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StoriesHere Podcast

Author: Wayne Parker

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StoriesHere features interesting conversations with museum leaders around the country. It was inspired by working with museums and tagging along on some special tours. Wow, those leaders know great stories and are good storytellers! So we thought giving them easy access to podcast episodes would be great for listeners and the museum. Thanks to everyone who makes museums go, to the people who created all the stories in the first place. A special thanks to Advisor Alice Parman, a museum leader and consultant who has helped to guide this podcast. It's a tough time for all places that depend on guests, so please support museums of your choice.
32 Episodes
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The world's largest children's museum holds lots of stories.  Here's a fascinating conversation about many of them with Jennifer Pace Robinson, the Executive Vice President of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Did you know she's helped design children's museums all over the world?  Find out what that's like, and how children's museums are really for adults too. Thank you to our StoriesHere Advisor Alice Parman and Audio Engineer George Davidson. Hear more fascinating conversations with museum leaders in other StoriesHere episodes.
Direct from the world’s only superhero and comic museum, this is a heroic conversation with Allen Stewart, Director and Founder of the Hall of Heroes – Superhero Museum in Elkhart, Indiana.  You'll appreciate Allen's insight and knowledge, along with some surprises, about the history of Superheroes. Superheroes are important in so many ways….discover how they've changed and why they've endured for so long. Learn more about the Museum at https://hallofheroesmuseum.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hohmuseum/. StoriesHere is a volunteer project based in Eugene, Oregon created by people who think museums are important and fun.  Our mission is to highlight a variety of museums through conversations with their leaders. Special thanks to Alice Parman, Advisor, and George Davidson, Audio Engineer.  The host is Wayne Parker.
Museum Of Bad Art

Museum Of Bad Art

2021-02-2226:29

Here’s a surprising, funny and important conversation with Louise Reilly Sacco, Permanent Acting Interim Executive Director, Museum Of Bad Art in Boston, MA, US. Website: museumofbadart.org and Facebook:  Museum of Bad Art. MOBA – Museum Of Bad Art – ‘art too bad to be ignored’.  The world’s only museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms.  Our growing collection of works of Bad Art awaits your discerning eye. The World’s Ten Most Unusual Museums You Should Visit – The Culture Trip Only Top TEN?  A newspaper in New Delhi says it’s one of the world’s SIX must-see museums. You won’t want to miss this surprising conversation with Louise, and tell your friends! ‘Sunday on the Pot With George’ – John Gedraitis Click here for CBS feature of this painting ‘Lucy in the Field with Flowers’ – Anonymous
Today's episode is part of Museum Mondays, a conversation with Jane Turner of the Children's Museum of Atlanta.  The title is a comment of hers about how children see the world. Jane is the Executive Director, Children’s Museum of Atlanta, 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr., Atlanta, GA  30313, Phone (404) 659-5437 - Website: childrensmuseumatlanta.org Here is a comment from the Museum about play... Play is freedom. Play is creativity. Play is important. Children’s Museum of Atlanta empowers kids to “create their own learning adventures” and be free to play. Thank you to Julia Clinch, Brave Public Relations for the help in arranging this episode.  The podcast Host is Wayne Parker, Advisor is Alice Parman and Audio Editor is George Davidson. For more information on children's museums, contact the Association of Children's Museums at https://www.childrensmuseums.org/
With museums facing so many challenges, and opportunities, what a great time to talk with Elizabeth Merritt.  She is the Vice President for Strategic Foresight and Founding Director of the Center for the Future of Museums at the American Alliance of Museums.   We're excited with this episode to launch Museum Mondays, and will have a new StoriesHere episode coming to you every other Monday.  For reminders of each episode, please sign up here, or with your favorite podcast player. Host: Wayne Parker; Advisor: Alice Parman; Audio Editor:  George Davidson Show Notes American Alliance of Museums www.aam-us.org on Twitter @aamers Center for the Future of Museums www.aam-us.org/programs/center-for-the-future-of-museums/ on Twitter @futureofmuseums Subscribe to CFM’s free weekly e-newsletter Dispatches from the Future of Museums  bit.ly/dispatchesfromthefuture The Umbrella Cover Museum: https://www.umbrellacovermuseum.org/ Woodlawn Plantation https://savingplaces.org/places/woodlawn#.X_84JBZ7mUl and it’s work with Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture http://arcadiafood.org/ And a blog post from Woodlawn’s director about this work: https://www.aam-us.org/2011/02/01/saving-the-historic-house-while-saving-the-world/ Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/newsroom/media-kits/sfw-introduction-and-mission Museum of Tomorrow, Sao Paulo, Brazil https://museudoamanha.org.br/en Blog posts about their AI chatbot IRIS+ : https://www.aam-us.org/2018/06/12/iris-part-one-designing-coding-a-museum-ai/ https://www.aam-us.org/2018/06/19/iris-part-two-how-to-embed-a-museums-personality-and-values-in-ai/ Facts about America’s Museums https://www.aam-us.org/programs/about-museums/ The Dunkleosteus fossil at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History that made Elizabeth pee her pants as a toddler https://www.cmnh.org/dunk
This StoriesHere episode features a conversation with Jennifer Grant Warner, President and CEO of Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, Georgia.  Stories range from the very different experience of being in an old growth forest, to how to pronounce Argentinosaurus (I failed).  Below is a little background from their website on why the title refers to ‘The Audacity of Hope’.  Then join our conversation to learn about this place in Atlanta ‘Where Science, Nature and Fun Make History’! "In the late 1800’s a young woman named Emily Harrison played in one of Atlanta, Georgia’s woodlands. Later in life, she would help preserve 65 acres of land that she played on, which she called “Fernbank.”  As Atlanta grew and became more urbanized, woodlands were disappearing.  In 1939, with the assistance of other “conservation‐minded environmentalists,” she purchased Fernbank Forest with its creek and forest of ferns.    Fernbank Museum of Natural History may be the only natural history museum to ‘grow’ out of the forest.  The museum opened in 1992, and in 2001 the museum became the first to display the world’s largest dinosaurs as a part of their permanent exhibition."
A Gem in Tulsa

