This is my last regular blog for Musematic.net. I’ve had a great time thinking out loud in this location beginning with my very first post, about Madonna, on Wednesday March 15 2006 but it’s time to pass the torch to the bright, young, talented generation doing fantastic things for museums and technology.
As I’ve returned to being primarily an art historian I don’t have a whole lot that’s relevant to say in the Musematic arena anymore. What prompted me to write this post in the first place is I currently find myself in a situation where technology cannot help me–and I’m not talking about computers, Ipads, or GPS. For the first time in years I’m stuck and can’t think of a technology to save me–and mind you I’ve been in some tight places before.
There was the time I was in Egypt, traveling as resident art historian for Eastern Michigan University’s European Cultural History Program. Half the group had gone to the pyramids where, after viewing the monuments, they would jump on camels and meet us at the Step-Pyramids of Djoser. My group had headed for the Step-Pyramids and was caught in a sudden sandstorm and would have been completely lost had it not been for compass.
And then there was the time a group of us decided to spend the night in one of the caves near the cave monasteries in Cappadocia, Turkey. What saved us that evening was a technology that has been around for eons–a piece of flint and some metal to strike a spark.
The phones at the Post in Rome enabled me to complete my dissertation. The monks at the Church of the Aracoeli in Rome refused to let a woman into the Bufalini Chapel in the 1980s and so you might say that a large pocketful of gettoni enabled me to reach a friend with connections at the Cleveland diocese, who made connections in Rome, who got me an audience with the Pope’s Confessor, who made a phone call to the Fransicans at the Aracoeli and told them to let me in to see the painting cycle I needed to see. And, six months later, I was on top of the world because I had my very own dot matrix printer to print out my completed dissertation–of course it took several hours and was loud and annoying but what an improvement over carbon paper and white out.
But tomorrow folks I’m invited to a Debutante Ball! As the mother of her “Escort,” the “Deb’s” parents have kindly invited me to sit at their table. My son will be resplendent in his tuxedo, head and shoulders better looking than any handsome prince I’ve ever seen. I’ve got a dress and a carriage (okay so it’s a used Audi but let’s not quibble over the details). So what’s the problem? This event lasts for 8 hours and the grand total of my experience with balls comes from Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer novels–and I’m pretty sure things have changed since the Regency period. E-how offered me the following suggestions when I typed in “How to behave at a Debutante Ball.”
I’m off the grid tomorrow night and to tell you the truth, I’m scared. E-how offers this particularly frightening piece of advice:
The simplest way to remember how to behave at a debutante ball is to make sure that you don’t do or say anything that you wouldn’t do or say in front of your grandmother, your first grade teacher and your minister.
Wish me luck. It’s a brave new world. And, in the words of the immortal Douglas Adams “So long and thanks for all the fish!”