Science/Botanical Museums

Debbie Kennedy, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada, Facilitator              

Elizabeth Evans, Textile Museum of Canada., Toronto, Canada

Joan Harrison, The Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology & Archeology, Philadelphia, PA

Barbara Kielhauer, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada  

Sally Shwartz, Rhode Island School of Design, and Roger Williams Garden, RI

Ann Wilcox, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada          


I. Challenge: How to encourage docents from science and botanical (and other non-fine art) institutions to attend a symposium.

  • There is a misconception that the symposium is for art museum docents only.
  • Science and art are seen as independent from one another.
  • There is a perception that science may be 'fixed' knowledge as opposed to constantly evolving art forms.
  • The history of the symposium is more art museum based, especially when considering the host institutions.


II. Suggestions 

  • More science museums need to get involved because of the different strategies involved.
  • Conservation crosses borders between science and art. In art museums it involves much chemistry.
  • The association of Philadelphia docents with a membership drawn from all kinds of institutions is a legacy of the Philadelphia symposium, and this kind of regional organization is a good example of encouraging non-art museum docents to participate in a wider format.
  • Mixing media in exhibitions: involving photography, sculpture, etc would help us to move from art theory only to technology.
  • The history of acquisitions is science based information.
  • Distributing cards with new NDSC website address to docents at non art related cultural institutions would be a good means of encouraging better attendance at the Symposia.


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