RK&A BLOG

Combining experiences at the helm of nature and science museums with insights from literature and courses on leadership, Emlyn Koster reflects on the corporate roots of this trend and its application to the museum sector. An unfortunate paradox surrounds the subject of organizational structure. On the one hand, it is the primary tool for configuring...
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By: Rachel Nicholson Having drafted new labels, we want to ensure our approach is actually meaningful to our audiences at the Nelson-Atkins before putting them on the walls. We’re currently in the process of evaluating our new labels to better understand their impact on visitors. Our approach for label evaluations is usually to do random...
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By: Rachel Nicholson, Jocelyn Edens, and Ariana Chaivaranon In our workshops with curatorial colleagues (which we wrote about in the last post), we continually heard certain ideas rise to the surface about shared principles for interpretive text at the Nelson-Atkins. These included: Complexity: a label can be an invitation to explore the object and ideas...
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RK&A was honored to work with the Saint Louis Art Museum in 2019 to evaluate their longstanding Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellowship, which prepares outstanding museum professionals from historically underrepresented groups (particularly people of color) to become leaders in the field.  The Bearden Fellowship was one of the first diversity-focused fellowships in the museum world—established...
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By: Rachel Nicholson In my last post, I wrote about harm reduction as a philosophy and how it might be applied to rethinking museum labels. In this post, I’ll explain just how we started these conversations at the Nelson-Atkins and put our ideas in action. This project is on-going, and we have certainly stumbled along...
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Whether or not public programs are again canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Earth Day each April 22 warrants the engagement of the museum sector. Emlyn Koster explains why. “Earth Day 1970 gave a voice to an emerging public consciousness about the state of our planet — In the decades leading up to the first...
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It’s always a pleasure to share this page with our friends and colleagues in museums.  Today we’re delighted to share the first post in a new four-part series by Rachel Nicholson from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (located in Kansas City, MO).  Every two weeks throughout April and May, Rachel will highlight her team’s efforts...
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The next time our senses are filled with an orchestral experience, Emlyn Koster suggests we take away some contemplative lessons for the needs of museums.  A lecture titled ‘The Two Solitudes’ by novelist and chemist C.P. Snow at the University of Cambridge in 1959 became famous. It voiced alarm that the sciences and humanities had...
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It has been three months since we pledged our commitment to anti-racist practices. We at RK&A, individually and collectively, pledge our commitment to being anti-racist—which we recognize as an ongoing pursuit through our everyday actions. To hold ourselves accountable, we want to document publicly the work we have been doing and work still to be...
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Emlyn Koster urges the museum sector to combine operational recovery efforts with strategic pathways towards a more holistic societal and environmental future.  “The very subject of our discussion shows the painful anxiety and uncertainty with which we search for our proper function in the national struggle for a better future.” What sounds like a synopsis...
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