what it was like to work with Margaret Mead, and even had her rocking chair right in his office, which one of my classmates got to sit in! She once told him that the classroom should not get in the way of students’ learning, a comment that has continued to stay in mind. I was struck by it, because it really highlights the need for programs like Museum Studies at BMC, and the other PRAXIS courses we offer that make field sites outside of the college integral to students’ learning. Our syllabus came to life, as we were able to see the artifact that is pictured on its first page. That is a cool feeling! We can learn incredible amounts from lectures, discussions, and our textbooks, but nothing can compare to the learning you get from immersing yourself in a place.

Our next stop was the Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific Peoples where we got to hear about the intricacies of museum display, communication with cultures represented in the hall, and the effects of popular media on the museum. After all was said and done, we had about an hour of free time to explore the museum before we had to board the van back to Bryn Mawr. While we all would have loved even more free time to explore, we were all exhausted after such a full day of learning, questioning, and discussing. I’m sad that my time in the Museum Studies program is coming to a close, but as I’ve said before in my blogs, I am beyond ecstatic that the program will continue to grow and expose students to these incredible places and the people who make them what they are today.

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Smithsonian Museum Day, March 2016

In the spirit of the Smithsonian Museums, which offer free admission every day, Museum Day Live! is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket… for free.

New for March 2016 is a special edition of Museum Day Live!, providing an opportunity to the public, especially women and girls throughout the U.S. to enjoy and share in our nation’s dynamic heritage and cultural life.

“Museums as Agents of Change” panel

Monday February 29th, 7:30-8:30pm

Haverford, Hall Building, Room 6

The guest speakers are:

Emily Schreiner

The Zoë and Dean Pappas Curator of Education, Public Programs

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Damon Reaves

Associate Curator of Education, Community Engagement and Access

Philadelphia Museum of Art

 This panel is a part of Professor Heather Curl’s course, “Education 311: Fieldwork Seminar” which focuses on “Theories of Change.” The panel is funded by the Museum Studies program.

Philadelphia Museums University Night

Students are invited to start the semester off right and join the Museum Council of Greater Philadelphia for this year’s University Night! Come network with museum colleagues from the Philadelphia region, while exploring NextFab: a collaborative space for innovators with digital and traditional fabrication tools, classes, and more. For working professionals, this event is a great opportunity to network with your peers—and to offer meaningful advice and guidance to the museum stars of the future.

Register Here!

Friday January 29, 6:30-9pm

$5 Members
$10 Non-Members
*Drinks and snacks included with ticket price!

A Visit to the PMA

Night at the (Art) Museum

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What does this Bryn Mawr senior do on the Friday night before Halloween? Spend the evening at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, of course! One of the highlights of my semester has been taking a course called “The Curator in the Museum”, the first class offered by our new Museum Studies program. As a senior, I wish I had more time to explore and learn about the field, but I am happy to know that BMC and Monique Scott, the director, are developing such a unique and incredible program. Dr. Scott teaches the course I am currently in and I’ve fallen in love with the field so much I’ve already put her next course, “Museum Anthropology” on my enrollment list for next semester!

As part of our course, we visit different museums to gain a practical understanding and see how the theory we are studying in class appears in real life. Last Monday we visited the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and this Friday, we found ourselves at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. After a highlights tour, we had the opportunity to speak with employees of the museum who worked in community outreach and curating. This element of our class is my favorite because it is so informative and an awesome opportunity to speak with the people who make the exhibits we see and admire possible.

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Every Friday, the PMA offers programming called “Art After 5” centered around a theme related to current events, exhibitions, and public interest. Since it was the Friday before Halloween, they threw a Halloween Bash! Art After 5 is a unique way to draw people into the museum while creating an atmosphere that is completely different than what a patron would find during regular business hours. They had themed cocktail and snack offerings, a DJ and dance floor, and two presentations by local university students.

