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Museums in Strange Places

Author: Hannah Hethmon

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I believe that museums are one of the best ways to discover a place, whether it’s your first time visiting or you’ve lived there your whole life. Join me on this adventure as I get to know the world….one museum as a time.

I’m your host, Hannah Hethmon, and in each episode I visit a different museum to discover its stories, discuss challenges and triumphs with fascinating museum professionals (and volunteers), and get to know each season’s country, state, or region through it museums.

Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, "Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcast on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits," available on Amazon. 

PLEASE NOTE: This show is still active! I'm just very busy producing professionally and don't have time to do new episodes very often.
42 Episodes
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Donald J. Trump has been active in business and media for fifty years, but his scandal-ridden presidency has overshadowed most of his history. Levi Fox's Pop-Up Atlantic City Trump Museum is an attempt to remedy this oversight for one specific chapter of the Trump story: his four Atlantic City casinos and the impact their short tenures and bankruptcies had on the gambling capitol of the East Coast. Together, we unpack the Trump-branded duffel bags he uses to store his collection of Trump casino-branded memorabilia while he explains why these bobbleheads, keychains, and other miscellania are worth hauling to the boardwalk every Sunday.  SHOW WEBSITE TRANSCRIPT Show Notes:  The Trump Museum Project (Website) "Donald Trump Gripes About the Press During 1990 Opening of Atlantic City Casino" (YouTube video) "Hillary Clinton: Donald Trump exploited workers" (Youtube video of Clinton's Atlantic City rally, 2016) "Battle of the Billionaires" at WrestleMania 23 (YouTube video, 2007) "How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, but Still Earned Millions" (New York Times article, 2016) "Trump’s Casinos Couldn’t Make Atlantic City Great Again" (Wired article, 2019) "In Atlantic City, Where Trump Built and Destroyed a Casino Empire, One Man Has Created an Odd Museum to the President’s Past" (artnews article, 2018) 
He’s the master of macabre, the man who created mystery fiction, the face on the socks and beer bottles of everyday Baltimoreans. He’s Edgar Allan Poe, and he belongs to Baltimore. Join me on a visit to the Poe House in Baltimore, the tiny house where his career began, to learn about Baltimore’s devotion to Poe, his tragic life, and the future of his legacy in the city where he died mysteriously.   This episode is sponsored by Grove History Consulting. TRANSCRIPT Find more information on the museum and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step-ByStep Guide to Podcasting on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits.   
So much of Maryland was built on the back of enslaved Africans, yet it’s easy to avoid confronting the history of slavery in Maryland’s former plantation country. Historic Sotterley is trying to change that. The plantation was built in 1703 by a man who made his money off the slave trade, and the site was witness to 165 continuous years of slavery. Today, staff and descendants at Sotterley are committed to sharing the site’s whole history and healing the legacy of trauma left by the violence of slavery with the ultimate goal of making their community and their world a better, kinder place.  This episode is sponsored by Grove History Consulting TRANSCRIPT Find more information on the museum and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step-ByStep Guide to Podcasting on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits. 
About half of all museums in the US are in small towns in rural America. Each of these museums holds stories and objects that are worth preserving and sharing, but they don’t always have the funding and infrastructure they need to operate and innovate. That’s where Museum on Main Street comes in. This Smithsonian program brings traveling exhibits to small towns for six weeks at a time. But the exhibit materials are just the catalyst for a much bigger experience, an experience that leaves these towns empowered to use culture to build stronger communities. In this episode, I hear from folks in DC, Massachusetts, Florida, Iowa, and Minnesota about the impact of Museum on Main Street. TRANSCRIPT Find more information about Museum on Main Street and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step-ByStep Guide to Podcasting on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits.   
What do Baltimore, Russian Jews, the third oldest synagogue in America, Eastern European Catholics, seances, and Harry Houdini have in common? You’ll find out in this episode, a visit to the Jewish Museum of Maryland, an institution that prioritizes storytelling (and is pretty good at it). Join me for a tour of the historic Lloyd Street Synagogue, a journey back in history to the heyday of the Jewish market on Baltimore’s East Lombard Street, and a celebration of the life of Harry Houdini, the son of a rabbi. All the music in this episode is by Seth Kibel and the Alexandria Kleztet. This episode is sponsored by Grove History Consulting TRANSCRIPT Find more information on the museum and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step-ByStep Guide to Podcasting on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits. 
