Why We Work: Improving the Way Museums Work at The Baltimore Museum of Industry (Museums in Strange Places S02 E07)

Episode Description: Located in a waterfront 1860s oyster cannery in the Baltimore Harbor, The Baltimore Museum of Industry is trying to inspire and engage their visitors around the concept of work by telling the stories of historical workers. But in order to better fulfill this mission, the museum has to be constantly re-evaluating themselves and their assumptions about work. In this episode, I talk to staffers Beth Maloney and Auni Gelles about how an experimental interactive and a new job description are pushing the museum beyond more traditional education and interpretation methods.

This episode is sponsored by Grove History Consulting. Find out more about their services for history organizations.

Featured songs in this episode is by The Bumper Jacksons, off their new album, I Never Met a Stranger. Songs are “Many Paths to the Top of the Mountain” and “Old Birds.”

Interested in starting a podcast at your organization? Check out my new book, Your Museum Needs a Podcast: A Step by Step Guide to Podcast on a Budget for Museums, History Organizations, and Cultural Nonprofits

How to Listen to Museums in Strange Places

Welcome to Museums in Strange Places. I’m your host, Hannah Hethmon, a museum consultant specializing in podcasting for museums, and this is a podcast for people who love museums, stories, culture, and exploring the world.

In this season of the podcast, I’m visiting the museums of Maryland to discover what stories they hold and how they reflect and shape this state’s unique cultural identity.

You can find and follow me/the podcast on Twitter and Instagram @hannah_rfh (I love to hear from listeners FYI).

The podcast is available on all podcast players and apps, just search “Museums in Strange Places” on any podcast listening platform:

Learn More

Baltimore Museum of Industry Website

Why We Work; Messy and Collaborative Exhibition Development” by Beth Maloney

Why We Work Opens at the Baltimore Museum of Industry: New BMI exhibit curated by JHU and MICA students depicts a more personal side of industry” in Baltimore Magazine

Christopher Myers (Photographer who shared photos for Why We Work)

Photos of the Museum

Auni Gelles and Beth Maloney
Exterior of the Why We Work gallery.
Main exhibit text for Why We Work
Why We Work with only a few stickers.
Why We Work: Question 1
Why We Work: Choose your industry and grab a sticker sheet!
Why We Work: Question 2 filling up with stickers.
Why We Work: Question 3
Portraits on the wall in Why We Work
The Why We Work gallery.
Opening day for the Why We Work Gallery
Prototype for the Why We Work interactive asking visitors to describe their work in one word.
Visitor question kiosk developed by Auni, Beth, and their team to ask questions of visitors.
Visitor question kiosk developed by Auni, Beth, and their team to ask questions of visitors.
BMI exterior campus
BMI exterior campus
BMI exterior campus
BMI exterior campus
BMI exterior campus
Welcome sign as you walk in to the BMI
General store
Tulkoff’s Horseradish
Me driving through history
Touchable gas pump
Sticker on a vintage car!
Garment loft
Printing presses and newspapers
Communications Gallery
View from inside one museum space

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