We decided to stay after our class to see what it was like, and I’m so glad we did. My favorite parts of the evening were the presentations inspired by pieces of art in the museum. They provided an excellent way to connect my museum experience during the day to this special one after hours. In the picture above for example, students performed a piece inspired by a Dia de los Muertos exhibit. The dancers started the dance remaining still off to the side while actors portrayed a museum guide and young man on a tour. The guide explained to the man that he should keep his eyes open because pieces of the exhibit had been rumored to come alive. As the man was writing in a notebook, one of the dancers placed herself right in front of him, scaring the young man, and causing him to run away. The dancers then came to life and performed a beautiful piece.

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During the second half of the evening, fashion design students from Philadelphia University showcased hat and purses they created with each also being inspired by a work in the museum that struck them. They had to use unusual materials to create their products, so students used everything from twigs to flashing lights to chicken bones (yes, chicken bones!) to make their projects. It was so fun to hear the students explain how their hats and bags were influenced by the paintings and to see the models wearing them proudly.

All in all, it was a very fun way to spend Friday evening and a great compliment to my class experience and learning. Check out my Instagram and Twitter throughout the weekend to see how the rest of Halloween went!

Bryn Mawr Internships

Internship Opportunities are short-term work experiences that allow you to participate in a professional working environment to explore your academic and career interests. For museum internships, students can apply directly to one of the funding sources below.

(1) MUSEUM STUDIES SELF-DIRECTED INTERNSHIPS 

LILAC will provide funding for four summer positions for students who wish to intern in museums, galleries or other arts organizations. These grants will enable you to explore the field of Museum Studies and enhance your education with the practical experiences of a summer internship. To apply for this summer grant, you will need to identify a museum, gallery or arts organization that will sponsor your internship. Bryn Mawr’s Special Collections is one option for this summer internship.

LILAC Funding is available for unpaid summer internships that involve at least 30 hours of work a week for 8-10 weeks (or, a minimum of 240 hours). Students MUST secure the internship before they apply. Internships should take place sometime between the end of the spring semester and the resumption of classes for the fall semester. Placements may be in any field, both in the for profit and nonprofit sectors. The key requirement is that the internship provide the student meaningful and educational experience that can contribute to one’s academic, career, and/or personal interests.

Applications received by the first deadline (March 11) will be reviewed first. Applications received after March 11 will be reviewed in April after the final deadline (April 11). Students are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible.

(2) MUSE INTERNSHIPS 

Bryn Mawr has additional funds to support four students for summer internships related to Museum Studies. Funding is available for internships that involve at least 30 hours of work a week for 8-10 weeks (or, a minimum of 240 hours).  These internships provide special opportunities to conduct museum studies internships in Philadelphia museums. They provide a specially tailored opportunity to take museum studies investigations outside of the classroom into varied facets of museum work. These internships are organized and directed by Monique Scott, Director of Museum Studies. Applicants must have prior experience in museum studies.

In the summer of 2016, there are two potential sites for internships: The Philadelphia Museum Art and the American Philosophical Society.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

This internship will provide students with an interest in Museum Anthropology to work on research projects related to the representation of culture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Interns will get a behind-the-scenes window into the Museum’s departments of education, community outreach and public programming. In particular, interns will work with the education department on educational programming and audience research for this summer’s “Creative Africa” exhibition.

Creative Africa is a series of five exhibitions embracing art and design from the African continent that ranges from centuries-old bronzes of the Kingdom of Benin to contemporary fashion, photography, and architecture. At the heart of the season’s offerings is Art from Africa: Looking Closely, a major exhibition drawn from the collections of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The works of art presented encompass a diversity of materials, techniques, and visual traditions, with an emphasis on cultures of West and Central Africa. Other exhibitions will focus on traditional African textiles from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s own collection, Vlisco fabrics and fashions, contemporary urban street photography, and the architecture of Francis Kéré. Accompanied by a dynamic schedule of related programs and performances, this season will generate conversations between past and present, tradition and innovation, and local and global concerns across African art and design.

