Curator's Corner Blog

Monthly Archives: February 2010

Curator’s Corner | February 2010

Amidst the flurry of activity surrounding the preparations for the spring exhibition, it may be difficult to believe that anything else could be taking place at the same time. But the Museum world can be a demanding mistress, and time waits for no man, so here is a sampling of other projects and events that have been keeping Collections staff fully occupied over the preceding weeks and months.

By,  Jason R. Bain, Curator of Collections, jrbain@montana.com

Exhibitions:

Although the “Fire of 1910” has received most of the attention and media coverage in recent weeks, staff are also simultaneously preparing the latest traveling show to make its way to the Fort. Coming to the Museum’s North Gallery in April, “Let Wonderland Tell Its Story: William Henry Jackson’s 1871 Yellowstone Alberttypes” features photographic prints from the first overland geological survey to map and explore the newly-created Yellowstone National Park. Seldom viewed or publicly exhibited, this series represents an American artistic masterpiece and is essential to our understanding of the legacy of Yellowstone. Collections staff are also considering the possibility of a limited “Recent Acquisitions” exhibit to showcase many of the outstanding Missoula Mercantile items newly acquired as a consequence of the closure of the former downtown Macy’s store. Finally, the Museum’s recent accession of a superbly-preserved cross-cut saw collection from former University of Montana faculty member Mike Roney promises to provide the foundation for a renovated and revitalized wood products exhibition in the Museum’s Timber Building.

Other Collections Projects:

In addition to preserving what remains of the former Missoula Mercantile, the Museum has also been fortunate enough to receive recent acquisitions from the former Smurfit Stone plant that should make excellent additions to the permanent collections. New acquisitions aside, all staff have been hard at work preparing for the Museum’s AAM Re-Accreditation visit in April. The intensive process has engendered an institution-wide re-evaluation of the means by which the Museum acquires, maintains, and makes available its broad and diverse collections, thereby opening previously unexplored avenues for improvements to existing exhibitions, storage techniques, and future projects. Finally, as Jane’s successor I have not only assumed her duties here at home, but also in the broader Museum community as well. In this vein, I have accepted the nomination as the new Montana State Representative to the Mountain-Plains Museums Association (MPMA), and will be serving as a board member in that capacity over the course of the next year. This service will permit the Museum to maintain its continuing presence at the regional level, and will enable our institution to keep a finger on the pulse of the museum community in our own state.