I last wrote a blog post on May 31st of this year. That's just about five months ago. I've blogged for more than a decade and have never gone more than a month without writing a post. My goal used to be a post every week. But I have struggled to find what it is I want to say. Travel fueled my thinking about museums--meeting colleagues, visiting museums, and sharing what I learned along the way. So that's left a hole in my thinking--and writing.
But more importantly, I've struggled to think that I have anything useful to add to the deep and important conversations around museum change happening now. I am in awe of those bloggers who have continued to write--not just to write but to write important words that we should all be listening to--and acting upon. Like many of you, I've also been overwhelmed by the amount of great content in terms of webinars and online conversations.
I wanted to share some of the writing--and watching--that has resonated with me. Here goes:
Porchia Moore, everywhere she appears: in particular, Cartography: A Black Woman's Response to Museums in the Time of Racial Uprising and Reflexive Cartography: Or a Ritual for the Dhying Museum Landscape--the Socio-Political Impact of Change in Museums, both on the Incluseum. These posts made me think in entirely new ways.
The ongoing work of Mass Action, in particular the Readiness Assessment.
Joan Baldwin's weekly posts (and I am in awe of that!) at Leadership Matters. where she often takes a broader societal issue that's emerged that week and encourages us to consider in our museum context.
My colleague Braden Paynter at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience facilitates weekly webinar shorts, 30 minutes of great conversation on everything from Definitions of Justice to Finding Joy to Facilitating Digital Dialogue. The webinars are all recorded--and they are free for all to attend. Check them out!
The Instagram account @changethemuseum, important, heartbreaking and infuriating in equal measure. We--particularly us of an older generation in the museum field--have a great deal of reckoning, listening, and changing to do.
Andrea Jones of Peak Experience Lab (and now at the Anacostia Museum) has only written one blog post during the pandemic, but it really mattered: Empathetic Audience Engagement During the Apocalypse
Death to Museums online presentations and discussions on everything from calling out racism at specific institutions, to exorcising ghosts of the Confederacy. Also, more of Dr. Moore!
Upcoming, I'll be reading Dan Hicks' new book The Brutish Museums The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution. Dan was kind enough to respond to a Twitter stranger and meet me for a lively conversation when I was in the UK in February (remember travel?). For Dan's perspective on the UK culture wars these days, check out his recent piece in the Guardian.
And I would be remiss not to mention the incredible effort of Paula Santos and others for the Museum Workers Relief Fund. As all of you know, museum workers, particularly front-line workers and museum educators have been devastated by the pandemic and museum closures while, in some cases, billionaire board members have refused to step up and support the museum they ostensibly serve. In the meantime, almost 1000 donors (including me) have donated $68,000 to support laid-off museum workers.
What else have I done during the pandemic? participated in many, many zoom calls, in multiple languages, and appreciated the changing seasons in the place I live, the Catskills of upstate New York. I can't wait to travel again, but I'll see if this simple post gets me back blogging. In the meantime, deep gratitude to all of you who write, speak, and inspire.