Monthly Archives: May 2010

What is Slow Food?

By Vanessa Nesvig
Coordinator of Special Projects

I keep hearing the words “Slow Food” lately, and knew it must be something good, but wasn’t sure exactly what it was. Now that I know more, I can’t believe it took me this long to be a part of this movement that is growing worldwide.

Think about this as a mission statement: “The pleasure of food with a commitment to community and environment” or “People eating food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it, and good for the environment.” How about “Good, Clean and Fair.” These are all possible statements that would aptly describe the Slow Food USA mission. Dedicated to eating local food that is grown sustainably, this movement even attempts to teach children how important this is by creating community gardens for their schools and running cooking classes with food they grow themselves.

Started in 2002 by Alice Waters, the famous chef/restaurant owner and cookbook author, this movement started in California and is now worldwide. Her inspiration was at first obtaining good tasting food but then grew to educating people as to the benefits of eating local and sustainable food. Each local Chapter holds events that promote and educate people as to the bounty right in their area. Check out Slow Food Portland’s next event here at the Museum on June 3rd. We’ll have 15 or so local purveyors with tons of samples to try. People can hear food historian Nancy Harmon Jenkins talk about Maine’s bounty while gathering with friends that love local food. Tickets available at the Museum and online. Come and see the best food that Maine has to offer!

New Museum Banners

Six banners with images of works from the Museum’s collection went up on Spring Street today. Keep an eye out for them running from the McLellan House to the Civic Center. Four banners will also run the length of High Street from the Spring Street intersection to Congress Square.

Stop and Look Stations in the PMA

By Vanessa Nesvig
Coordinator of Special Projects

You may have noticed that the Stop and Look Stations that the Education department designed have been added to the galleries. The stations are another way to enjoy the art in the Museum. With the idea that if most people only spend three seconds in front of a work of art, these tools will help you see things that you didn’t notice and make you look a little deeper at the works in front of you.

The stations have three sides and a top panel with gallery guides. The gallery guides tell you more about how that gallery was hung and what the curators had in mind when putting things together in that room.

One side has embedded iPod touches that give you short clips about the works on view. Patrons, educators, Docents, curators, and security guards have offered their ideas and describe what these works mean to them.

Another side of the station has four cards with details of specific works. These cards point out details to look for and facts that you may not know about certain art works.

The third side has a door. This door opens to reveal something inside and brings you closer to knowing the work in the gallery. This is where you can get right up close and see or touch what you wouldn’t be able to in the gallery. These activities will be added throughout the summer to each station. You will just have to come in and stop and look for yourself!

These stations are made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. Major corporate support has been provided by Unum. Additional support has been provided by the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust, the Wing-Benjamin Trust, and the Rosamond Thaxter Foundation.