American Philosophical Society

Curatorial interns work alongside curators in the American Philosophical Society (APS) Museum. Interns will assist curators in researching and planning the Museum’s upcoming exhibition, The Artistic and Scientific Peale Family (working title), to open in April 2017. The intern will join a small, versatile staff and will have the opportunity to see all aspects of museum work in action. Research sources include the archival papers of the Peale family, and the wide range of archival and book collections of the APS Library, the APS Museum object collections, and outside scholarly sources. Interns will have the opportunity to assist curatorial staff on the preliminary stages of the exhibition—exploring the Peale family archival collections, conducting research on the family and wider context, and choosing papers and objects for exhibition. Interns will gain skills in archival research, collections research, exhibition development, and exhibition management, and will also have opportunities to observe conservation, education, outreach and collections management work at the Museum. The APS Museum seeks an intern whose interests include cultural history, history of science, art history, early American history, Philadelphia history, material culture, and/or museum studies.

Examples of duties include the following activities:

  • Assist with scholarly historical research for use in Museum exhibitions, public programs, and publications using Museum, Library and outside sources
  • Identify potential collections and/or objects for exhibition
  • Determine the provenance of archival or object collections
  • Photograph, describe, and document artifacts
  • Create and maintain databases of the exhibition checklist
  • Review concept documents for exhibition development

See LILAC Muse Internships for details on the submission process. Applications are due Monday, March 21 2016. 

(3) DEPARTMENT OF SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, RARE BOOKS AND MANUSCRIPTS INTERNSHIPS

The Friends of the Library have provided funding for a student to conduct a 10-week internship in the Department of Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. During the 10-week internship, the intern will explore the work of rare books and mauscript collections, which may include description and cataloging, conservation, research and writing for an exhibition, and digital reproduction and presentation of cultural items. Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors are eligible to apply. The intern will receive an award in the amount of $4000.

To apply, please submit the following to Marianne Hansen, Department of Special Collections (mhansen@brynmawr.edu), by Monday March 21 2016:

* 1-2 page letter explaining your interest in the position, relevant experience, and how the internship meets your academic, professional and personal goals
* Resume
* Name of one faculty member who would be able to speak about your qualifications

 

(4) DEPARTMENT OF SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, ART AND ARTIFACTS INTERNSHIPS

The Friends of the Library have provided funding for a student to explore working with collection objects.  The 10-week internship will provide opportunities in a number of areas of special collections work, with a focus inventorying, cataloging and photographic collections. Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors are eligible to apply. The intern will receive an award in the amount of $4000.

To apply, please submit the following to Marianne Weldon (mweldon@brynmawr.edu), by Monday, March 21 2016:

* 1-2 page letter explaining your interest in the position, relevant experience, and how the internship meets your academic, professional and personal goals
* Resume
* Name of one faculty member who would be able to speak about your qualifications

 

(5) EXTERNALLY FUNDED INTERNSHIPS

Students also can apply for funding directly from the particular Museum or Art Gallery in which they hope to work. Please contact LILAC or Monique Scott, Director of Museum Studies, for advice in the application process: mrscott@brynmawr.edu

Graduate Student Internships

The Department of Special Collections offers a summer graduate internship working with its collections of art, artifacts, rare books and manuscripts. The internship will provide opportunities in a number of areas of special collections work, including exhibitions, social media, web sites, cataloging projects, and digital projects. The intern’s exact assignments will depend upon the interests of the successful applicant. The position is funded by the Friends of the Bryn Mawr College Library.

Eligibility: Open to Bryn Mawr College graduate students. Experience in exhibitions or working with art, historical, or cultural collections is preferred, but not required.

Pay: $15 per hour.

Duration: The internship is for any ten week period between mid-May and late August, and is funded for up to 35 hours per week.

Deadline for applications: March 6, 2016

To apply: Submit letter of application, vita, and the names of two references to:

Eric L. Pumroy

Associate Chief Information Officer and Seymour Adelman Director of Special Collections

Special Collections Department

2nd Floor Canaday Library

Telephone: 610-526-5272

E-mail: epumroy@brynmawr.edu