July 2013

Museum Welcomes New Staff Members

July 05 2013

The Wolfsonian is pleased to announce the appointment of the following new staff members.

Martha Betancourt, curatorial and exhibitions assistant
Martha is responsible for assisting the curators in organizing exhibitions, conducting research related to the collection as well as to works being considered for acquisition, coordinating for image rights and reproductions requests, and additional curatorial department support. She recently completed a graduate museum studies certificate at FIU and also holds two B.A.s from FIU, in art history and in history. She has previous experience with The Wolfsonian, having interned in the registrar’s department during the summer of 2012, when she catalogued much of the recently donated archive of more than thirty-six hundred HIV/AIDS awareness posters. Prior to joining the museum she worked for many years in the logistics industry.

Wolfsonian Fellow Shawn Clybor

July 05 2013

“The fellowship was incredibly useful to me,” says Shawn Clybor, a scholar who spent three weeks during May and June at The Wolfsonian conducting research. Clybor, a professor of cultural history, is working on a book, Prophets of Revolution: Communism and the Czech Avant-Garde, 1920–1960.

His fellowship allowed him to work with rare materials in The Wolfsonian’s collection. Prophets of Revolution examines the relationship between Czech avant-garde intellectuals and the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. Clybor argues that the Czech avant-garde, associated with artistic movements such as Constructivism and Surrealism “helped establish the intellectual and cultural framework for communism in Czechoslovakia.” The bond between the avant-garde and the communist party was much stronger in Czechoslovakia than elsewhere in Europe, which, he contends, contributed to the long-term stability of the communist regime. While we know much about the work of leading avant-gardists such as Karel Teige and Vítežslav Nezval, we know very little about their political engagements, he explains.

Protecting Our Cultural Resources: Forum Addresses Disaster Planning

July 05 2013

“South Florida has been very fortunate in recent years, but the fact is we are in the most hurricane prone area of the most hurricane prone state in the country,” notes Curt Sommerhoff, Miami-Dade director of emergency management. Sommerhoff was one of several speakers at the Alliance for Response Miami Forum, held on June 12 at The Wolfsonian. The all-day event gathered approximately ninety key players from South Florida’s cultural heritage and first responders/emergency management communities to facilitate conversations about the region’s unique disaster planning and response needs.

Wolfsonian is Expanding, Thanks to Major Donation from Mitchell Wolfson, Jr.

July 05 2013

“Collecting is a constant of the human condition,” says Wolfsonian founder Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. It has certainly been a constant in his own life—he began collecting at age 12 and has not stopped. Gifting has also been a constant in Wolfson’s life. Sixteen years ago, he donated The Wolfsonian’s building and its contents to Florida International University. On July 1 he made another major donation to The Wolfsonian–FIU.