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…

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…

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…

Thoughts on Museum Neutrality: A Question of Balance?

I’m still gathering my thoughts on the fast and furious Twitter conversation of the week of December 18, 2017, sparked by Rebecca Herz’s post, Can Museums Be Neutral?  While I’m working on my response I’d like to add to the discussion by publishing the thoughts of Dan Spock (formerly Director of the Museum at the…

MASSAction 2017: Decentering Whiteness

How to transform museums into places of greater inclusion and equity?  This is the key question of the MASSAction (Museum as Site for Social Action) initiative, begun in 2016 and coordinated out of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.     A few weeks ago 36 museums (art, history, science) from across the country gathered for…

The Idea of Museum Neutrality: Where Did it Come From?

Where is Part 2? In a post written on March 2, 2017, Stayin’ Alive, Part 1: Advocacy, I described efforts by the American Alliance of Museums, on behalf of the larger US museum community, to advocate for continued government funding of museums and cultural institutions in the face of a proposed Trump budget.  As implied…