Designing the Museum: An Academic Advisory Board

A couple of weeks ago, Shawn and I convened the first meeting of the Museum’s academic advisory board. An open group of faculty from across the university, the board was formed in order to make sure that Oklahoma State University faculty beyond the Art Department have the opportunity to learn about the Museum’s progress, contribute to its design, and develop programming related to their coursework. I also hope that in the future the advisory board will help us review museum policies that have an impact on academic affairs.

Rebecca Bensen-Cain, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, listening to an introduction of the Postal Plaza building as we stand in its lobby.

Our first priority was to get everyone up to speed on the project. Our first meeting therefore involved an introduction to the museum staff, its facilities, our art collection and our current academic programming—which includes our internships, class assignments in studio art, art history, and freshman writing, thesis readings by graduate students in the poetry program, and more. We asked the faculty on the board—from History, Architecture, the Library, Philosophy, and Design, Housing and Merchandising—to spread the word about these opportunities for students, particularly our internships. We also invited them to design their own programming, including future exhibitions.

Paolo Sanza, Associate Professor of Architecture, surveys one of the vaults in the Postal Plaza. Behind him, a section of the concrete floor has been polished—testing a potential finish for the gallery floors.

At the initial meeting, we offered the faculty tours of the Postal Plaza. I am happy to say that showing people the building we are about to renovate is one of my favorite parts of this project. The Postal Plaza, having undergone exploratory demolition, reveals beautiful spaces that are easy to envision as galleries filled with spectacular art, and visitors always leave with a renewed sense of excitement and possibility.

Faculty interested in the advisory board or student internship opportunities can find out more by contacting me (Louise Siddons) or by visiting our website, museum.okstate.edu.

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About osucurator

Louise Siddons is Associate Professor of Art History at Oklahoma State University and founding curator of the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art. She maintains this blog as a record of her students' work with the Museum's permanent collection as well as more generally with topics related to museum studies.
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