S02/E07: Located in a waterfront 1860s oyster cannery in the Baltimore Harbor, The Baltimore Museum of Industry is trying to inspire and engage their visitors around the concept of work by telling the stories of historical workers. But in order to better fulfill this mission, the museum has to be constantly re-evaluating themselves and their assumptions about work. In this episode, I talk to staffers Beth Maloney and Auni Gelles about how an experimental interactive and a new job description are pushing the museum beyond more traditional education and interpretation methods. This episode is sponsored by Grove History Consulting. Featured songs in this episode are by The Bumper Jacksons, off their new album, I Never Met a Stranger. DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT Find more information on the museum and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcasting on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits. 
The Sandy Spring Museum describes itself as “community-activated.” They want to be a secular gathering places, where people of different backgrounds can come together and build a sense of place and belonging. I visit the museum to speak with Executive Director Allison Weiss about the museum’s radically community-driven programming, the Quaker principles built into the museum’s design, and how they are trying to serve a community of incredible diversity. This episode is sponsored by The Lyndhurst Group. DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT Music in this episode is by Los Hijo 'e Plena, the musical arm of the community-building nonprofit Cultural Plenera. Find more information on the museum and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcast on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits. 
BONUS content from Episode 5, "The Lost City: Historic St. Mary’s City, Maryland."  Dr. Regina Faden and I head down to Historic St. Mary's City's Waterfront exhibit, where we board the Maryland Dove, a replica 17th century sailing ship. The ship's Boatswain, Jeremy, talks to us about what it's like working on a historic ship and why old boats are like classic cars.   Music in this episode is by Hesperus, from their album An Early American Quilt, released on the Maggie’s Music Label. Find more information on the museum and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcast on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits. 
BONUS content from Episode 5, "The Lost City: Historic St. Mary’s City, Maryland."  A brief stop at the active dig site of Historic St. Mary's City's Archeology Field School, where Dr. Travis Parno is guiding students from St. Mary's College in a dig to investigate the site of Maryland's first State House. Dr. Parno also tells me about his ongoing research into early taverns, the powerful enslavers who ran them, and how they can shed light on the codification of slavery in Maryland and America.  Music in this episode is by Hesperus, from their album An Early American Quilt, released on the Maggie’s Music Label. Find more information on the museum and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcast on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits. 
In the early 17th century, 300 English settlers traveled to the new colony of Maryland in search of new opportunities and a place where they could practice their Catholic faith in peace. They built Maryland’s first capital, St. Mary’s City, and their city thrived...until its founders fell from power in England. Soon, St. Mary’s City was abandoned and it’s wooden structures rotted. The city lay hidden under farm fields and forests until archeological efforts led to the formation of Historic St. Mary’s City, a living history center that tells the story of the fourth permanent English settlement in America. TRANSCRIPT This episode is sponsored by the Lyndhurst Group. Music in this episode is by Hesperus, from their albums An Early American Quilt and Colonial America, released on the Maggie’s Music Label. Find more information on the museum and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcast on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits. 
BONUS CONTENT from Episode 4, “Museum Time Machine: The Peale Center.” The Peale Center’s Nancy Proctor shows me the museum’s Ring of Fire, explains the phenomenon of skeuomorphism, and tells me why gas lighting was such a game-changing technology in Baltimore.   All the music in this episode is by Outcalls. Find more information on the museum and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcast on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits. 
There’s a time machine in downtown Baltimore on Holliday Street. A time machine that will take you back to the origin of public collections of art, history, and science...and then zip you through the present and into the future of museums. The Peale Center, the oldest purpose-built museum space in the US, is starting its third century as a building and its third life as a museum after decades of sitting vacant. But history isn’t repeating itself here. Executive Director Nancy Proctor wants it to be a cultural commons, a storytelling platform, and an experimental lab for the art of the 21st Century museum. TRANSCRIPT This episode is sponsored by The Lyndhurst Group. All the music in this episode is by Outcalls. Find more information on the museum and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcast on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits. 
