Mayborn Museum enters dance-off competition

In this screenshot from the video, Reading, Pa., graduate student Matt Doyen, who plays the reluctant visitor, receives a museum studies T-shirt.

By Rachel Smith | Reporter

Dancing in the rotunda of the Mayborn Museum to ’80s music might not be a typical Sunday morning student activity, but that didn’t stop museum staff and graduate museum studies students from filming their video entry for When You Work at a Museum blog’s Museum Dance-Off competition.

Voting for videos by geographic region will occur in rounds leading up to the Thunderdome round. Voting for Western U.S. Group 1, which includes the Mayborn Museum’s entry, will begin April 20 on the blog’s website. Jess Outten, Mayborn Museum visitor services manager, said the museum’s social media accounts will post the link to vote when it opens.

“We’re trying to get everyone in Texas behind us,” Outten said.

Outten said the planning committee considered several songs for the video before choosing “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash.

“It’s kind of like the life cycle of a visitor,” Outten said.

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In this screenshot from the video, Reading, Pa., graduate student Matt Doyen dances in the middle of a circle of museum studies graduate students and Mayborn Museum staff members.

Baytown graduate student Sarah Miller said the video shows a storyline of a Mayborn visitor debating whether to stay in the museum or go.

“It’s kind of showing his internal struggle,” Miller said. “We all dance around and show him what’s in there. Throughout the song, he starts dancing a little bit.”

The video showcases parts of the museum as the visitor experiences them. Miller said one scene includes the Mayborn Museum staff’s children.

“The best part of the video is the kids dressing [the visitor],” Miller said. “By the end of the video, he decides that he should stay, and he’s dancing, too.”

Reading, Pa., graduate student Matt Doyen played the role of the visitor.

“The most challenging part of filming the video was just trying to go around and have a serious face while watching all these people dance like goofballs,” Doyen said. “I had to be the stoic visitor that kind of wants to go. I just want it be known that I was not in on the voting of making me the visitor.”

Doyen helped the committee plan the video, and he said he thinks making the video has brought the students and staff closer.

“We’ve watched these videos for three years now,” Doyen said. “It always seemed like so much fun. It makes you love where you are more.”

Miller said it was fun to see everyone come out of their shells.

“The most memorable part was probably all the wild dance moves we were coming up with,” Miller said. “It was fun to see the video come together. It makes you proud of the organization that you’re in, how we can partner together and do really cool things.”

Outten said many museum studies graduate students work at various museums in the area, so she does not work with them as much as she would like.

“It was really nice to have that collaboration across different departments because there’s a lot we can learn from each other,” Outten said.

Outten said the Mayborn Museum has been busy with renovations and changes throughout the fall and spring, so filming the video was a morale booster.

“It was kind of nice to take a break and do something fun and silly and get to know a little bit more about your coworkers and your fellow students,” Outten said. “You get to see a side of people you don’t usually see at work.”

Outten said she tells people her job is like a permanent field trip, and she has fun at work every day.

“I think it just kind of goes to show, it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can have fun here,” Outten said. “We will not yell at you if you have fun.”

Doyen said he hopes the video will promote the Mayborn.

“I just hope people come here and realize it’s a fun place, especially Baylor students,” Doyen said. “It’s promoting that we’re not just a museum for children, and we’re not just a museum for old people. We have fun here, too, and so can you.”