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14 February 2013 @ 10:17 am
SJ Quilt & Textile Museum  

I know that I'm not doing much at the moment to increase my chances at finding a job in my field, so I thought it would be good idea to try and get some more hands-on experience at a museum.  Since the Egyptian Museum wasn't much interested in letting me handle artifacts or even tidy up the displays that had fallen over, I won't be going back there.  Instead, I offered my time to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

Yesterday I went over to the museum for a volunteer orientation.  It looks like I'll get my start working in the gallery as a "gallery guide" - a glorified security post, although we also act as docents should a willing listener come in. What I like about this museum is that they recognize that the volunteers are people giving up their free time to help them out - and they treat you like adults.  At this museum, it's totally OK to bring a book to read or a project to work on if the museum is slow.  The shifts are only two or three hours long, so that you'll stay fresh and happy.

While I was there, I shadowed the curator as she gave a tour of the newest exhibit, a collection of Indian textiles.  They all came from the collection of a single individual, who is an aesthete rather than an art historian/anthropologist - as  result, there isn't much in the way of provenience and provenance.  A lot of the textiles are heavily used, too.  They aren't at all in "museum" condition, but stained and soiled and worn.  But there is something interesting about each piece, at least.

I probably won't volunteer a lot, but when they take this exhibit down and put the next one up, I'll be able to work on that - which will be good experience for collection-handling.