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…

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…

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,…

Everything that rises must converge: Reflections on AAM2015

Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.  1942.   I’m not sure why this phrase “Everything that rises…

Atlanta, Ferguson, and Beyond

The annual meeting of the American Alliance of Museums will convene this weekend through Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Atlanta, GA. For those of you following this blog, there will be a number of sessions related to a couple of persistent topics:  The Empathetic Museum and #museumsrespondtoFerguson. If you will be in Atlanta, I hope…

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…

A Museum Director Reflects on #MuseumsrespondtoFerguson

I’m pleased to begin the New Year with a guest post from Deborah Schwartz, President of the Brooklyn Historical Society.  As many readers know, a number off other bloggers and I have been posting about the role of museums in responding to Ferguson (using that one word to stand for the series of events that has…

Practical and Compassionate Advice on Museums and Community Conflict

I’m so happy to feature the following guest post from Melanie Adams, Managing Director of Community Education and Events at the Missouri History Museum and President of the Association of Midwest Museums.  The Missouri History Museum has been extremely responsive to all of the issues surrounding the events in August in nearby Ferguson, MO.  For…

We Can’t Outsource Empathy

Participants at Town Hall meeting held in August 2014 by Missouri History Museum soon after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.  Photo: Emanuele Berry|St. Louis Public Radio   How many of you were aware that, earlier this year, the AAM (American Alliance of Museums) Board  published a new policy statement on diversity and inclusion?…