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Arts and Entertainment

L.A. Museums Will Be Answering All Your Questions For #AskACurator Day

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Do you ever wish you could know the secrets behind your favorite museums, and ask the curators everything you'd ever wondered about the world between their walls? Well, today things are about to start looking your way: enter Ask A Curator day.

Museums around the world are taking to social media Wednesday to open their virtual doors wide open and invite the public to ask curators questions on Twitter (just make sure to tag it #AskACurator). Over a thousand museums in 52 countries are participating in the international campaign. Los Angeles-area museums have been involved in the past, but they are going full throttle this year, with a total of 18 Southern California museums signed on to participate.

The Natural History Museum's Rachel Gertz told LAist that while her institution had participated "less formally" last year, they would be ramping it up this year.

"Too often, there's a sense that curators hide behind closed doors of rarified collection areas and labs. That's changing—they're becoming focused on communicating the relevance and excitement of their work," Alex Capriotti, President of SoCal Museums and Director of Marketing and Communications at The Broad said. "We're thrilled with SoCal Museums' participation in Ask A Curator Day. It's an amazing opportunity for both our local museum goers and our international audience to connect with Los Angeles' rich museum culture, and the experts who devote their careers to it."

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Pretty exciting stuff. Here's the breakdown of who and when to tweet at for some of the L.A. museums getting in on the action today:

Autry Museum of the American West
Participating: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Twitter @theautry
Curators available:
9-10 a.m. Karimah Richardson, Staff Archaeologist
10-11 a.m. Amy Scott, Chief Curator and Marilyn B. and Calvin B. Gross Curator of Visual Arts
11 a.m.-12 p.m. Carolyn Brucken, Curator of Western Women’s History
2-3 p.m. Paige Bardolph, Associate Curator

The Broad
Participating: Throughout the day on Twitter @thebroad
Curator available:
Ed Schad, Assistant Curator

Craft & Folk Art Museum
Participating: 1-2 p.m. on Twitter @craftandfolk, and Facebook
Curator available:
Holly Jerger, Exhibitions Curator

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Participating: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Twitter @gettymuseum
Curators available:
8-8:30 a.m. Richard Rand, Associate Director, Collections, Museum
9-9:30 a.m. Davide Gasparotto, Sr. Curator, Paintings, Museum
10-10:30 a.m. Marcia Reed, Associate Director, special collections and exhibitions, Getty Research Institute
11-11:30 a.m. Julian Brooks, Sr. Curator, Drawings, Museum
12-12:30 p.m. Charissa Bremer-David, Curator, Sculpture and Decorative Arts, Museum
1-1:30 p.m. David Saunders, Associate Curator, Antiquities, Museum
2-2:30 p.m. Nancy Perloff, Curator, Getty Research Institute
3-3:30 p.m. Elizabeth Morrison, Sr. Curator, Manuscripts, Museum
4-4:30 p.m. Paul Martineau, Associate Curator, Photographs, Museum

FIDM Museum
Participating: 2-4 p.m. on Twitter @FIDMmuseum
Curator available:
Christina Johnson, Associate Curator

Hammer Museum
Participating: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Twitter @hammer_museum
Curators available:
10-11 a.m. Marcela Guerrero, Curatorial Fellow
11 a.m.-12 p.m. Emily Gonzalez-Jarrett, Curatorial Associate
12-1 p.m. January Parkos Arnall, Curatorial Associate, Public Engagement
1-2 p.m. MacKenzie Stevens, Curatorial Assistant

Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Participating: TBD on Twitter @theicala
Curator available:
Jamillah James, Curator

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
Participating: 12-2 p.m. on Twitter @LAplazaLA
Curators available:
Erin Curtis, Senior Curator
Erendina Delgadillo, Curator & Registrar

Participating: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Twitter @LACMA
Curators available:
10-11 a.m. Leslie Jones, Curator, Prints and Drawings
11-12 p.m. Bindu Gude, Associate Curator, South and Southeast Asian Art
12-1 p.m. John Hirx, Senior Conservator, Objects Conservation
1-2 p.m. Rita Gonzalez, Curator and Acting Department Head, Contemporary Art
2-3 p.m. Rosie Mills, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Associate Curator, Decorative Arts and Design
2-3 p.m. Bobbye Tigerman, Marilyn B. and Calvin B. Gross Associate Curator, Decorative Arts and Design
4-5 p.m. Naoko Takahatake, Associate Curator, Prints and Drawings
4-5 p.m. Megan O’Neill, Associate Curator, Art of the Ancient Americas

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Los Angeles Zoo
Participating: 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Twitter @LAzoo
Curators available:
2:30 - 3:00 pm Beth Schaefer, General Curator
3:00 - 3:30 pm Heather Shields, Education Curator

Participating: 12-1 p.m. on Twitter @MOCA
Curator available:
Philippe Vergne, Director

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Participating: 10 am - 4 pm on Twitter @nhmla, and Facebook
Curators available:
10-10:30 a.m. Chris Thacker, Curator, Ichthyology (fishes), Facebook Live
11-11:30 a.m. Nathan Smith, Associate Curator, Dinosaur Institute, Facebook Live
12-12:30 p.m. Regina Wetzer, Associate Curator and Director, Marine Biodiversity Center, Twitter
1-1:30 p.m. Jann Vendetti, Curator, Malacology, Twitter
2-2:30 p.m. Kirk Fitzhugh, Curator, Polychaetes, Twitter
3-3:30 p.m. Jorge Velez-Juarbe, Curator, Mammalogy, Facebook Live

Norton Simon Museum
Participating: 10 a.m.-2:45 p.m. on Twitter @nortonsimon
Curators available:
10-10:45 a.m. Emily A. Beeny, Associate Curator
11-11:45 a.m. Stephanie Rozman, Assistant Curator
12-12:45 p.m. Tom Norris, Curatorial Associate
2-2:45 p.m. Gloria Williams Sander, Curator

Pasadena Museum of California Art
Participating: 12:30-2 p.m. on Twitter @PMCAonline
Curators available:
12:30-1 p.m. Erin Aitali, Director of Exhibitions and Interim Executive Director
1-1:30 p.m. Jay Belloli, Interim Executive Director
1:30-2 p.m. Gordon McClelland, California historian, writer, and curator

Skirball Cultural Center
Participating: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Twitter @skirball_LA
Curators available:
Bethany Montagano
Cate Thurston

We also went through the #AskaCurator archives of years past to give readers a feel for the kind of questions that get asked, and spotlight some of our favorite answers. See below for a small sampling, ranging from the big-picture whimsical to the intricate minutiae of specific exhibits.



We also love this guy, who worries about doing museums wrong (@DoomClown actually seems to be somewhat of a star in the #AskaCurator Twitter archives, and there is no wrong way to do a museum as long as you hit the gift shop, IMHO):

The Getty

We should also give The Broad some major props for digging in back in 2014, before they had even opened their doors.

And finally, a few pressing questions from years past that have yet to see a reply. We for one would really like to know the answers!

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