A Gem in Tulsa

2020-08-2139:431

This conversation is with Laura Fry, Senior Curator and Curator of Art for the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The discussion includes topics from "Did the Supreme Court really give eastern Oklahoma back to the native Americans?".....to what kids can teach us about art, the role painter Thomas Moran played in establishing our national park system, and the rare opportunity to plan a completely new museum. And how a museum with the largest collection of American western art is a bit of a hidden gem.  Perhaps that will be changing with the construction and opening of an expansive new building. And more about the Museum from their web site...."Thomas Gilcrease, a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation, established Gilcrease Museum in 1949 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Today the interdisciplinary collection contains more than 350,000 items. The museum represents hundreds of Indigenous cultures from across North and South America, with material culture and archaeology ranging from 12,000 BCE to the 21st century. The collection includes more than 350 years of American paintings, sculptures and works on paper, including the largest public holdings of art of the American West."
Greetings, Wayne Parker here, with a conversation about Nordic culture, which is today more important than ever. And we’ll get to that, and some intriguing stories in a moment. First, some of you may be wondering, are Nordic countries the same as Scandinavian ones? For the answer we’ll go to Eric Nelson, CEO and Executive Director of the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, who was the 2019 Swedish American of the Year. And previously Eric was recognized as a Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland by the President of the country himself. We have many more questions for Eric. This is the StoriesHere podcast, which exists because museums hold some of our most important, and interesting, stories. We talk with people who know those stories best, leaders from museums around the country. Our episodes have included stories of science and nature, and cultures such as Latino, African American, Jewish and more.
This episode is a conversation with Leslie Anderson, the Director of Collections, Exhibitions, and Programs for the spectacular National Nordic Museum in Seattle. Leslie was a Fulbright scholar and worked at the National Gallery of Denmark. In this episode she talks about the importance of oral history, stories of the Sami people, and why museums collect. There is much to learn about what Nordic culture can teach us about today’s challenges.
Some remarkable stories from this conversation with Dan'l Lewin, a leader of the computer revolution. This episode ranges from Steve Jobs to professional wrestling to art, and the story and promise of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. This episode is also featured in Jonny Evans' wonderful article in Computer World. Transcript StoriesHere Podcast Conversation with Dan’l Lewin, President and CEO of the Computer History Museum Parker: This is Wayne Parker of StoriesHere, and today’s episode is a remarkable conversation with the President and CEO of the Computer History Museum, in the heart of Silicon Valley. That’s Dan’l Lewin, and Dan’l is spelled d a n ‘ l. We’ll start with my question about the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer, who was such a legend and an enigma to many people. And Dan’l knew him about as well as anyone, both professionally and personally. So I asked if Dan’l could sit down on the porch with him for a talk, what would that be like, what questions did he think they might ask each other? You knew the late Steve Jobs professionally and personally about as well as anyone. If you could sit down with him on the porch for a talk, what would that be about, what questions do you think you might ask each other? Lewin: I think Steve would probably be focused very very intently on putting the control back in the person's hands. And right now some of the business models that have emerged have really relegated the individual to the product and I think he would have some sense of responsibility. It's trying to put that promise back in the system. That's what I would think and I would want to talk to him about that. Parker: That’s Dan’l Lewin, computer pioneer and now President and CEO of the Computer History Museum. Hello, this is Wayne Parker of the StoriesHere Podcast. And we’re speaking with him remotely at his office at the museum, in Mountain View, California in the heart of Silicon Valley. And Dan’l, that’s spilled D A N ' L ,was a leader at Apple, co-founder with Steve Jobs of NeXT, and later head of the Microsoft presence in Silicon Valley, along with a number of other roles. And there are three related trivia questions in this episode. I put Dan’l on the spot and he got all of them right, so you can hear the answers from him a little later. Here are the questions: - What was the name of the first personal computer? - When was it first sold, and - Where was Microsoft founded (hint: it wasn’t in the Seattle area) Let's get to this wonderful conversation. Dan’l, thanks for being with us today. Lewin: Glad to be here. Parker: So your background, for people that don't know, you were at Sony and Apple and you were at NeXT and Microsoft. Could you tell us about how you got to Apple and then how you got to NeXT from there? Lewin: Sure glad to again Wayne. Thanks for having me. Well as you mentioned I worked initially, it's Sony I was