Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Questioning the Core

One of the worst trends to come out of the continuing collision between COVID and museums is the notion of invoking the "core" purpose of an institution as a rationale for eliminating staff positions.

When a museum centers, and privileges, its building(s) and collections over its staff and visitors it sends a clear message, "We value stuff over staff, and buildings over programs."

When COVID forced the closure of precious museum buildings, institutions were forced to de-center their physical locations and create different types of offerings in the virtual world.  It has become clear that valuable, and in many ways, more accessible, programs can be offered by cultural organizations that are building-independent.

So how would museums be different:

• If they favored Staff over Stuff?  

• If collaborations with communities de-centered (both physically and mentally) museum buildings?

• If the notion of "core" went beyond just buildings and collections, and meaningfully encompassed staff and programs?

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Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

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