Spotlight: Museum Council Connoisseurship Seminar and Dinner

Museum Council

Julie Balzer recaps the Connoisseurship Seminar and Dinner for Council Fellows and Council Patrons.

For those who were unable to join, what happened at this year’s Connoisseurship Seminar and Dinner?

Before Connoisseurship Night, guests ranked the evening’s curatorial tours in order of preference. Upon arrival, each guest was assigned to two tours, running one after the other, based on those preferences. The night concluded with a seated dinner alongside Old Master paintings and Hanoverian silver in the Koch Gallery, 250.

What makes the Connoisseurship Seminar and Dinner so special for Museum Council members?

I think that most people join the Museum Council because they want to connect with fellow art lovers, learn more about the MFA’s collection and exhibitions, and engage in unique experiences at the Museum. The wonderful thing about Connoisseurship Night is that guests get all three in one spectacular event! The seated dinner is a fantastic chance to get to know new people, first by talking about the tours and then by segueing into other topics. In addition, you get not one curatorial experience, but two. It’s a great opportunity to get to know curators in a smaller environment.

As vice chair of events for the Museum Council Steering Committee, what did you do differently this year?

I think the biggest changes from last year were to the seated dinner. I really wanted people to be able to connect with each other. We changed the tables from round to rectangular to facilitate conversation among a larger group of people. We also assigned seats and split couples up to encourage more mixing and mingling.

What was your favorite moment at this year’s Seminar?

A friend of mine joined the Museum Council this year, and she was a bit shy when talking to strangers at events. The assigned seating on Connoisseurship Night forced her to sit away from me and with a group of strangers, and she had a great time. My favorite moment was when she came up to me and said, “This was great. It turns out I don’t need you to have fun!”