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Category: Technology

“Just measure, cut and bolt together”

“Just measure, cut and bolt together”

I which I find out what I don’t know about building things by building things. Making a potting bench. On Medium. https://medium.com/@lubar/just-measure-cut-and-bolt-together-4a48c9dd2647   https://medium.com/@lubar/just-measure-cut-and-bolt-together-4a48c9dd2647

Making things

Making things

I’ve finished my “Lessons from the Lost Museum” book manuscript and I’m starting to think about a new project. I’ve gotten in the habit of writing and may as well keep at it! The new project is about making and technical skill. Not sure how to frame it, or what the end product might be. I’ll teach a class on this in the fall to think it through. I know that part of it will be actually making things. Here’s a first attempt…

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Design Objects in Museums

Design Objects in Museums

[my talk to the Questioning Aesthetics Symposium, RISD, March 2015] The call for papers placed this conference in the context of RISD’s recent interest and success in “transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries to encourage more holistic, multi-faceted approaches to art and design practice.” In my talk I’d like to focus on disciplinary boundaries in how museums use artifacts, and offer some suggestions on how we might transcend some of those traditional boundaries for a more holistic, multi-faceted museum. The disciplines whose boundaries I’d…

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Connecting with The Wright Brothers

Connecting with The Wright Brothers

I was honored to give a brief talk as part of the kickoff for Reading Across Rhode Island’s everyone-should-read-it book, David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers. Here are the notes from my talk. [scribd id=297243770 key=key-7Ge7mnqjKazSUHOaQOVf mode=scroll]  

Building a skiascope

Building a skiascope

                “The theoretic value of the skiascope is incontestable.”  —Benjamin Ives Gilman In his Museum Ideals of Purpose and Method (1918 ), Gilman gives detailed instructions for making a skiascope, a device that will allow museum to see paintings and sculptures more clearly, by blocking glare, and other distractions. [scribd id=268670595 key=key-z673RqPg67anzV5ifkqI mode=scroll] The instructions are long and complicated. Here’s a quick pictorial guide: First, cut out the top and bottom Make the wires, and…

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Collecting the History of Technology at the National Museum of American History

Collecting the History of Technology at the National Museum of American History

Collecting for history museums is challenging work, and there needs to be more research and writing on both its history and how to do it. We need to understand how and why collections came to museums; what decisions that shaped collections they hold today? And we need to talk more about how to collect, how to train museum curators to collect, and how to evaluate collecting and collections. We need to share best practices. Those were among the conclusions of a session on…

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Beautiful Data

Beautiful Data

I spent the last two weeks of June at Beautiful Data, a workshop funded by the Getty Foundation and run by Harvard’s MetaLab. I’m not sure why the name, “Beautiful Data”: but it seems fair, given that the workshop address both data about beautiful things and data made beautiful by its utility. The question for the workshop was what we might do with the newly available data about the collections in art museums. The workshop was pretty intense. Twenty two…

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21st-Century History of Technology: Fashioning a Usable Past

21st-Century History of Technology: Fashioning a Usable Past

Yesterday the MIT Museum and the Hagley Museum and Library ran a fascinating workshop on “Doing the History of Technology in the 21st Century.” The workshop, at the MIT Museum, brought together historians, museum curators, public humanists, and more to talk about how the history of technology is changing – and how it needs to change – to play the role it needs to play as our sources, audiences, media, and interests change. It was partly about the digital, but more…

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LeGrand Lockwood, Early Adopter

LeGrand Lockwood, Early Adopter

Back in April I gave a talk at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, Connecticut. They’ve done a very nice exhibition about the technology of the day, focusing on some of the remarkable technologies Lockwood put into his 1864 home. My talk focused on what Lockwood and others of his generation thought about the future of technology. Lockwood was an early adopter and investor. Others were more cautious. Some rejected it, others saw utopian potential. The gimmick for the talk…

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