Podcast Archive

Special Episode: “American Alternative Comics” with McMullen Intern Graduate Students

Last semester, we recorded an episode with three graduate students who interned with the McMullen Museum and played a role in our Fall 2022 exhibition, American Alternative Comics, 1980-2000: Raw, Weirdo, and Beyond. Alexander D’Alisera, a Ph.D. candidate in the History department, interned for the McMullen during the Institute for the Liberal Arts’ inaugural internship program. The following summer, Rachel Speyer Besancon, a Ph.D. candidate in the History department, and Troy Woolsey, a Ph.D. candidate in the English department, completed their internship and prepared the museum for the opening of the exhibition. In this episode, they talk about their experiences working at the McMullen, learning more about the comics world, the behind-the-scenes of a museum, and their favorite pieces from the exhibition. 

Although the physical exhibition has moved on from the McMullen, you can still see the entire show by viewing our virtual walkthrough here.

Listen to this special episode below:

In Case You Missed It Museum Events

In Case You Missed It: Spring 2022 Lunar New Year Celebration

Photographs and captions prepared by Sunny Lee, class of ’22

On Saturday, February 5th, 2022, the McMullen hosted a Lunar New Year event with Boston College’s Asian student organizations. This event was open to the public, and it was fabulous to see many students and members of the local community enjoying their time in the festive halls of the Museum. The Asian Caucus, Chinese Students Association, Korean Students Association, Taiwanese Cultural Organization, and the Vietnamese Student Association presented New Year’s food from various countries, games, and opportunities to make New Year’s decorations to celebrate Lunar New Year. The games played were Go, Mahjong, and Feilong. Additionally, attendees tried their hands at decorating red envelopes, fortune-telling, origami, and making Chinese lanterns and New Year’s knots. 

Board members of the Vietnamese Students Association (VSA) Gina Yoo and Vivienne Le smile for the camera while preparing to serve Vietnamese cuisine.

Left: The mouthwatering dumplings the Chinese Student Association (CSA) brought were a popular hit among the attendees. Right: The Taiwanese Culture Organization (TCO) brought delicious egg tarts and crackers that are popular staples at Asian supermarkets.

The button-making machines worked by McMullen Student Ambassadors allowed participants to create their own button pins.

Right: participants in the game room busied themselves with the various traditional Asian games provided, such as Mahjong and Go. Left: attendees used their artistry and dexterity in creating paper crafts such as a Chinese lantern ornament.

If you did not have the chance to catch our TikTok video on social media, you can watch it here!

Museum Events

In Case You Missed It: ‘Museum Current’ Presentation by Museum Hack

On Sunday, October 15, the McMullen hosted Museum Hack, the New York City-based renegade group whose team aims to give “unconventional tours of the world’s best museums.” The company is based in several locations, including Washington D.C., San Francisco, Chicago and L.A., providing over 20 tours per week and consulting with over 50 museums around the country. Among some of these uniquely-crafted tours are the “Badass Bitches of the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” a feminist tour celebrating depictions of women and women artists in the museum, or “The Un-Highlights Tour at The Getty Center,” which features untold stories behind the museum’s art collection with an off-the-beaten-track tour.

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Hannah Saloio, Lead Guide at Museum Hack’s DC Division

Museum Hack representative Hannah Saloio, who is based in the Washington D.C. division of the company, discussed how the company got started and how it crafts unique tour experiences. Following a Q&A discussion, Student Ambassadors gave tours of the permanent collection as well as interdisciplinary tours of the exhibit through the lens of different majors, including philosophy, economics, communications, and environmental studies.

Saloio offered constructive feedback and advice on how to give an engaging tour as well as attract a wider museum audience—particularly the millennial generation. Here are some of her most notable tips and tricks of the trade:

  • Have a goal in mind when you look at a painting. What catches your attention? Why is this interesting to you? Your passion and enthusiasm for a subject will make what you’re saying more compelling to those listening.
  • Catching yourself saying “I” as you talk about a work is likely a good sign, as this means you are relating the subject to your own experiences, which in turn, means the work overall is relatable.
  • Use faces in paintings to craft a good story. Telling human stories allows people to engage on a more social level. People mostly remember a good juicy story rather than dates.
  • You don’t need to point out the obvious. For example, to explain “this is a picture of the Madonna holding Christ set in a landscape background” is superfluous, as people viewing the painting can see it for themselves.  
  • Create a fun game you can play with people on your tour. Saloio uses the example of asking visitors to seek out faces in works by famous artists, after which she asks them to share with one another and craft love stories between the faces they’ve found.
  • Challenge yourself not to use the word “interesting” when describing a piece of art. It may be interesting to you, but not to others. Explain the interesting things about it and let the visitors decide if they think it’s interesting or not.
  • Set descriptions and explanations in a modern context. Using pop-culture references, for example, will help people better understand what you are talking about.

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A Museum Hack tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Saloio concluded her talk by reiterating that these enlivening, unique tours do not point fun at objects or subjects in museums. On the contrary, it elevates museum collections by by reinforcing a stronger human connection to the stories being told, creating a memorable experience for visitors. After all, “You don’t need to be a millennial to have fun. People [including adults] always want to have a good time.”