Sunday, June 10, 2012

Week 1- World Famous Bathrooms and Brats

Hi everyone!

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Ashleigh and I'm a hopeful future art museum employee. I'm an Anthropology and Art History major, Museum Studies minor at Beloit College.

First off, welcome to this little writing project of mine.  In the spirit of full disclosure, this blog is part of a self-designed summer course created to supplement my internship at the John Micheal Kohler Art Center (JMKAC) in Sheboygan, WI.  

I hope to use this blog for 3 main purposes:
1. Reflect upon and process my experiences at JMKAC as opposed to my prior experiences at other museums.
2. Begin building an image as a museum professional, including networking and communication skills.
3. Generally improving my writing.

In order to receive a Museum Studies minor here at Beloit, students are required to complete at least one internship with a museum. My internship here at the Art Center is my second formal internship though, I've had several other museum experiences.  I started as an Exhibitions Assistant at the Wright Museum of Art.  I've done a little bit of everything there, from preparing a gallery for exhibition, curating, organizing the 54th annual Beloit and Vicinity Juried Show, collections care and management, and even a little bit of integrated pest management and bug identification!

Arranging works for the 54th Annual Beloit and Vicinity. I swear, I don't always curate shows in hot pink shorts.

Installing the 55th Beloit and Vicinity this summer with Emily, my better curatorial half.
I've worked a bit as well with the Logan Museum of Anthropology on campus, though my most cherished memory was cleaning ladybugs out of the visible storage unit (affectionately called "the cube").  Last summer I also worked at the McHenry County Historical Society  as a collections intern helping with some rehousing and collections processing. Having been through all these experiences, I would strongly urge all high school and college students to find internships in the fields in which they are interested.  I had originally planned to go into archaeology, but after an experience digging a site, I found I didn't really like digging up stuff as much as I simply enjoyed playing with the stuff that was dug up.  Hence, museum work fit the bill!  You'll never know if you like a job until you actually experience it first hand.

I truly did enjoy digging in a skirt though.
So back to Sheboygan, WI, Bratwurst Capital of the World (see for one example of it's fame).  Some of you may have noticed that my museum experience thus far has been with smaller museum institutions, with fewer than 5 full time staff. In order to diversify my experiences in a museum setting, the JMKAC internship seemed like a good fit both with my scholarly interests (contemporary art) and museum interests (exhibits and collections), along with having a staff of roughly 75 people. I am incredibly interested to witness in action, since I'm used to only working with one or two other people on a project.

The John Micheal Kohler Art Center contrary to popular belief is not owned by the Kohler company, though you'll see later that toilets and faucets do play a fundamental part in the museum beyond waste management.  For those of you wondering how my blog title (and this post title) tie into my work at JMKAC, I'll have to digress a bit into my actual project for the summer.  I will be working with another intern from Beloit to help research artists that took part in the Kohler Factory and museum's joint Arts/Industry Residency.  This program allows artists unlimited access to materials at the Kohler factory, in exchange for donating one completed piece of work to both institutions at the end of the residency.  Five bathrooms have been created as a result of this program in the Art Center. So far I've only managed to snap photos of 3:

The main women's bathroom

The family bathroom

The men's bathroom

These porcelain palaces have since been voted one of the "World's Greatest Public Bathrooms" and I hope you can tell why! (See for just one of many articles on these bathrooms!) I think my favorite is the family bathroom so far.  I just love the word play and colors.

Obligatory myspace profile pic pose

I promise there will be many more bathroom pictures to come on this blog, but as for the rest of the content, I'd love to hear some opinions.  I have a few ideas involving the current exhibitions going on at the Art Center, along with profiling artists from the Arts/Industry program that I find interesting as I'm researching and just providing updates of the day to day happenings here.  Please comment or message me if you have any questions or special requests! If not, please help me along this journey by subscribing to the rss feed or just dropping by every once in a while to say hi! 

Thanks for reading-


P.S.  All credit for the awesome blog title goes to my good friend Julia. She is amazing.

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