Monuments, Memorials, and Mascots: What is the Museum’s Role?

Racist images pervade our public spaces and mental landscape  If you missed the live feed of the symposium, Mascots, Myths, Memorials, and Memory on Saturday, March 3, you can still find the agenda on the program’s Facebook page, and a number of recordings of the talks on YouTube.  There is also a great summary of the day…

Thoughts on Museum Neutrality: What is the Conflict?

D’lo, Queer/transgender Tamil Sri Lankan-American Actor/Writer/Comedian Visitors of Color Tmblr   Can Museums Be Neutral? ,a post by Museum Questions blogger Rebecca Herz, galvanized museum discussions on Twitter and Facebook in December, 2017. The conversation died down over the holidays, but I’ve continued to reflect on some of the important questions that were raised. Earlier in the…

Excellence and Equity: 25 and Still Alive

“Museums must become more inclusive places that welcome diverse audiences, but first they should reflect our society’s pluralism in every aspect of their operations and programs.”  Excellence and Equity.  1992 This sentence on the first page of Excellence and Equity makes it the prescient and seminal publication that it was in 1992 and that it remains today.…

The Idea of Museum Neutrality: Where Did it Come From?

Where is Part 2? In a post written on March 2, 2017, Stayin’ Alive, Part 1: Advocacy, I described efforts by the American Alliance of Museums, on behalf of the larger US museum community, to advocate for continued government funding of museums and cultural institutions in the face of a proposed Trump budget.  As implied…

The Naive* Display of Cultural Symbols

I know when someone that’s not you tries to tell your story, especially when you don’t look like the person who’s telling your story, they’re gonna screw it up!  And the only way to have it right is to have them as closely involved as possible. Comedian and writer Aziz Ansari, Master of None I…

Stayin’ Alive, Part 1: Advocacy

And now it’s alright, it’s okay And you may look the other way We can try to  understand the New York Times’ effect on man. Stayin’ Alive.  The Gibbs Brothers Monday, February 27 was training day for the 9th annual American Alliance of Museums Advocacy Day program; two days when museums from all over the…

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…