Thursday, August 19, 2010

Interview with Small Museum of the Month: The Goldstein Museum of Design

Earlier this month, we announced our August Museum of the Month, The Goldstein Museum of Design. SMA recently conducted an interview with their director, Lin Nelson-Mayson. Check out what Lin had to say!

SMA: What is your name and position at the museum?

GMD: Lin Nelson-Mayson, Director

SMA: What is the best thing to see or do at your museum?

GMD: Exhibitions regularly explore design thinking and design process, linking contemporary design problems with ideas from across cultures and time.

SMA: What is the most surprising/interesting thing in your collection?

GMD: GMD's collection contains several ergonomic chairs. The earliest of these, from 1929, may have belonged to one of the Goldstein sisters, the museum's namesakes.

SMA: What do you hope people take away with them after visiting your museum?

GMD: We hope visitors leave with an awareness of the designed objects/spaces/systems in their lives and that design can help us live more harmonious lives.

SMA: What are some of the programs/exhibitions/services you offer at your museum?

GMD: GMD presents exhibitions in two locations at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities: 3-4 in McNeal Hall on the St. Paul campus and 4-6 in Rapson Hall on the Minneapolis campus. We present a wide range of programs on design and designers including lecture, panel discussions, films, and workshops, plus special events in collaboration with area cultural organizations. Designer, scholars, and students can make appointments to view items from the 28,000 piece collection. In addition, staff develops and presents programs for community groups that may include an on-site viewing of collection items.

SMA: Are there any fun stories about your museum?

GMD: As an academic museum, we employ undergrad students as gallery staff and grad students as collections and communications assistants. Gallery staff members become the installation crew between exhibitions and have learned to paint, install vinyl, and proper object-handling techniques. New members to the gallery staff are sometimes surprised to be involved in these tasks, but gain a sense of pride when they see visitors enjoying their contributions to the success of the exhibitions.

SMA: Besides your own, what is your favorite small museum and where is it located?

GMD: My favorite small museum other than GMD is the Ross County History Museum, located in Chillicothe, Ohio. It was the first museum I attended as a child and later the first museum I worked for after graduate school.

SMA: What do you think small museums can do to become better and/or stronger?

GMD: Small museums have developed a much more active presence within the profession, emphasizing the value we add to our communities, the richness of our collections, and the unique experience people have as visitors and supporters. Continuing to work together collaboratively and increasing public awareness of our unique qualities will continue to build on this strong foundation.

SMA: Is there anything else you would like to share?

GMD: Thank you for selecting the Goldstein Museum of Design as the August Museum of the Month. We have enjoyed sharing this honor with our academic and community colleagues.

Photos courtesy of the Goldstein Museum of Design. All copyright reserved.

Want to be a Small Museum of the Month? Learn more here!

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