Last week the New York Times released its annual special section on museums. I LOVE curling up with the print version of these stories for a good read. The NYT gives non-subscribers access to a limited number of content pieces (articles, videos etc.) per month, though if I understand their policy correctly, by clicking through via the links in this post you can read all these articles even if you exceed your monthly cap. (I recommend you subscribe in any case, if not to the NYT then to the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor or other quality news of your choice—serious long form journalism needs our support!) I’ve provided summaries of some of my favorite stories below. I hope you click through to read the articles in depth. Enjoy!
John Hanc profiles the small but growing number of museums that focus on challenging concepts and operate without a permanent physical site. I was tickled to be interviewed for this story, and to share some of my favorite museums in this category with John. Features the Museum of Homelessness (London), the Street Art Museum (Amsterdam), the Museum of Joy (San Francisco), and the Empathy Museum (which has traveled around the globe).
This article by Graham Bowley documents how some museums are directly engaging with current political events such as recent executive orders banning travel from some majority-Muslim nations. Bowley also interviews museum leaders who feel it is more appropriate for their organizations to take a longer view and wait for events to be filtered through the lens of history or art. Features the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, the Museum of the City of New York, the National Museum of American History, The National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the New-York Historical Society. On a related note, see Jane Levere’s article A Guide to Museums Getting Political This Year.
Alina Tugend charts how museums are “seeking more novel ways to make themselves relevant to an adolescent audience.” Having included failure as a topic in CFM’s recently released TrendsWatch 2017, I was particularly delighted by the description of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver’s Failure Lab, a leadership program that pairs teens with professional artists. Kate Baie, the museum’s director of programming, is quoted as saying “There’s all this pressure to succeed in the world, and we wanted to let them fail, and fail spectacularly.” The article also features the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s Art Detective programs, building bridges between youth and police; the Minnesota Historical Society’s Wariyaa program for Somali youth; as well as teen programs run by the Museum of the City of New York and the Museum of Modern Art. Tugend summarizes the results of the IMLS funded report Room to Rise: The Lasting Impact of Intensive Teen Programs in Art Museums, which documents the impact of long-term teen programs at the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
I’m a sucker for robots, and have tracked robotic inroads into museums since featuring this topic in TrendsWatch 2014. In this article Doreen Carvajal reports on telepresence robots working at the Musée de la Grande Guerre in Meaux, France, the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Mob Museum in Las Vegas, and the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa, as well as recapping the exploits of nocturnal robots roaming the Tate Britain. Quai Branly’s robotic art critic (featured TrendsWatch 2017‘s chapter on artificial intelligence) makes an appearance as well.
I’ve provided links, below, to the other stories in the special museum section. Which are your favorites? Share in the comment section here on the Blog or share them via Twitter. Tag @futureofmuseums and I will retweet! I bet @nytimesarts would love it if you tag them, too.