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For Your Consideration 10.4

The National Docent Symposium

The volunteer docents of the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, are hosting the National Docent Symposium on October 6 -10, 2001. The theme of the Symposium is River Odyssey . . . An Extended Journey.

In addition to the McNay, other institutions with volunteer docent programs will participate in the Symposium. The Witte Museum, the Alamo, King William District of historic homes, the Botanical Gardens, San Antonio Zoo, San Jose Mission, San Antonio Central Library, and the Southwest School of Art and Craft are among those facilities that will host off-site presentations. You will also have an opportunity meet with Jackie Littleton, Associate Editor of The Docent Educator, who will represent this publication at the “Marketplace of Ideas” and who will conduct back-to-back workshops on “Taming Troublesome Teachers.”

For further information regarding registration, call Joann Neal at (830) 980-9779, or fax her at (830) 980-4948.

What’s in a Name

AASLH reports that the first Internet address expansion since the 1980’s was approved recently, and includes .museum. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved the creation of seven new top level domains out of forty-seven applications. This means museums will have the option of creating Internet addresses using the new extension .museum in addition to .org.

The new address allows the Internet community to distinguish museums from other non-profit organizations and enables searchers to more efficiently locate cultural organizations in their communities.

Existing domain names will not be affected by the new offering. Museums will have the opportunity to create new address and keep old addresses or pick one or the other.

Organizations that represent museums, such as national, regional, state, and local associations, will also have the opportunity to use the new top level domain. For more information visit:

An Award Winning Restoration

Congratulations to the Kona Historical Society’s Uchida Coffee Farm, on the Big Island of Hawaii! KHS won a National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The preservation work took nearly three years and involved hundreds of people, most of whom were volunteers.

The Uchida Coffee Farm preserves a way of life that has persevered for over 100 years — that of coffee farming on the slopes of Hualalai, an inactive volcano on the Kona coast of Hawaii. Japanese families have been involved in this form of agriculture from its inception, and they pioneered some of the technology that took Hawaiian coffee farming from a fledgling industry to one that competes on the world market.

Now school children, community members, and tourists can learn about the acculturation of Japanese immigrants, about rural life in Hawaii during the early 20* century, and about the labor-intensive demands of small farms. When touring the modest Uchida family home, visitors will have experiences that delight their senses of sight, taste, and smell, while learning about Japanese, local Hawaiian, and European customs, traditions, and farming techniques.

Museums, Fun, and the Internet — A 1960’s Campbell Soup dress, a 1400’s alabaster sculpture of a mourner, Cezanne’s Still Life with Apples and a Pot of Primroses — exploring at New York’s online Metropolitan Museum of Art is a dizzying adventure. You can browse through the museum’s extensive permanent exhibits, plus sample special shows. — The Tokyo National Museum is worth a visit for its Japanese and Asian art. View items like the serene 17th Century screen — Family Enjoying the Evening Cool— that shows a mother, father, and child resting by their home. — You can spend weeks with the pictures, songs, videos, and other items at the American Memory site of the Library of Congress. One photo shows a crowd lined up for hot dogs at Brooklyn’s Ebbetts Field. There’s also a series of recordings of American fiddle music and a 1903 Alphonse and Gaston film clip, to cite just a few of this site’s offerings. — Russia’s premier art collection is in St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace, onetime home of Russian czars and now a museum. Virtual tours show both the art and the gilded surroundings.

Think of the Message

Before being escorted into a gallery in a science museum, a group of visitors were told by a “facilitator” that they would be viewing a five-minute, educational video. Then the facilitator turned to his audience and said, “I know, I know, ‘education’ is a dirty word. But this short program isn’t bad.”

What kind of message does that send to visitors! Such statements reveal the importance of forethought and the benefits that can be derived from frequent evaluations.

“For Your Consideration,” The Docent Educator 10.4 (Summer 2001): 8-9.

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