coming out of. College in 1976 in the very early part of 1977 went to work for Sony at a small office in Cupertino, California, which everything South of San Francisco down to Monterey Bay Area and it was the beginning of would consider the microprocessor Revolution which evolved very rapidly into the personal computer the irony of. Taking that job which came about through serendipity and her college roommate. Was that a week after I started the two Steve's jobs and Wozniak left the garage and rented the office space next to my little 600 square foot office where there were were five people and within about a year of joining that office. I was running the office and looking after what is the core of Silicon Valley and then again from South San Francisco down to Monterey. Long story short there is most people know Steve Jobs was very keen on design. And in those days in particular Sony was the definitive us Japanese company in terms of consumer electronics as a result of design and they charged a premium bas...
This episode is an important and fascinating conversation with Judith Margles, Director of the Oregon Jewish Museum. OJMCHE In June 2017 Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education opened the doors of our permanent home at 724 NW Davis Street, on the North Park Blocks in downtown Portland. The museum’s main gallery features rotating exhibitions of national and international stature. Three core exhibits anchor the museum: Discrimination and Resistance, An Oregon Primer, which identifies discrimination as a tool used to affect varied groups of people over the history of this region; The Holocaust, An Oregon Perspective, a history of the Holocaust that employs the stories of Oregon survivors; and Oregon Jewish Stories, an installation focused on the experience of the Jews of Oregon. The museum also features a robust series of public programming including films, lectures, musical events, and programs in support of exhibitions. In addition, OJMCHE has a museum shop, a café, and a children’s play area. OREGON HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL The Oregon Holocaust Memorial situated in Portland’s Washington Park is free and open to the public from dawn until dark every day of the year and is ADA-accessible. The Memorial serves as a permanent reminder of the Holocaust, the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews and millions of others by the Nazi regime and its collaborators from 1933 to 1945. By teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and visiting the Memorial, we pay homage to those who lost their lives during that period. This is Wayne Parker, having an important conversation today remotely with Judy Margles, who is in her office in Portland, Oregon, where she is Director of the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. The Museum tells the important stories of many oppressed peoples, and she’s going to start today with one about African Americans in Oregon.
This episode is an important conversation with Kevin Cabrera, Executive Director of the Heritage Museum of Orange County. Learn more at their website at https://heritagemuseumoc.org/. Heritage Museum of Orange County is home to the H.Clay Kellogg House and John Maag Farmhouse. Heritage Museum of OC is dedicated to preserving, promoting and restoring the heritage of Orange County and surrounding region through Hands-on, Minds-on interactive education. Heritage Museum of Orange County… Is a cultural and natural history center in Southern California. The centerpiece of the museum, which covers nearly 12 acres in all, is a historic plaza featuring several buildings from the 1890s set amid extensive floral gardens and citrus groves. Among the buildings is the Kellogg House familiar to teachers and students throughout Orange County as a favorite field trip destination for over 30 years. Recent additions to the museum include our Gospel Swamp Farm and the restoration of our Blacksmith Shop. The farm project is maintained by local high school and college volunteers. We’re currently installing a “Borrowing Barn” for tool lending and we utilize produce from the farm for our children’s educational programs and other museum events. Previously on site there was a fully operational blacksmith shop that was headquarters for the Orange County Blacksmith Guild and guild members held regular blacksmith classes. Unfortunately, the shop burned down in the wee hours of July 4, 2019 and it is now necessary to rebuild the shop. Demonstrations are still being provided for our educational programs, however no definitive schedule has been assigned for the completion of the rebuild. The latest major campaign for the museum is to restore the John A. Maag Farmhouse. The home, built in 1899, features three stories in 5,600 square feet of interior living space and is planned for the housing of museum archives, offices and exhibitions. Two original outbuildings of the Maag Farmhouse currently house offices, meeting space and our gift shop.
