There is something in the zeitgeist. Something about trying to pin down the term "museum." (And in a parallel jag, something about the notion of "curator" being watered down and increasingly being twisted into a cheap commercial come-on.)
I recently chaired a session at the annual AAM meeting in Houston on the subject of "Non-Traditional Museums" that you can read more about here and here. It raised, amongst other issues, how to sort out the notion of on-line or virtual museums, or how to consider a museum of poetry.
The latest issue of NAME's journal, The Exhibitionist (pictured at the top of this post) devotes an entire issue to the subject of "Is It a Museum? Does It Matter?" The issue is excellent by the way, filled with lots of meaty, thoughtful, contentious, messy stuff. Here's a link to download a sample article PDF. If you aren't currently a member of NAME (why not?) keep reading to the end of this post for your chance to win one of two copies of this latest issue that I'm giving away.
And lastly, there is also a very lively discussion about the topics surrounding "Is It a Museum? Does It Matter?" happening right now on the NAME listserv.
But it's a tricky business, trying to sort out whether to call something a museum or not, isn't it?
On one hand, you don't want every roadside attraction or personal collection of knick-knacks to water down the term by calling itself a "museum." But on the other hand it doesn't seem so long ago that most science centers and children's museums weren't considered "official" museums because they didn't always maintain collections.
In my own current thinking, I'm more concerned about what a creative group of people does, than what it, or others, calls the collective enterprise. However, the IRS, or funders, or professional organizations seem much less sanguine about such a loose notion of "museum."
AND NOW, THE GIVEAWAY!
What do you think? Does it matter about what we do (or do not) call a museum? Let us know in the "Comments" Section below between now and June 6th, 2011 and you'll be entered into a random drawing to win a copy of the latest "Is It a Museum? Does It Matter?" issue of the Exhibitionist mailed directly to your door.
If you're the shy and retiring type, and just want a chance to win a copy without making a comment, then sign up to become an email subscriber to ExhibiTricks between now and June 6th, 2011 by clicking on the link at the top right side of the blog, and you'll also be entered into a random drawing to win the second copy of the latest "Is It a Museum? Does It Matter?" issue of the Exhibitionist mailed directly to your door.
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