April 8, 2020
My Three Rs
This is me (not literally, of course, but figuratively) after a long day of working from home. I have been spending my days mostly reading, researching, and writing (yes, I know writing starts with a W, but arithmetic starts with an A, and when you add in reading, it’s the classic three Rs), and reading, research, and writing are three things I love to do.
I often don’t read a lot anymore because when I have a migraine, it makes reading almost impossible. I’ve never been a fast reader, and when you add in a migraine, my concentration is shot, and I end up reading the same thing over and over. However, I have really enjoyed reading some of my research books, especially Chasing Aphrodite which is about the illegal art dealings of the Getty Museum. Though, I think it’s a little exaggerated on the blame that is placed on the Getty’s former curator Marion True. True did buy stolen art on the black market (she readily admits it), but if she was able to find its origin, she actually returned it to the rightful owner (in most cases). She was also considered to be a major leader in museum ethics; however, the Getty administration let her take the fall and allowed for her to be disgraced and shunned from the profession.
I’ve also been researching several different topics, though most of it is concentrated on cultural preservation. This is a topic that is becoming increasingly dear to my heart. Some of my museum colleagues and myself are beginning a book on looting and cultural destruction throughout history. As I was doing my preliminary research for the class I plan to teach next spring, I found that the topic has never been written about and gathered into one book. There are scatterings of material here and there, but there is not one succinct collection of the history.
With that in mind, I wrote a book proposal as a guide for my colleagues and I for what I hope we will turn into a book on the subject. I have also been writing some curriculum guides for my museum and have been creating some lectures to be used for classes that I will teach in the future. I love to write lectures; I always have. I love the reading and research that goes into it, and I love forming a cohesive lecture on a subject. My teaching practicum professor in graduate school once told me that you learn a lot more from teaching a subject than you ever will from a class, and it’s true. Not only do you need to know the core material, but you need to know more than just the basics. You have to know, or at least attempt to know, the answer to any possible questions. Of course, students will often stump you, and that’s when instead of bullshitting them, you acknowledge that they asked a good question and that you don’t know, but will get back to them. Then, you find the answer and in the process learn even more on the subject.
So that’s what I’ve been doing while working from home. How is everyone else doing during this trying time?