What Happened in Museums this Week?

What Happened in Museums This Week? March 16 – March 22

Astronaut on Staff

Former Astronaut Joins Indy Children’s Museum

A former astronaut and scientist from Indianapolis is joining the staff of that city’s Children’s Museum.

The museum announced Thursday that Dr. David Wolf is becoming its first extraordinary scientist-in-residence. To read more, click here.

Merger Rejected

In Los Angeles, an Ailing Museum at a Crossroads

The news out of Los Angeles may have some people pinching themselves in disbelief. After five years of seeming to sit on its hands (and wallets) while the Museum of Contemporary Art was being run into the ground, the institution’s board appears to have rejected an offer to merge with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The proposal would have allowed the contemporary art institution to keep its name and building and opened the way for an infusion of $100 million. But on Tuesday the museum issued a cryptic statement. “The board is in agreement that the best future for MOCA would be as an independent institution,” it said in part. “The board understands that this will require a significant increase in MOCA’s endowment to ensure its strong financial standing. We are working quickly toward that goal.” To read more, click here.

Mirror Reveal

Seattle Museum’s Massive LED MirrorTransforms With Regional Data

Doug Aitken’s newest art installation is as big as the building on which it suitably resides.

The Seattle Art Museum will have a permanent change starting this weekend when Aitken reveals his giant LED and glass display called Mirror, which displays continuously changing images to match the surroundings of the museum. Commissioned by the late philanthropist Bagley Wright in 2011, Mirroracts as a living museum outside the Seattle institution, using an enormous collection of moving images captured by Aitken to reflect local life. To read more, click here.

Museum Debate

U.S. National Slavery Museum Debated in 2 Va. Courts

A federal judge will decide within days whether the U.S. National Slavery Museum‘s largest creditor can legally challenge deed restrictions on the museum’s proposed home in Fredericksburg.

Pei Partnership Architects wants the court to lift the restrictions on the 38-acre property because it says they sharply limit the property’s value for sale. To read more, click here.

Saying Goodbye

Gorilla’s Childhood Caretaker Says Goodbye at Field Museum

Before the rest of the world fell in love with Bushman the gorilla at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, the popular primate captured the heart of a little girl in Africa who helped care for him as a baby.

On Sunday, Winifred Smith, 92, and her family visited Bushman’s stuffed remains at a Field Museum exhibit. The family Saturday also toured the Lincoln Park Zoo, where Bushman lived for 20 years before his death on New Year’s Day in 1951. To read more, click here.

Staffed (with a Delayed Opening)

Benjamin Franklin Museum May Reopen After All

Until Wednesday morning, it looked as if the Old City museum, which is undergoing a $23.1 million modernization, would not have enough staff to open because of the federal budget cuts known as the sequester.

But on Wednesday afternoon, officials of Independence National Historical Park, of which the museum is part, announced that a regional office of the National Park Service had permitted the park to hire enough seasonal workers to reopen the museum. To read more, click here.

Thieves Identified

Thieves in Half-Billion Dollar Art Heist Identified By FBI

Twenty-three years to the day that thieves stole irreplaceable artwork from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, federal authorities announced they had identified the people responsible for the half-billion dollar heist.

“We have identified the thieves who are members of a criminal organization with a base in the mid-Atlantic states and New England,” said Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office. To read more, click here.

What headlines caught your eye this week?

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