A Listening Session for Recovering Museum Workers

Join Museum Workers Speak for a listening session on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 7:30 pm ET.  Go to this invitation for more information on the event and on how to participate. The Museum Workers Relief Fund MWS is a collective of activist museum workers interrogating the relationship between museums’ stated commitments to social value…

A Statement of Acknowledgement

As a longtime museum professional who is white, I do not presume to speak for my colleagues of color at this moment. I speak only for myself. But I wish that this statement or something like it could be published by the still predominantly white museum field. And I include myself as an individual who…

The Zeitgeist of Tyranny: What Should Museums Do?

In the century that has followed the rise and near-triumph of Nazism between the 1920s and 1945, history has judged not just Adolf Hitler, his government, paramilitary organizations, and army.  We have also become aware of the almost total submission of German civic institutions to Nazism:  the courts, universities, banks, hospitals, arts organizations – all…

Yes, Museums Need to Step into the Future, but First We Must Acknowledge our Past

In his opinion piece in the New York Times on July 26, 2019, (Museums Need to Step into the Future) Ford Foundation President Darren Walker applauds museums’ greater involvement in social justice issues. And he calls for increased efforts toward diversity and inclusion.  Walker correctly takes a holistic approach, touching on hiring, collecting, exhibitions, and…

Serrell’s “Judging Exhibitions” in India

Broad use of the Excellent Judges Framework inside institutions, and advocacy of visitor-centered goals by exhibition professionals, just might make all of our jobs a bit easier—and the products of our efforts more effective—in the future.  Beverly Serrell.  2006 We’re over ten years into the future envisioned by Beverly Serrell, one of the most respected…

Children at the Border: Where Are Museums? Niños en la frontera: ¿Dónde están los museos?

On July 22, 2014, almost four years ago, I raised this issue on AAM’s  Future of Museums  blog: Unacompanied Children at our Borders:  Can Museums Help? It didn’t attract much attention, but this was before #museumsrespondtoFerguson, #MuseumsAreNotNeutral, Museums and Race, MASSAction, and countless other disussions and initiatives regarding museums’ engagement with and responsibility to the world outside…

The “Overlooked” Initiative: Lessons in Empathy from the New York Times

Yet who gets remembered — and how — inherently involves judgment. To look back at the obituary archives can, therefore, be a stark lesson in how society valued various achievements and achievers.   On March 8, 2018, the New York Times published a special Sunday supplement containing the photographs and beautifully written obituaries of some…

Monuments, Memorials, and Mascots: What is the Museum’s Role?

Racist images pervade our public spaces and mental landscape  If you missed the live feed of the symposium, Mascots, Myths, Memorials, and Memory on Saturday, March 3, you can still find the agenda on the program’s Facebook page, and a number of recordings of the talks on YouTube.  There is also a great summary of the day…