CONF: African Studies Association (ASA) Museum Day – pre-ASA Conference

African Studies Association (ASA) Museum Day
Workshops on Sharing Cultural Knowledge
Smithsonian National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Avenue, SW
Take Metro to Smithsonian Station

If you have already registered for ASA and would still like to register for the pre-conference workshop at the National Museum of African Art, it’s not too late!  Please click on the link to a doodle poll that will allow you to select all or specific events taking place on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 (pre-conference day):  Registration is required by November 10, so we have an accurate count for catering.  The itinerary follows:

ASA Museum Day is a day-long series of workshops, archives and gallery tours, and guided collection storage visits at the National Museum of African Art (NMAfA).  Space is limited to 40 for workshops; 20 for the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives tour.  Collection storage visits are by appointment only and limited to 5 per section (20 total).

10:00 – 10:30 am        Meet and Greet
– Coffee & Tea
– Lecture Hall, sublevel 2

Jessica Martinez, NMAfA Educator for Scholarly Programs

Welcoming Remarks
Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, NMAfA Director

10:30 am – 12:30 pm        Education Workshop
– Lecture Hall, sublevel 2
– Limited to 40
Deborah Stokes, NMAfA Curator for Education
Gathoni Kamau, NMAfA Outreach Coordinator

Museums and Current Directions for African Art Education
Educators and curators from a diverse range of art museums—encyclopedic, modern, and Africa focused—discuss new directions and technologies in the teaching of African art in museum settings. Erica Gee (Museum for African Art), Karen Getty (Virginia Museum of Fine Art), Erik Keel (Kreeger Museum), Carol Thompson (High Museum), Gathoni Kamau (National Museum of African Art) and Deborah Stokes (National Museum of African Art) share their experiences with educational programming in response to new curatorial priorities and broad cultural, technological and social trends. Participants will address how recent scholarship and collection practices that incorporate both tradition-based and contemporary African art affect our core activities, such as gallery teaching, student learning, interpretation and the use of new technologies to create accurate content and meaning-making opportunities, conversations and collaborations with our audiences.

11am – 12 noon    Tour of Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
Meet at NMAfA Information Desk, Pavilion
Limited to 20
Amy Staples, NMAfA Senior Archivist

12:30 – 1:30pm        Lunch for workshop participants
Lecture Hall, sublevel 2

1:30 – 3:30pm            Curatorial Workshop
Lecture Hall, sublevel 2
Limited to 40
Karen Milbourne, NMAfA Curator
Amy Staples, NMAfA Senior Archivist

Sharing Knowledge/Building Collections: Museum Collaborations with African Communities
This roundtable addresses a critical issue for museums in the 21st century—the potential for sharing knowledge about our collections and for collaborating with African artists, scholars and cultural specialists on the interpretation and display of diverse arts and cultures of Africa. New initiatives by curators, educators and archivists at the Smithsonian Institution and other museums are focused on: creating dialogues with local communities; documenting specialized knowledge about cultural objects, photographs and techniques of production by artists and photographers; and how museum objects and photographs circulate back to local communities, generating new meanings within the contexts of global cultural exchange and information sharing.

Speakers will compare collaborative projects to date and consider best practices for the future. Roundtable participants include Ivor Miller (NMAfA Senior Fellow and African Studies Center, Boston U.), Asif Shaikh (Cultural Preservation Fund), Pam McClusky (Seattle Art Museum), Simon Ottenberg (University of Washington, Emeritus Professor), Karen Milbourne (National Museum of African Art) and Amy Staples (National Museum of African Art). We welcome attendees to contribute perspectives on ways to move forward with critical documentary efforts and knowledge-sharing initiatives concerning museum collections.

1:30 – 3:30 pm        Curatorial Research: Collection storage visits
Administrative offices, sublevel 2
Limited to 20
Bryna Freyer, NMAfA Curator

3:30 – 4:00 pm        Coffee, tea, cookies
Lecture Hall, sublevel 2

4:00 – 5:00 pm    Gallery tours: Artists in Dialogue 2, A Brave New World and African Mosaic
Mezzanine, sublevel 1
Limited to 30

Karen Milbourne, NMAfA Curator


Author: Camara Dia Holloway

I am an art historian specializing in early twentieth century American art with particular focus on the history of photography, race and representation, and transatlantic modernist networks. I earned my PhD at Yale University in the History of Art Department. Besides my leadership role as the Founding Co-Director of the Association for Critical Race Art History (ACRAH), I am recognized for my expertise on African American Art, particularly African American Photography, and as a seasoned consultant for exhibitions, museum collections, and symposia/lectures planning.

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