What Happened in Museums this Week?

What Happened in Museums This Week? August 17 – 23

Ai Weiwei Exhibit Shines Light On Time As Political Prisoner

Chinese dissident artist and architect Ai Weiwei is an outspoken critic of China’s record on human rights. This year, Beijing prevented him from traveling to Venice for the first exhibition of a deeply autobiographical work. His most recent installation is an excruciatingly detailed depiction of the period he was held in solitary detention. To read more, click here.

American Museum of Agriculture Changes Its Name

Bayer CropScience and the American Museum of Agriculture announced a sponsorship agreement to rename the museum the “Bayer Museum of Agriculture,”  helping to further preserve, promote and display its cotton industry collection dating back to the 1600’s. To read more, click here.

Museum Crowdsources Funds to Restore Grauman’s Chinese Theatre’s Neon Dragon

There are changes afoot at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, bringing the globally-recognized venue into the modern era of movie-going, but there’s a piece of its history that needs a light.

Once upon a time two neon dragons lit up the marquees of the theatre that has seen millions of fans flock to its foot- and hand-print courtyard, and stars over the decades trod its carpets for premieres. L.A.’s Museum of Neon Art (MONA) acquired the two dragons in 2007, and gifted one to a local non-profit, but wants to get the other one up and running at their facility. To do so, MONA has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding venture. To read more, click here.

New Museum Of History Of Polish Jews In Warsaw Becomes Symbol Of Jewish Revival In Region

It used to be that young Israelis and Jews from across the globe would visit Poland and other countries in central and Eastern Europe, focusing on such popular but depressing destinations of Jewish heritage like Auschwitz Birkenau, Majdanek, Treblinka and other Nazi death and concentration camps.

Meanwhile, Poles feared – and rightfully so – that their country was being perceived solely as a place of Jewish extermination after World War II.

That gloomy perspective is changing however, as new institutions and research about the rich and long Jewish history in central and Eastern Europe are emerging as part of a clear new trend that scholars have already identified as the “Jewish revival” in the region. To read more, click here.

Police Could Reap Rewards of Crime by Opening Grisly Museum

The grisly exhibits could make £4.5million for Metropolitan Police coffers in just three months, according to a report.

Among the macabre artefacts are the pot and stove used by serial killer Dennis Nilsen to boil his 15 victims’ flesh, the ricin-filled pellet pulled out of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov after he was stabbed with an umbrella and the letter sent “from Hell” by Jack the Ripper. To read more, click here.

The Show is Back On: Sicily Reverses Its Cancellation of Antiquities Exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art

An exhibition of ancient treasures from Sicily that was cancelled by the island’s cultural authorities last month is back on track at the Cleveland Museum of Art and will open as originally scheduled on Sunday, Sept. 29.

In a happy conclusion to a roller coaster of a summer, the museum announced Thursday that Sicilian cultural authorities, including Mariarita Sgarlata, the island’s highest official for the arts, have rescinded the cancellation. To read more, click here.

Va. Museum Campaign Short on Major Gifts

The Virginia Museum of Transportation‘s race against time to put the Norfolk & Western J-Class 611 steam engine back on the rails next year continues its uphill climb.

Launched June 28, the “Fire Up 611!” campaign seeks $3.5 million by Oct. 31 to make the 611 operational and construct a shop on the museum’s property where the engine can be housed and serviced. The goal is to have the 611 take part in Norfolk Southern’s 21st Century Steam passenger excursion program in 2014. To read more, click here.

Where Words Mean as Much as Objects: Apaches’ Dispute With American Museum of Natural History

Four years ago, the American Museum of Natural History agreed to return to the Apaches 77 objects from its collection, including headwear, feathers, bows and arrows, medicine rings and satchels containing crystals and charms.

But none of the items have gone back because of an unusual, if persistent, disagreement with representatives of the Apaches over whether the museum will officially designate the items as sacred relics that should never have been taken. To read more, click here.

‘WTF?’ Toronto Museums Try to Lure Young Patrons with Cheeky Campaign

Massive posters marked with the letters “WTF?” are cropping up across Toronto in an effort to get young people thinking and talking about the city’s historical sites.

Above the letters are close-up images of various artifacts from the city’s collection, which people are meant to identify as part of a contest linked to the campaign. To read more, click here.

What headlines caught your eye this week?

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