IUPUI alumna receives Kennedy Center leadership award for arts accessibility program

unnamedINDIANAPOLIS — An IUPUI alumna recently received a prestigious national award for a project helping to open the world of cultural arts to people with disabilities.

Kristina Johnson, a 2013 museum studies graduate in the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is the recipient of a Kennedy Center Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Award in recognition of her work with AcessIndy.

Part of IUPUI’s Cultural Heritage Research Center, AccessIndy is a program designed to unite museum and cultural arts professionals as they work toward improving access and inclusion within their organizations. In addition to developing a Web-based resource library, AccessIndy has been offering a series of roundtable discussions for museum and cultural professionals about access and inclusion in the Indiana arts.

“I had discovered NYC’s Museum Access Consortium at the (2012) LEAD conference and used that group as a model for what we’re doing in Indianapolis,” Johnson said. She also credits conference presentations by Betty Siegel, president emeritus of Kennesaw State University, and Lynn Walsh, manager of guest access and inclusiveness at Chicago’s Children Museum, as inspirations for AccessIndy.

Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Awards are given to “outstanding arts administrators and institutions whose leadership and work furthers the field of accessibility.” Johnson was one of four recipients honored during the 14th annual LEAD conference held Aug. 1 to 6 in Chicago.

“To the extent that a LEAD Award recognizes not just impact in the community, but outstanding professionals in the field, I can think of no more deserving recipient than Kris Johnson,” said Elizabeth Kryder-Reid, associate professor of museum studies and director of the Cultural Heritage Research Center. “Her work in Indianapolis is a classic example of what happens when seeds are planted in fertile ground. … It has been a catalyst for sharing information across institutions and for individual organizations to build their capacity to be more inclusive and accessible to all audiences.”

Johnson launched AccessIndy in November 2012. She plans to expand the program as a statewide resource for all cultural arts professionals in Indiana and continue promoting the program as a model for other regions across the U.S.

The LEAD Award “is probably the most meaningful award I could have received because it’s a big ‘thumbs up’ from people whom I deeply admire and validates that I’m on the right track in my career,” Johnson said. “That being said, I’m not doing this work all by myself. I have the support of the Cultural Heritage Research Center, the museum studies program, the Indiana Arts Commission and many museum professionals in Indianapolis. I see this award as a spotlight on Indy as an emerging epicenter of progress in the movement to broaden access and inclusion in the cultural arts.”

Student-orgnaized exhibit opens documenting community history of Near Southside

Split but Not Separated: Recapturing the Legacy of the Near Southside, a new exhibit designed by students in the Museum Methods class, will open on Sunday, April 27, at the Concord Neighborhood Center, 1301 South Meridian.

This pop-up exhibit originates in a class taught by Professor Modupe Labode (History and Museum Studies), and was inspired by an earlier student research project. In 2010, Anthropology students from IUPUI began collecting oral histories, photographs, and other memorabilia from African American and Jewish elders who had grown up together on the Near Southside. This research is captured in the oral history book The Neighborhood of Saturdays, by Professor Sue Hyatt, which was published in 2013 by Dog Ear Press. The exhibit presents another view of the history of the community and moves the story into the future by involving the views of children who are currently participating in programs at the Concord Neighborhood Center. The exhibit is open from 2-4 p.m., and the program begins at 2:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact Modupe Labode, Assistant Professor of History and Museum Studies, mlabode@iupui.edu, 274-3829.

IUPUI faculty and students help FBI identify cultural artifacts

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis anthropology and museum studies faculty and students are assisting the FBI in identifying and preserving cultural artifacts found in the home of a Rush County, Ind., man.

The FBI and its multidisciplinary team are working on repatriating items of cultural patrimony.

Larry J. Zimmerman, professor of anthropology and museum studies; Holly Cusack-McVeigh, assistant professor of anthropology and museum studies; and Charmayne “Charli” Champion-Shaw, director of the Office of America Indian Programs at IUPUI, are among the art, cultural and museum experts working as consultants at the site about 35 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

“Our job is to assist the FBI in the identification of artifacts, help as liaisons with Native Americans and take care of the artifacts in keeping with best museum practices and FBI evidential procedures,” Zimmerman said. Zimmerman also holds the title of Public Scholar of Native American Representation, a shared position with the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.

Students and alumni of museum studies classes taught by Cusack-McVeigh, also Public Scholar of Collections and Community Curation, are helping to handle the artifacts as they are registered, photographed and packaged.

The IUPUI faculty and students participated in an FBI briefing April 1 and a press conference April 2 about the matter. At this time, the IUPUI professors and students are not available for additional media interviews.

Elee Wood to speak on experiencing objects in U.S. museums

The School of Liberal Arts Sabbatical Speaker Series
Campus Center, Room 268
Friday January 31, 2014
4:30 PM – 5:30 p.m.

Professor Elee Wood, Museum Studies, will present a talk entitled “Around the Country in 52 Museums: Finding the Objects of Experience.”

Everyday objects remind us about stories from our lives. Explore how museums can build these connections to transform visitor experiences.

RSVP: libarsvp@iupui.edu with Elee Wood talk in the subject line.

Historic Deerfield, Inc. 2014 Undergraduate Fellowship Program in Early American History and Material Culture

Historic Deerfield, Inc. invites applications for an intensive Summer Fellowship Program in History and Material Culture in Deerfield, MA. Undergraduates enrolled as either juniors or seniors as of January 1, 2014 are eligible for 7 openings in the program, which is designed for students in American Studies, Architecture, Archeology, Art and Art History, Design, History, Material Culture, Preservation and Museum Studies. Each participant receives a full fellowship that covers all expenses associated with the program, including tuition, room and board, and field trips. Limited stipends are available for students with demonstrated need to help cover lost summer income.

Summer Fellows:

  • Live in the historic village
  • Explore history and material culture studies in hands-on classroom seminars, walking tours and room studies with Historic Deerfield staff and visiting lecturers
  • Learn to guide and interpret in Historic Deerfield’s furnished museum houses
  • Conduct original research on New England history and material culture
  • using museum and library collections
  • Go on behind-the-scenes visits to historic sites in New England and take a week-long road trip to museums in the mid-Atlantic and Virginia

Program dates: June 9-August 10, 2014.

Application deadline: February 7, 2014.

Applications are accepted online 

Contact: Barbara A. Mathews Phone: (413) 775-7207; email: bmathews@historic-deerfield.org

IUPUI professor receives Association of Midwest Museums Distinguished Service Award

The Association of Midwest Museums has honored an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor for long-term distinguished service to the museum profession.

Elizabeth Kryder-Reid, who teaches museum studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, is the recipient of the 2012 Association of Midwest Museums Distinguished Service Award. The association’s awards committee unanimously voted to present the annual award to Kryder-Reid in recognition of her outstanding commitment to the association and her exemplary service to the museum profession.

The IUPUI professor accepted the award today during a ceremony at the association’s general conference, which takes place through July 26 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.

The Association of Midwest Museums, established in 1927, provides programs and services to museums throughout an eight-state region in the Midwest. More than 400 museum professionals are attending this year’s association conference in Indianapolis. The three-day event features outstanding sessions, guest speakers, and tours and receptions at museums in the host city.