I worry a bit about museums.
There are significant shifts happening in the Museum Biz, reflective of society at large. Things like co-creation, crowd sourcing, the rise of Maker Spaces, "everyone a curator," digital distribution of experiences, and the unfortunate mismatch between the demographics of museum audiences (older, richer, whiter) and the growth of the communities around them (younger, less white, less affluent).
Designer Anab Jain frames changes like these as The New Normal.
In one way, the New Normal --- these continuing shifts and changes, provide tremendous opportunities. On the other hand, the notion of things like "Art Everywhere" that this article posits, or the notion of creating museums without the onerous overhead and infrastructure of buildings, is a bit scary and confusing.
But I feel like many long-term museum leaders (the "Old Guard" if you will) are either ignoring or disparaging the changes embedded in the New Normal in favor of doing things the way they've always been done before.
That "this is the way we've always done things" approach didn't work out well for the auto companies in Detroit, and it isn't working out so well for print media like newspapers. I can't see how that oblivious "we've always done it this way" approach will work out well for museums, either.
When I first started working in museums over 30 years ago, I thought I could I could just "wait out" the Old Guard, but in some ways, I feel like I'm still waiting. There's an obstreperous and intransigent lot that seems like they'll never get off the stage and give the younger people coming up behind them a chance to help the museum field grow and evolve.
Maybe the Old Guard in museums has just always been resistant to change. In years past, cultural institutions without "formal collections" (like many children's museums and science centers) weren't even officially considered museums.
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