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site Conversation with Sean Kelley – Senior Vice President and Director of Interpretation.  This is Part 2 of our conversation. These are remarkable stories....here's a bit of history that's discussed in the episode: “A group of prominent Americans were horrified by the conditions in the jails. They met, just after the American Revolution, in the home of Benjamin Franklin. They had a great 18th century name for their organization: “The Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons" and they were the first prison reform group in the world. They believed convicts needed time alone—in silence, to rediscover their good nature. The early prison reformers saw solitary confinement, not as a punishment, but an as opportunity for reflection. A chance to become penitent.” ....but they were wrong, at least in the way Eastern State was built and operated: "There is but one step between the prisoner and insanity.” Inmate James Morton Senator and POW John McCain - "It’s an awful thing, solitary,” John McCain wrote of his five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam—more than two years of it spent in isolation in a fifteen-by-fifteen-foot cell, unable to communicate with other P.O.W.s except by tap code, secreted notes, or by speaking into an enamel cup pressed against the wall. “It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment.”  Charles Dickens - "I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body".  As Hawthorne relates, Dickens visited several prisoners, including one who was about to be released after two years in solitary confinement. Dickens remarked to his guide that “they trembled very much.” Charles Dickens wrote that the two sites in the United States he most wanted to see were “The falls at Niagara” and the Eastern State Penitentiary.
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site Conversation with Sean Kelley – Senior Vice President and Director of Interpretation.  This is Part 1 of our conversation, and these remarkable stories continue in Part 2. Note from Wayne Parker, Host of the StoriesHere podcast.  "Many years ago while working for the State of California, the newly created SolarCal office, I made an official visit to San Quentin prison with a number of state prison officials.  San Quentin is a maximum security prison and we toured the entire facility, including the death chamber.  The goal at the time was to see if prisoners could be involved in helping produce solar panels in the state.  After the tour we met in Warden George Sumner's office, and he was very emotional, saying 'you have to give me something for them to do'. That story relates to Eastern State, and the mindset of people left continually in solitary confinement with nothing to do. Here's a bit of history of Eastern States that's discussed in the episode: “A group of prominent Americans were horrified by the conditions in the jails. They met, just after the American Revolution, in the home of Benjamin Franklin. They had a great 18th century name for their organization: “The Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons" and they were the first prison reform group in the world. They believed convicts needed time alone—in silence, to rediscover their good nature. The early prison reformers saw solitary confinement, not as a punishment, but an as opportunity for reflection. A chance to become penitent.” ....but they were wrong, at least in the way Eastern State was built and operated: "There is but one step between the prisoner and insanity.” Inmate James Morton Senator and POW John McCain - "It’s an awful thing, solitary,” John McCain wrote of his five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam—more than two years of it spent in isolation in a fifteen-by-fifteen-foot cell, unable to communicate with other P.O.W.s except by tap code, secreted notes, or by speaking into an enamel cup pressed against the wall. “It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment.”  Charles Dickens - "I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body".  As Hawthorne relates, Dickens visited several prisoners, including one who was about to be released after two years in solitary confinement. Dickens remarked to his guide that “they trembled very much.” Charles Dickens wrote that the two sites in the United States he most wanted to see were “The falls at Niagara” and the Eastern State Penitentiary.
We’re talking today about the very special California State Railroad Museum, and with the President and CEO of their Foundation that runs the museum, Cheryl Marcell.  The Museum is stunning, in Old Sacramento along the Sacramento River, at the western end of the transcontinental railroad and also the Pony Express.   And you can hear more great episodes at storieshere.com, and also on your favorite podcast service.
This episode is our conversation with Braden Paynter, Program Manager for the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.  Learn more at sitesofconscience.org, and here is a little background... “Founded in 1999, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (“the Coalition”) is the only worldwide network of Sites of Conscience. With over 275 members in 65 countries, we build the capacity of these vital institutions through grants, networking, training, transitional justice mechanisms and advocacy. These members and partners remember a variety of histories and come from a wide range of settings – including long-standing democracies, countries struggling with legacies of violence, as well as post-conflict regions just beginning to address their transitional justice needs – but they are all united by their common commitment to connect past to present, memory to action.”
What history the Wilton House has seen.  This episode is a conversation with Katie Watkins, Education Director of the Wilton House Museum.  Visitors to the property included Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Patrick Henry.  It was built 1753, was a tobacco plantation with large slave population, and in many ways at the center of much of early American history.
The New Burke

