[open-heritage] American material culture blog

Hillary Murtha hillarymurtha at gmail.com
Mon Oct 8 15:45:30 UTC 2012


I am writing to introduce you to my newly-launched blog on American
material culture,

www.themeaningsofthings.org/wordpress. Please take a look at it.

Each week, I will be featuring a different object along with an
interpretive essay that I write.

Among other things, I hope to showcase museum objects that are not
available to the public on account of their being kept in storage (under
the category “Hidden Museum Treasures.”) I’d like to provide museums with
an alternative venue in which to display, virtually, objects they cannot
show inside their walls.

I hope I may interest some of you in participating in my project.

Needless to say, all museums will be fully credited for the use of images
of their objects, and a link to the museum website included in the related

Besides writing the essays myself, I am open to having guest editors submit
essays as well. If I am the author of the essay relating to a museum
object, I will submit my essay to the institution’s curator prior to its
publication on my blog, for any corrections or editorial suggestions.

I realize that what I am proposing is far more simply said than done; as a
former museum curator myself, I am aware that even small museums may have
hundreds, if not thousands of objects in storage, of great variety, and
that catalogs can be labyrinthine in their complexity. I know that rights
and reproductions issues can also be problematic.

This letter is simply to elicit interest. *If you are interested in taking
part in this project, please contact me*, and then we can work towards a
way in which I can either search your collections database, or take
suggestions for topics based upon your collections, or in some other way to
work together. I live in the East Coast tristate metropolitan area and
often travel to attend conferences, so that direct meetings are possible in
many cases.

I want my blog to be accessible to a non-academic audience, but am also
interested in its use a teaching tool. I am building a bibliography page
that will hopefully be useful to teachers and students. I would value
feedback on this point, as well.

Yours in the spirit of cooperative ventures,

Hillary Murtha, Ph.D

American history and material culture

Hmurtha at udel.edu
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