I have spent a lot of time at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) recently, but been very lax about posting the photos. So today I'm sharing some photos from two different events. The first was a Connoisseurship Evening. I believe I chatted a bit about it on the most recent podcast. The event involved two curatorial tours and a sit down dinner. Very cool.
When the invitation went out for the evening, there were some extremely vague descriptions of the tours you could choose from. When RSVP-ing you had to rank your tour choices. When arriving at the museum, you were given an envelope with your tours and table number (for dinner).
The first tour I attended was billed as "Tiny Treasures." We were led into the offices of the MFA (a cool experience to be off the beaten museum goer path) and into a large conference room. We all sat around the table and then the most magical thing happened! After a brief slide show, we were handed the tiny treasures to touch and explore!! WHAT?!
It was a seriously amazing and mind blowing experience to touch all of these museum objects. They were mostly snuff boxes. Someone in the room asked the value of the pieces we were handling and the curator told us each one likely $2ok - $100k. Somebody else asked why he was letting us touch this stuff. He said that it was gold so it wouldn't tarnish from our hands.
Of course, that experience made the next one seem kind of, well, disappointing.
This little tour was all about jewelry. And once again, we were taken into a non-public museum space. (I love peeking behind the scenes.) However, we were not allowed to touch anything. In fact, the curator used gloves when she touched and moved things. It was much more of what I expected from a museum experience.
She asked us some questions that I think are good ones to think about: What does it mean to be a connoisseur? How does one become a connoisseur?
I think of a connoisseur as someone with a great deal of deep knowledge and expertise about a particular subject or area. She challenged us to think about becoming connoisseurs in the areas that interest us. What do you already collect? What are you already interested in? Start reading and learning and gaining knowledge, even if you know nothing right now.
After all that deep thought, we attended a lovely dinner in the Koch Gallery.
Not going to lie, eating among the paintings is pretty flippin' cool! Each table had a curator seated at it. We were lucky enough to sit with Darcy Kuronen, the curator for the MFA's musical instruments. I've never been particularly interested in the MFA's musical instruments collection, but after dinner with Darcy, I'm totally intrigued. Simple proof that passion is contagious!
Speaking of passion, the other MFA event I wanted to share, was a tour of a portion of the MFA's vast Impressionism collection. Katie Hanson was our curator/guide for the evening and she loves these paintings. Her passion and depth of knowledge brought so much to our viewing of the artwork.
I love visiting museums. I try to get out to a museum a couple times a month. It's good to be exposed to art that isn't necessarily your jam. Sometimes my internet perusing is too well curated. I only see the things I want to see and not necessarily some of the stuff that I ought to see. That's also the reason to go on tours. Lots of museums offer free headsets, free tours with docents, and other great options for learning more and going deeper.
I love it when the sign says, "feel free to touch."
Thanks for stopping by!