Photo by Francesca Palazzi on Flickr.
Occasionally, it’s good to take a step back from all the insiders’ discussions about the future of museum and their role in society and look at what ordinary people have to say about that. I feel at times there’s a disconnect between the museum discourse and my everyday experience with ordinary people about what they want from museums.
Take for instance the ordinary people who write the great series ‘Authors on museums’ in my favourite magazine Intelligent Life. Almost every one of these authors reflects in their essay on the intrinsic value of the collection of the museum. Plus, most of them see the museum they describe as a place to escape to (Sanctum in the City). It is a place that defines them as individuals and a place full of memories of family and friendship, love and life (Palais of the Dolls). It is a place for private memories (The Odessaphiles).
Through the eyes of the authors, museums are a dream world. A museum is not reality. A museum is a place that appeals to the imagination with (self)discovery, beautiful collections, peace and quite…
The aspirational 14%
Given, these authors aren’t as ordinary people as John Doe is ordinary people. Nevertheless, they represent and write for an audience that is very much a museum audience. Intelligent Life is written for a group of society I’ve recently read being referred to as ‘the aspirational 14%’. In context, the 14% of people aspiring to one day own a Patek Philippe (as opposed to the 1% that actually will). These are the people that look up, hope, dream. In the words of Oscar Wilde, those in the gutter looking at the stars. Read the rest of this entry »