Prince George’s County, Maryland is one of the wealthiest African American communities in the US, a suburban enclave of Black excellence just outside Washington, D.C. But it wasn’t always that way. At the small (but mighty) Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center, the passionate young Executive Director, Maleke Glee, tells me about the history of the area, the museum’s far-reaching youth programs, and his vision for a museum that’s truly community-led, inclusive, and relevant. DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT This episode is sponsored by The Lyndhurst Group. The featured song in this episode is “Good Morning (feat. Odd Mojo)” by Alex Vaughn. Find more information on the museum and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcast on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits. 
Tucked among other Maryland suburbs outside Washington, D.C., the cute little town of Greenbelt has a surprisingly radical history. It was one of three “green towns” built under the New Deal Era Resettlement Administration, and it was supposed to be a new way of living, a utopia. Was it really a utopia? And how did the model hold up over time? I discover this and more during my visit to the Greenbelt Museum, housed in one of the original 1937 low-income row homes.   This episode is sponsored by The Lyndhurst Group. The featured song in this episode is by Katy Starr. Documentary clips from a 1939 documentary The City. DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT Find more information on the museum and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcast on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits. 
The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland is monument to outsider art, the creative spirit, and the search for truth. Step inside this glittering temple to intuition and inspiration to experience the museum’s marvelous “shows,” each of which comes from the singular mind of the museum’s founder and envisioner, Rebecca Alban Hoffberger. Download Transcript. This episode is sponsored by The Lyndhurst Group. The featured songs in this episode are by The Preschoolers.  Find more information on the museum and photos on my website, hhethmon.com. If you enjoy Museums in Strange Places, please help me keep it going by leaving a review on iTunes or sharing this episode with a friend. Let me know what you think by sending me a tweet @hannah_rfh. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcast on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits. 
In each season of this podcast, I explore a different country, state, or region through its museums. In Season 1, I traveled around Iceland. For season two, I decided to explore my native state of Maryland. I visited 22 of Maryland’s most interesting and unique museums, including America’s first purpose built museum, a historic synagogue, a black history wax museum, a New Deal public housing utopia, the house where Edgar Allan Poe published his first poem, one of the earliest nursing schools in the country, and so many more. On November 14, tune in to hear the first three episodes of Museums in Strange Places, “Season 2: Museums of Maryland.” Join me on my latest adventure, as discover what stories these incredible cultural institutions hold and how they reflect and shape this Maryland’s unique identity. Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcast on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits. Get your copy today on Amazon, where it is available as an ebook, paperback, and Audible audiobook. _____________ Welcome to Museums in Strange Places, a podcast for people who love museums, stories, culture, and exploring the world. In Season 1, the podcast focuses on museums in Iceland. Season 2 will explore the museums of Maryland. I’m your host, Hannah Hethmon, and in each episode I visit a different museum to discover its stories, discuss challenges and triumphs with fascinating museum professionals (and volunteers), and get to know each season’s country, state, or region through it museums. I believe that museums are one of the best ways to discover a place, whether it’s your first time visiting or you’ve lived there your whole life. Join me on this adventure as I get to know the world….one museum as a time. Get bonus material from each episode (photos, further reading, links) at hhethmon.com. Follow me on Twitter @hannah_rfh and Instagram @hannah_rfh. Use the hashtag #MuseumsinStrangePlaces on social media.
Iceland has a lot of weird traditional foods, but nothing compares to fermented shark meat. The family at Bjarnarhöfn has been hunting and fermenting shark meat for nearly 400 years, although today they only process bycatch Greenland sharks. Many years ago, the family opened a Shark Museum at the farm to share their traditions and introduce the world to “hákarl”. In this episode, I get an inside look at how one family continues this traditional method of de-toxifying shark meat while sharing their craft with anyone who’s brave enough to take a bite. (To take advantage of the special offer in the episode, you can send me a message via Twitter, Instagram, or email.)  This episode is sponsored by Locatify. The featured song in this episode is “Mamma þarf að djamma” by Baggalútur. _____________ Welcome to Museums in Strange Places, a podcast for people who love museums, stories, culture, and exploring the world. In Season One, the podcast focuses on museums in Iceland. Season Two (coming Fall 2018) will explore the museums of Maryland. I’m your host, Hannah Hethmon, and in each episode I visit a different museum to discover its stories, discuss challenges and triumphs with fascinating museum professionals (and volunteers), and get to know each season’s country, state, or region through it museums. I believe that museums are one of the best ways to discover a place, whether it’s your first time visiting or you’ve lived there your whole life. Join me on this adventure as I get to know the world….one museum as a time. Get bonus material from each episode (photos, further reading, links) at hhethmon.com. Follow me on Twitter @hannah_rfh and Instagram @hannah_rfh. Use the hashtag #MuseumsinStrangePlaces on social media.
