'Mona Lisa x4' Opens Sept. 15 in the MuseLab | School of Information | Kent State University

'Mona Lisa x4' Opens Sept. 15 in the MuseLab

Pre-Opening Talk Will Feature Smithsonian Scholar

Da Vinci’s iconic Mona Lisa provides the inspiration for the newest exhibition in the MuseLab, in Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science.

“Mona Lisa x4” offers four different approaches to the world-famous painting. The exhibition will open on Thursday, Sept. 15, with a reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the lobby area just outside MuseLab on the third floor of the University Library. The event is free and open to all; light refreshments will be served.

MuseLab director and SLIS Associate Professor Kiersten F. Latham, Ph.D., said the exhibition is part of a three-year research project created from a partnership among Duquesne University, the Smithsonian Institution and the MuseLab.

The initial design of the exhibition involved students in Latham’s fall 2015 Museum Communication class, one of the courses offered in the Museum Studies specialization in the Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) degree program. Students formed exhibit teams, created proposals for a section of the exhibit, and then voted on the winning designs. In spring 2016, two MuseLab student staff members and two Museum Studies students, working on their culminating experience projects, re-shaped the proposals to fit the space and budget, and completed the installation.

The exhibit will remain open until spring of 2017. The MuseLab is free and open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Students and others interested in museums are also invited to a pre-reception presentation by Andrew Pekarik, Ph.D., Senior Museum Research Fellow at the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution.

Pekarik will talk on “Better Museums. Happier Museum-goers,” addressing why people visit museums and how museums can work better for more people. Pekarik, who has studied visitors to Smithsonian Institution museums for 22 years, will share his insights in a free presentation on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 4 p.m. in room 332, 3rd floor of the university library. (The session will be recorded and made available for viewing later for anyone not able to attend on Sept. 15.)

Pekarik is currently Senior Museum Research Fellow at the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution. He retired in 2016 from the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Policy and Analysis where he was Senior Research Analyst. He spent 22 years designing and conducting studies of Smithsonian museums, exhibitions, and programs. Using techniques ranging from individual in-depth interviews to large-scale survey studies, he has sought to understand and communicate the attitudes, needs, behaviors and responses of museum audiences. At the same time he has worked closely with museum staff to incorporate the findings of these studies into future programs by participating in planning teams and by suggesting new approaches to the exhibition development process.

Prior to joining the Smithsonian Pekarik worked as a curator, author, museum administrator and exhibition organizer. His academic background is in Japanese literature and art, and in his spare time he practices Japanese tea ceremony. His publications include “The Power of Expectation” (Curator, 1999), co-authored with James B. Schreiber; “Exploring Satisfying Experiences in Museums (Curator, 1999), co-authored with Zahava D. Doering and David A. Karns; and “From Knowing to Not Knowing: Moving Beyond ‘Outcomes’” (Curator, 2010).

As a component of the museum studies specialization in the School of Library and Information Science, the MuseLab is a creative and collaborative space for thinking, doing and learning about museal things. Follow MuseLab on Facebook andTwitter for updates on exhibits and other news.