1stfans Twitter Art Feed Artist for March 2010: Jennifer Bantz

We’re going to try something different for the March edition of the 1stfans Twitter Art Feed. Instead of featuring an artist, we’re going to feature Jennifer Bantz, who is the Interpretive Materials Manager here at the Museum. We have two primary reasons for doing this. The first is that Jenny has possibly the coolest job in the building, which she describes below. I think what makes it interesting is that she works with almost every department on behalf of the visitor, and, as a result, she’s exposed to as many types of tasks as there are visitor perspectives. Sharing Jenny’s work with 1stfans makes sense not only because they are museum visitors but also because, presumably, have an interest in seeing how their support is put to use, especially for those that can’t make it to Brooklyn—think of this as an ongoing virtual meetup.

The second reason we’re featuring a staff member this month is because, quite frankly, we’re having a difficult time finding artists for the Feed, and we think that there are more people than just strictly artists who can offer something unique and worthwhile on Twitter. Even though we have an open call, Twitter Art Feed is a tough concept to explain, and a tough thing to ask artists to really think about, create a proposal for, and then devote a month to doing (for free, I might add). In addition, we have a selection process that involves me, Shelley, and Eugenie Tsai, our John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art, reviewing proposals and deciding what makes the most sense for 1stfans and for the Museum. Shelley and I agree that we’d rather feature someone who can tweet out cool stuff than simply someone that we can convince to do this for a month. So 1stfans, let us know what you think and here’s a little more from Jenny, in her own words:


“hey. guys. where do we go?” via erinblatzer [HMNS] on Flickr.

My task here is to plan and implement the Museum’s program of interpretation with the visitor experience in mind, working in collaboration with staff from Curatorial, Education, Design, Technology, Editorial and others — a big job, and one whose goals and responsibilities shift, depending on the team involved and the project at hand. The great thing about having a job with some flexibility is that you never know what you might be up to on a given day; the tough part is trying to describe to people what, exactly, it is that you do. But here’s a snapshot of a Monday:


Read through visitor comments submitted at kiosks over the weekend

Chat with a partner institution about an audio guide for the upcoming Warhol exhibition

Revise a proof for a To Live Forever family activity and return to Editorial and Design

Check in on supplies of The Dinner Pary gallery guide and talk with guards about how they’re being used

Meet with fellow exhibitions staff to discuss image use and current projects

Pull together statistics on recent cell phone audio guide use for a Development staff member

Meet with educators about accessibility efforts like touch tours and transcripts

Review curator’s responses to suggested changes to wall text for the upcoming American High Style exhibition

Go home!

Since both my job and the Museum’s mission are focused on our visitors’ experiences, that seems like the best way to focus this month’s tweets. I may comment a bit about what I’m working on, but mostly I’d like to pull together lots of tiny notes about what visitors are actually doing in the Museum, based on a kind of informal observation and guerrilla evaluation: what did we prepare and why, how do people seem to be using it, and what would we do going forward? Are there other questions, or things you’d want to hear about? Let me know in the comments for this post. Looking forward to it.

The 1stfans Twitter Art Feed is no longer a benefit of 1stfans membership, but the original feed in its entirety has been archived on the Brooklyn Museum website.