• Inside the Collection

The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences has the moves!

MAAS staff members Jack Mitchell, Kristina Koimtsidis, Nicola Josey and Nadia Odlum get their groove on for the worldwide 'Museum Dance Off' competition.
MAAS staff members Jack Mitchell, Kristina Koimtsidis, Nicola Josey and Nadia Odlum get their groove on for the worldwide ‘Museum Dance Off’ competition.

When you think of a museum employee you might imagine them wearing a tweed jacket, horn rimmed glasses and white gloves while they talk at you in dry monotone. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth (except for the horn-rimmed glasses. They’re great).

If you want proof, check out our entry for the Museum Dance Off competition. We need your help to win the Dance Off Trophy. The first round of voting opens at 10pm, Wednesday, 29 April and runs until 10pm, Thursday, 30 April (EST). Vote at When You Work in a Museum. Mark it in your diary!

MAAS staff member Jim Fishwick breaks out some moves in the Museum's zero gravity lab space.
MAAS staff member Jim Fishwick breaks out some moves in the Museum’s zero gravity lab space.

View it on YouTube:

Or view it on Vimeo:

Museum Dance Off started last year when the woman behind the popular Tumblr “When you work at a museum” decided to do her bit to show that museum workers are actually a pretty sparkly bunch. Inspired by Indiana State Museum’s viral rendition of Pharrell Williams’ song ‘Happy’, the Museum Dance off showed that…

“…museums aren’t dusty, dingy hallways full of creaky old nerds in orthopaedic shoes and bowties. They are vibrant, lively places full of talented, creative people who love what they do.”

The 2014 Dance Off motivated 22 museums from four continents to put together a short clip dancing to popular tunes giving a ‘behind the scenes’ look into the weird and wonderful people who make up the museum sector.

In 2015, the dance off is back as Museum Dance Off 2: Electric Boogaloo. This year MAAS wanted to get in on the action and over two weeks of filming, employees from all over the museum came together to shake a tail feather and share their inner go-go dancer.

There are 28 museums in this year’s competition who will battle it out over three rounds to take out Dance Off Trophy and have bragging rights over their fellow cultural institutions. MAAS is scheduled to duke it out against the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 of Halifax, Nova Scotia and the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

Our voting round opens at 10pm, Wednesday, 29 April and closes at 10pm, Thursday 30 April thanks to our location relative to the Eastern Daylight Time Zone. You can vote as many times as you like during that 24 hour period, all you have to do is go to the blog When You Work at a Museum and cast your vote.

Spread the word via social media using the hashtag #museumdanceoff2 and help ensure that the flashing, sparkly fabulousness of your favourite museum takes the top spot.

Post by Wilna Fourie, Volunteer Program Officer

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Icons: From the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences Collection


Acclaimed Australian author Drusilla Modjeska has collaborated with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney, on a new MAAS publication, Icons. Published to accompany the Icons exhibition, the book presents more than 70 beautifully photographed objects from the Museum’s collection, and considers the notion of ‘icon’ in all its complexity — from its origins as a sacred image to a more contemporary definition that equates icons with mass culture and popular appeal. The objects featured in the exhibition and book present various aspects of luxury, celebrity, status, spirituality, value and genius. Through her extensive research, discussions with the curators and handling of the objects, as well as her insights as a creative writer with a deep interest in the processes of making and human imagination, Drusilla has discovered deeper levels of meaning about particular objects in her essay ‘The Wonder World of Things’. The publication also includes essays by lead curator Jacqui Strecker on reimagining the Museum’s icons, Jennifer Isaacs on artist Thancoupie’s work, and short essays by MAAS curators on selected collection objects, including Marc Newson’s Lockheed Lounge, Howard Florey’s miracle mould penicillium notatum, a Ming dynasty temple bell and that crochet dress by Romance Was Born and worn by Cate Blanchett. Drusilla Modjeska’s collaboration on the Icons project was made possible by a grant from the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.
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