What Happened in Museums this Week?

What Happened in Museums this Week? January 12 – 18

Controversy

Israel’s Controversial King Herod Exhibition

On Tuesday, Israel’s national museum announced the opening of the world’s first exhibition devoted to the archaeological legacy of King Herod, the biblical Roman-Jewish king who ruled Jerusalem from 37 to 4 BC. The Israel Museum will debut the Herod the Great exhibition on 13 February despite protests from Palestinians who object to the excavation and display of artefacts found in the West Bank without permission of Palestinian authorities. The anticipated exhibition, which will run until October, will include what is believed to be Herod’s tomb and sarcophagus. This represents the museum’s largest and most expensive archaeological project to date. To read more, click here.

Deaccession Difficulties

Brooklyn Museum Finds Some Problematic Gifts Can’t Be Returned

The Brooklyn Museum seemed to have garnered a bonanza in 1932 when it received a large bequest from the estate of Col. Michael Friedsam, president of the elegant retail emporium B. Altman.

But eight decades later that cache of Dutch and Renaissance paintings, Chinese porcelains, jewelry and furniture has become something of a burden. A quarter of the 926 works have turned out to be fakes, misattributions or of poor quality, and the museum potentially faces a hefty bill to store the 229 pieces it no longer wants. To read more, click here.

Expansion

World War II Exhibit Asks Visitors, ‘What Would You Do?’

For many, the stakes and the scale of World War II are hard to fathom. It was a war fought around the world, against powerful, determined regimes in Europe and the Pacific; some 65 million people died. And as the number of people who have actual memories of the war dwindle — as of next year, there will be fewer than 1 million living veterans — the mission of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans becomes all the more urgent.

This weekend, the museum is opening a new wing — part of a $325 million expansion — with new, interactive exhibits that it hopes will give visitors a better understanding of the ethical and emotional challenges people faced during the war. To read more, click here.

To read The New York Times review of the expansion and exhibitions, click here.

Investigation

Missouri Museum Faces Criminal Probe Over Spending, Document Shredding

St. Louis’ top prosecutor has opened an investigation into reports of document shredding and unanswered questions about the museum’s spending. The Missouri History Museum has been criticized for buying an acre of land from a former museum board member that the city says is worth only a fraction of the purchase price. The museum also paid its former president more than half a million dollars for unused vacation time, according to a September audit by the city. To read more, click here.

 Technology

Cleveland Museum of Art leads American Art Museums with New Apple iPad Mobile App & Gallery One Education Center

Once considered a stuffy bastion, the Cleveland Museum of Art is poised to launch what experts are calling the most comprehensive educational use of popular computer technology by any art museum in the country.

On Monday, Jan. 21— Martin Luther King Jr. Day — the museum will debut its new Gallery One educational center, which includes a 40-foot-long interactive display wall, said by the museum to be the largest in any U.S. art museum. To read more, click here.

The final article was published on January 11 but I didn’t get a chance to see it before I published What Happened in Museums This Week? last week. The article is a must read and I am interested to hear your thoughts on this story and the stories featured above.

LGBT Museum

Gay Couple Behind Effort to Open LGBT Museum in D.C.

Organizers, led by former Smithsonian researcher Tim Gold and his husband, North Carolina furniture magnate Mitchell Gold, are raising money and collecting artifacts to open a national history museum to tell the stories of LGBT Americans at a time when gay rights were frequently a matter of political and cultural debate. To read more, click here.

What headlines caught your eye this week?

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