Can Museums Be Empathetic? Yes!

In a December 6, 2016 post Museum Geek blogger Suse Cairns asked this question: Can institutions be empathetic?  My EM colleagues and I have been discussing the many thoughtful  questions Suse has raised.  Following is our response.  We believe that it is possible for institutions such as museums to be empathetic, and below we outline…

Joint Statement on Museums and Ferguson: First Anniversary

On December 11, 2014, and in the days following a number of us posted a joint statement expressing our concern about museums’ lack of recognition of the underlying causes of the events in Ferguson (writ large). The statement has had both immediate and continuing impact, so I think it’s worth republishing it, and reflecting on…

Characteristics of the #Empathetic Museum: 1) Civic Vision

Museums have to look at where they can challenge the status quo, and where they can push, but also where they can partner.  Peoria, IL City Manager   Every once in awhile a confluence of books, articles, conference presentations, and blog posts calls attention to the same phenomenon in the museum world.  Is this synchronicity, the zeitgeist,…

Museum Voices from India: Why I Want to Be a Science Museum Professional  

  I want to “be a part of place that doesn’t just spread knowledge  but pulls the string of science cord in everyone.”  Itisha Once again my colleague Karen Lee of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and I are teaching in the MT in Science Communication program for the National Council of Science…

#MuseumsrespondtoFerguson: What’s Authentic?

  In December 2014, in the midst of demonstrations and widespread discussion about race and racism in the aftermath of a grand jury’s decision against indicting a white police officer for shooting an unarmed black teen,  a group of bloggers (including this one) and colleagues posted their Joint Statement urging museums to become involved and…

Museum Hack: Worth Thinking (and Writing) About

How do you get started writing professionally?  How do you know what to write about?    These were among the questions that Will Crow, writer/museum educator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I discussed recently at a program on writing as part of professional work.  During the evening, sponsored by the New York City…

Front Page Dialogues: Museum Resources for Timely Responses

Guest Post by Sarah Pharon, Senior Director, Methodology and Practice, International Coalition of Sites of Conscience I travel frequently for my work. I spend more time than I would like at airports eating an embarrassing amount of “bad food” from food courts.  While waiting for my order from one of the airport fast food chains…

An Underused Resource on What We Know about Museum Learning

Museum Questions Blogger Rebecca Herz and I agreed awhile back to have an open and continuing blog conversation about education and learning in museums.  Rebecca has upheld her end of the agreement much better than I. Over the past several months she has posted an interesting question almost every week–on the value of field trips, the…

Following up on Ferguson

Carol Bossert’s weekly  Museum Life program on VoiceAmerica satellite radio brings all kinds of current museum issues to the fore. I was happy to be part of a discussion she hosted on Friday, January 23, 2015 called “Following up on Ferguson.”  I joined Melanie Adams, the Managing Director for Community Education and Events for the…