About This Site


Newly expanded content

Originally begun as a blog, Museum Commons is now expanding to include writings and documentation on a variety of topics: exhibitions that I helped to develop; articles on museum practice; thoughts on museums, race, and social justice. You will also find links to The Empathetic Museum which I founded in 2013. The tabs above include all blog posts since 2011 as well as links to my work over four decades in the museum field.


The image: The Dinner Party

The Dinner Party, 1974-79 Judy Chicago, born 1939. Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Although this work by Judy Chicago represents a dinner party attended by notable women from many times and places (each place setting symbolizes a woman in history), I believe it also represents inclusive conversation in general.  It says, “All are welcome at this table.” This is why I chose it as a background image for this site.


The title: Museum Commons

I introduced this blog site in 2011 with the following statement. My goals remain the same as this site transitions to a space holding my other writings and projects. Comments are still welcome.

At the AAM annual conference in Houston (May 2011), I was inspired by the sessions presented by thought leader Lewis Hyde. During a conversation sponsored by The Museum Group, Dr. Hyde spoke about the difference between antagonistic and agonistic modes of thinking and discussion. Antagonism, as he says in his recent book, Common as Air, “pits enemies against one another, each side trying to destroy or silence its opponents; agonism, on the other hand, is a conflict among equals, and while some will be more persuasive, none are silenced, all are in play.” (p. 228) This site is intended to be a place of agonistic discussion. A place where differing ideas are considered by equals, and where a serving of disagreement may be considered nourishing. A site where widely differing ideas may be sampled or set aside, enjoyed and/or critiqued. To put it bluntly- I’d like to host a stimulating dinner party, but not a food fight.