Six weeks ago, my world was different. I was different. I suspect many of you might feel the same.

In these weeks, I found myself facing personal and professional crises. Life and death, work and home, professional and personal, all the dualities of human existence seemed to collapse into one. Time slowed down hellish and sped up at a dizzy pace, simultaneous. I felt nauseated and numb, at once. I felt busy and empty, continuously. It was one hell of a month and a half. And I suspect many of you felt the same.

My emotions have ebbed, flowed, crashed…

museum professional in silly costume
museum professional in silly costume

I just realized in 2020, I’ll have 20 years in this field.

In that time, I’ve stood in a basketball arena at half-court in a waterlilies costume, danced badly on video for AA baseball team, and almost threw out the first pitch at a AL game. I’ve driven a sprinter van and turned down owning a city bus. I’ve crawled on a catwalk high above a modernist auditorium. I’ve admonished a famous photographer for dropping trou and peeing in front of me. I’ve given tours to Supreme Court Judges and toddlers. I’ve laughed with famous artists and writers. I’ve ghost…

A couple years ago, after some conference or another, I’d written a post about my conference friends. I honestly can’t remember what particular issue I was facing as I walked into that conference or what specifically sparked that post. I don’t think it matters. But, returning from MCN2019, I’m ever more thankful for my faraway friends. (If you want more specific takeaways on MCN, try Brilliant Idea Studio where I usually leave big takeaways.)

Here’s the thing I didn’t say about conference friends in 2018…they save you, every time. I reach out to them all year long on social and…

I was writing a different blog post, in full below, extolling the virtues of emotions at work. I’d had an emotional week. I’d even spilled some of my feels on social. Despite my big personality, I wouldn’t say I share “real” feelings on social very often. But it was a doozy of a week, with life, love, and humanity coming into focus. The original post was supposed to remind us to live our real selves,

My partner reads and comments on everything I write before I post it. They’d worked with me in museums for many years and then in…

‘Welcome to middle age’, my friend told me today. I’d been here a bit, but this morning I was feeling it.

I’ve spent twenty years in the professional world. I’d had two decades of relationships at work and in social media. Extrovert of extroverts, that translates as scores of people. So many people have come into my life, flowing in and then flowing out.

I have laughed with so many people.

In hallways, in elevators, in terrible creaky chairs, in dank basement offices, in quiet whispered jokes in the parking garage, in costume, on stilts, in line to board planes…

I do a monthly advice column for museum and non-profit folks seeking an outside voice. Send inquiries to me, please. I mean, I’m begging here.

Note: the questions are real but the letters are fictionalized for a bit of color.

Dear Ask Seema,

I did my Ph.D. I completed without revisions. It was an Ivy League school. I got the hood. It’s a good hood. But that’s all I got.

I am trying without avail to get a museum job. All those years in school, I had to TA and teach to pay for school. I didn’t have time to…

A couple of weeks ago, Museums and the Web had their annual conference. As usual, I put up my hot takes post directly after the conference. Those posts are my chance to put down first ideas about the conference. Then, slowly, I let bigger ideas take hold to use for other longer posts. As I sifted through my ideas, an image kept coming back to me.

Museum technology people know the bizarre joy of singing karaoke with friends you only see twice a year. (Obviously, Koven Smith gets a thanks here for creating the platform for this idiosyncratic field pastime).

I am a colonial artifact, my very existence a result of the conjoining of British greed and Indian aspiration.

Anyone reading this in the US or Canada also qualifies as a colonial product, certainly. But colonialism, like a franchise brand, manifest differently across the globe. American and Canadian peoples can be seen as colonial products*. In sports scores, the asterisks denote egregious circumstances, like corked bats or coked batters. In colonialism, some nations enjoyed the egregious benefits of self-rule as well as the sheer acceptance of the people’s humanity. While the US and Canada, twin-nations separated at birth and showing…

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. Museums and non-profits will be asking millions of people to share their money with us. But, they often say charity begins at home. Are we giving our staff the wage they deserve?

The Current Situation

I have spoken to literally hundreds of museum professionals this year. This gives me a look at the hottest topics in the field. Salary has been the most common topic I have heard. Junior staff members see their peers making vastly more in other sectors. Colleagues are learning that peers in other parts of their organizations are making more for the…

“Dumb it down” is a phrase that most museum educators have heard, leveled at them from other museum professionals, as a criticism of their programs and interpretation. Say that phrase to me if you want me to shudder. I swear that phrase brings up all the PTSD I have about working in museum education.

Dumb Talks

Now, I should say that I loved my work in museum education. I miss teaching in the galleries; it will likely always feel like a hole in my life.

Gallery teachers know the feeling of being in the moment, just you, the objects, and…

Seema R.

Tech, Games, Inclusion, Museums, Nonprofits, Change, Twitter @artlust Website:

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