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Set Aside A Day For Museums? Minnesota Thinks Bigger
留出一天去博物馆?明尼苏达州的雄心远大于此
2017/5/8 10:01:00 来源: 《英语文摘》

By Carol Kino

May is typically the month for honoring mothers, the armed forces and the flowering of spring. In Minnesota, May is now Minnesota Museums Month, the country’s first monthlong, statewide celebration of museums. It is the creation of several Twin Cities museum administrators, who expect it to become an annual event.

人们通常在5月间对母亲和军队表达敬意,享受春暖花开。如今,在明尼苏达州,5月被命名为“明尼苏达博物馆月”,这是美国首个为时1个月、全州性的博物馆庆祝活动。这个创意由明尼苏达大学双城校区博物馆的几个管理者提出,他们希望这种活动每年举行一次。

“There are stories that we each try to tell individually, whenever a special exhibition is happening,” said Phillip Bahar, the chief of operations at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. “What we want to do is tell the stories that we don’t have the opportunity to tell very often, about the broader community of museums across the state.”

“每当举办一个特别展览时,我们每个人都有故事要讲,”明尼阿波利斯市沃克艺术中心业务主管菲利普•巴哈尔说。“我们想做的就是讲述那些全州博物馆圈里的故事,这些故事平时并没有多少机会讲。”

This particular story begins with this year’s annual meeting of the American Association of Museums, to be held in Minneapolis-St. Paul from April 29 to May 2. Typically, committees in the host city meet for months in advance to plan events and activities for attendees. But not for nothing is Minneapolis known as the Emerald City of philanthropy; from the beginning, many of the organizers were determined to do more.

“Phillip and I felt that if we were going to spend a lot of time on this, we should do something that’s durable,” said Bruce Karstadt, the president of the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. (He and Mr. Bahar are chairmen of the public relations and marketing subcommittee.)

Anne-Marie Wagener, the director of public relations at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and another subcommittee member, agreed. “It’s great to have a conference with our peers,” she said. “But we wanted a public component, beyond the boost it gives to the economy.”

A native of Glasgow, she thought immediately of the Edinburgh Festival. Formed in 1947, it began as a proclaimed “gesture of cultural defiance in a world made weary by war, misery and destruction,” immediately spawned the Festival Fringe and later added art exhibits, book fairs and the like to become the largest cultural festival in the world.

“I grew up with it and I was aware of its potency,” Ms. Wagener said. She mentioned it to the committee and the idea struck a nerve. “We basically looked around the room and said, ‘Is everybody on board for really trying to make a go of this as a designated month?’ ” The answer was yes.

The rich history of Minnesota’s museums invites such a focus. It started with the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, founded in 1849, when Minnesota was still a territory. In 1872, the legislature established the state’s first science museum in Minneapolis, now known as the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History. (Coincidentally, it is named for the grandfather of Ford Bell, the current president of the American Association of Museums.)

In 1879, the Walker Art Gallery opened — the first art museum west of the Mississippi — founded by the lumber magnate Thomas Barlow Walker in his own home. In 1940 it was re-established as the Walker Art Center, a community art center run by the Works Project Administration. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, today one of America’s major encyclopedic museums, opened its doors in 1915.

The network also extends far beyond the Twin Cities. Minnesota has about 600 museums, giving it twice as many per capita as the national average, according to Lin Nelson-Mayson, chairwoman of the Minnesota Association of Museums and director of the Goldstein Museum of Design at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. “Minnesota is a state that’s always valued culture and heritage,” she said.

Not only does each county have its own historical society and museum, but there are also gems like the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, whose holdings include a little-known but important cache of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist seascapes; celebrity childhood home museums, like the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, run primarily by volunteers; and oddball historical one-offs, like the Spam Museum in Austin and the fascinating William & Joan Soderlund Pharmacy Museum, another volunteer labor of love housed in a drugstore in St. Peter.

The state also has several Native American sites overseen by the Minnesota Historical Society, one of which is Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post on the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation in central Minnesota. Founded as a Native American trading post in 1918, the building is still functioning, while a newer museum building tells the history of the local Ojibwe band.

“We’re not really close to any major populated areas, so it’s always nice to have something like this to let people know we’re here,” Travis Zimmerman, who manages the site, said of Minnesota Museums Month.

This year’s celebration will consist primarily of this sort of consciousness-raising. In early May, local public television stations will start screening the documentary, “Museums Creating Community,” which will run through the month. There will be special museum sections in the Star Tribune, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and the Web site of Explore Minnesota, the state tourism bureau. Information about the state’s museums will also be consolidated on a new Web site, museumsmonth.org, which will go online soon.

The organizers expect to expand the celebration next year, but they don’t yet know exactly how. “On June 1 we’ll start figuring that out,” said Mr. Bahar. “Right now we’re working on May.”

(魏建华 译自The New York Times Mar. 14, 2012)

(责编:MIDO)

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