What would it look like if Indiana Jones was into volcanoes and created a museum in a small Icelandic village? The Volcano Museum in Stykkishólmur displays the art and geological specimens collected by volcanologist Haralður Sigurðsson from around the world during his many decades of exploration and research. I speak to museum manager, Filip Polách—a Czech photographer who fell in love with Iceland—about how an Icelandic eruption may have started the French Revolution and how the museum came to have an original Andy Warhol painting of Vesuvius. This episode is sponsored by Locatify. Locatify is an Icelandic software company specializing in mobile apps that use location technologies for Immersive audio guides, treasure hunt games, Augmented Reality and indoor GPS.  Songs used in this episode are "Intro" and "Burning Bridges" by Ceasetone. _____________ Welcome to Museums in Strange Places, a podcast for people who love museums, stories, culture, and exploring the world. In Season One, the podcast focuses on museums in Iceland. Season Two (coming Fall 2018) will explore the museums of Maryland. I’m your host, Hannah Hethmon, and in each episode I visit a different museum to discover its stories, discuss challenges and triumphs with fascinating museum professionals (and volunteers), and get to know each season’s country, state, or region through it museums. I believe that museums are one of the best ways to discover a place, whether it’s your first time visiting or you’ve lived there your whole life. Join me on this adventure as I get to know the world….one museum as a time. Get bonus material from each episode (photos, further reading, links) at hhethmon.com. Follow me on Twitter @hannah_rfh and Instagram @hannah_rfh. Use the hashtag #MuseumsinStrangePlaces on social media.  
Walk into the War and Peace Museum, a small building sitting on a fjord north of Reykjavík, Iceland, and you're instantly transported into another era. Covering every wall are carefully arranged artifacts, photographs, and documents from the WWII years in Iceland. This is Guðjón Sigmundsson's personal collection, and it's full of surprises and uncovered secrets. This episode is sponsored by Locatify. Locatify is an Icelandic software company specializing in mobile apps that use location technologies for Immersive audio guides, treasure hunt games, Augmented Reality and indoor GPS.  Songs used in this episode are SS Montclare and Ballfiðringur by Tómas R. Einarsson. In this episode I reference episode 13 of Museums in Strange Places, "A Flyby of the Icelandic Aviation Museum." _______ Museums in Strange Places is a podcast for people who love museums, stories, culture, and exploring the world. In Season One, the podcast focuses on museums in Iceland.  Subscribe to Museums in Strange Places and you can expect fascinating conversations with Icelandic museum professionals, world class exhibitions, private museums in gas stations, an introduction to Icelanders and their knack for storytelling, and a unique window into the inner workings of museums on this strange but wonderful little island. Get bonus material from each episode (photos, further reading, links) at hhethmon.com. Use the hashtag #MuseumsinStrangePlaces on social media. The podcast is hosted by Hannah Hethmon, an independent museum professional living in Warsaw, Poland. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @hannah_rfh or on the web at hhethmon.com. Hannah has a BA in English Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park and an MA from the University of Iceland in Medieval Icelandic Studies. After completing her MA, she spent two years as the Marketing Coordinator for the American Association for State and Local History and most recently completed a Fulbright Fellowship on language and museums in Iceland. 
Bonus! I go behind-the-scenes with Locatify's Steinunn Anna Gunnlaugsdóttir to talk about the making of Eldheimar's location-aware audio guide app (E19: Memorial to an Eruption). We chat about how Locatify joined the Eldheimar project, the beacon technology used in Eldheimar, and their new hyper-precise ultra-wideband system for museum apps. Locatify is an Icelandic software company specializing in mobile apps that use location technologies for Immersive audio guides, treasure hunt games, Augmented Reality and indoor GPS.
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