December 2019

Holiday Wish List


Looking for a holiday gift idea? Or maybe an escape? Have no fear: here are a few suggestions from the MER Board for the museum lover, activist, and curious folks in your circle… or a little escape from the season if that is what you need! Here are books that have inspired us, nourished us, and helped us smile in 2019. We also have some fun podcasts to get you through the stress of the holidays!


Book cover of Lose Well by Chris Gethard. The cover image is of the author, a young white man with short hair and glasses, against a blue background.Lose Well by Chris Gethard
Recommended by Hazel Theriault

“I love how this book talks about failing, and it’s by an awesome comedian, so it’s an easy read.”



Image of book cover of Where to Begin. The title and author appear in bold font. In the word "To" a globe icon replaces the "O"Where to Begin by Cleo Wade

Recommended by Michelle Dezember

“It can be so easy to feel overwhelmed with worry, doubt, and insecurity. It’s even easier to feel closed off when those feelings get the best of us. Wade’s collection of handwritten poems and stories provide a beautifully accessible series of bite-sized encouragement to keep going and recognize the power in the little things.”


Image is the book cover of Pleasure Activism. The title appears in bold font. The cover is illustrated with several silhouettes of various animals mating.Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown

Recommended by Michelle Dezember

“How do we sustain ourselves on the long road of change-making? Not just sustain to keep going, but to actually feed ourselves? Pleasure Activism provides deeply personal and widely applicable accounts of the value (and urgency) of bringing pleasure into museum work.”


Cover image of Designing for Empathy. The cover is illustrated with Arabic writing in script-style on a gold background.Designing for Empathy by
Elif M. Gokcigdem

Recommended by Amanda Thompson Rundalh

Designing for Empathy expands our understanding of empathy and its potential for fostering compassionate worldviews and actions through a multidisciplinary exploration in three parts: “The Object of Our Empathy” explores how we define and perceive the “Other;” “The Alchemy of Empathy” introduces thirteen design elements of empathy that might lead to transformative learning experiences; and “The Scope and the Spectrum of Empathy” highlights the importance of positioning empathy as a cross-industrial shared value for the benefit of people and the planet.


Cover image of The ARt of Gathering. The Title is printed in bold lettering in front of a water color painted circleThe Art of Gathering by Priya Parker

Recommended by Amanda Thompson Rundahl

In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker argues that the gatherings in our lives are lackluster and unproductive–which they don’t have to be. We rely too much on routine and the conventions of gatherings when we should focus on distinctiveness and the people involved. At a time when coming together is more important than ever, Parker sets forth a human-centered approach to gathering that will help everyone create meaningful, memorable experiences, large and small, for work and for play.



Cover image for Brains On Presents Forever Ago. There are three cartoon Roman pillars with various objects on top of each one - a hamberger, a sneaker, and a playstation controller.Brains on! Presents Forever Ago

Recommended by Sonal Bhatt

Forever ago is a history show for the whole family. Covering topics from the invention of video games, to historic sandwich recipes, to the story of how French royalty because fashion police, this show is full of great info and wonderful stories.


Last Seen

Recommended by Amanda Thompson Rundahl

This podcast investigates the largest unsolved art heist in history. Looking into the 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in Boston, this podcast is a tantalizing and frustrating journey – much like the unsolved mystery that it documents.


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness 

Recommended by Sam Theriault

This show covers topics from politics to kitten rescues to geoengineering. Journey with host Jonathan and experts in their respective fields as they get curious about anything and everything under the sun.


Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine 

Recommended by Hazel Theriault

Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin welcome you to Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine. Every Friday, they dig through the annals of medical history to uncover all the odd, weird, wrong, dumb and just gross ways we’ve tried to fix people over the years.