"Best Museum" Lists are the Worst
USA Today recently published something claiming to be "The Best Museum in Every State" list.
Aside from the incredibly stupid premise -- how would you compare two completely different types of museums, say the Museum of Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and claim one of them is the "best"?
The people who most often seem interested in these "best museum" lists are executive directors chasing donors or museum marketeers looking to turn out another press release.
Is there anything more pathetic than someone begging you to cast an online vote so that their museum can gain the "best" museum designation in the western suburbs of Boston or in small towns east of the Mississippi?
Do we really want our work recognized by giving ourselves flimsy PR bragging rights because of some bogus "best of" list?
You don't claim the title of "the best" for yourself in some cheesy marketing stunt, instead you do the hard work every day, with every visitor, to create amazing experiences so that they give you the title of "the best" by coming back to your museum again and again, and telling their friends and family to do the same.
As that great museum philosopher Jerry Garcia once said,
"Don’t be the best. Be the only.”
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