The New Burke

2019-08-2535:09

Burke Museum Podcast Transcript StoriesHere Interview July 15, 2019 Julie Stein, Burke Museum and Wayne Parker, StoriesHere Wayne: Greetings. This is Wayne Parker letting you know that something remarkable is happening on the north end of the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle.  A new museum is about to open and it is unlike any other.  A new 90 million dollar building is completely replacing the old Museum, and not just a new building but a new way for people to experience a museum. Here's Dr. Julie Stein, Executive Director of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture to tell us about the new Museum and how this came about.  And then after this podcast find out more at burkemuseum.org.  Julie: Well, the New Burke is I believe something different from most museums if not all museums, and that we truly, truly tried to turn this museum inside out. There's a story I tell about the Old Burke.  The Old Burke was right adjacent to us and it was a fairly traditional museum that had exhibits about dinosaurs and people of the Pacific.  There were cases with objects and labels and you could read a little bit on the label about whatever it was the Curator was trying to tell you. But when you were done looking at those exhibits you would leave.  Maybe you'd buy something at the shop or the cafe, but you would leave and not understand that there were many other things at the Burke behind the walls that you couldn't see. And I used to give people tours of the Burke. And I would take them downstairs to the basement and there were, down there, cases and cases of objects in archaeology and paleontology, open shelving with big mammoth bones and dinosaur bones and eggs of dinosaurs.  And while you were walking along from archaeological cases you’d stop and see a room full of students and employees, staff, undergrads and graduates. They’d be working on a problem that somebody was trying to solve by looking at an object. And you’d continue walking down the hall and you go past offices with people who worked in our finance department or communications. And then by that time people's mouths were hanging open and they'd say, “I had no idea that you had people in here, that they had jobs, that they were working on collections, that you had collections, that there were this many objects”. And then we would go upstairs to the Culture section and they'd see 9,000 baskets and masks and all kinds of beaded clothing and footwear from all over the Pacific.  And then birds and then mammals.   And you're getting my point here.  By the end of a tour, which usually lasted an hour, sometimes I couldn't get people out of there for an hour and a half! They were just overwhelmed with all the information and all of the interesting, difficult issues that people were using the collections to try to address. And it was so clear to me after doing this for 10 years that the new museum had to give that experience to every single visitor.  (3:50)  Wayne: That's Julie Stein, Executive Director of the Burke Museum, talking about a new approach to the museum experience. Her comments really resonate with me since that kind of guided tour experience that she described was our motivation for launching this StoriesHere Podcast. And imagine moving millions of items from one building to another!  Let's hear that story now.  Julie: It's true. We took possession of the New Burke Museum, which is a new building adjacent to the old Burke Museum. We took possession of it in May of 2018, and we couldn't move anything in before the fire department gave us permission. We started moving like crazy and the last object came over on the last day of February in 2019, so that I think is just roughly about nine months. So we thought of it like we were pregnant! Wayne: I want to hear, of course, a lot more about the New Burke.  First, I did want to ask about your interest in this, and what sparked that interest.
Folklife Stories

Folklife Stories

2019-08-0536:43

Folklife Stories with John Fenn – This episode includes some surprising stories and a peek into the life of a folklorist.  Those stories range from a shootout in Texas to the work of preserving Native American language and cultural heritage materials. John is the Head of Research & Programs at the American Folklife Center, part of the Library of Congress.  He’s married to a folklorist so his kids think that is what everyone does! The song sample at about 8 minutes is “Coal Miner's Blues” from The ToneWay Project.  Learn more at https://toneway.com/songs/coal-miners-blues
This conversation ranges from dinosaurs, stars, drugs, personal computers, and much more...all in the Land of Enchantment.  We are honored to talk with Margie Marino, Executive Director of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque.  Visitors of all ages rave about the range of things to do and learn at the Museum.  New Mexico had a sea coast?  Microsoft was founded there?  Those and more surprises in this fun conversation.
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