Kronburg Castle and Danish Maritime Museum Helsingør, Denmark, May 2014 MUSEUMS: Knowledge, Democracy and Transformation

January 22, 2018 | Author: Martina Sherilyn Lester | Category: N/A
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1 Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences Kronburg Castle and Danish Maritime Museum Helsingør, Denmark, May ...


Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences

Kronburg Castle and Danish Maritime Museum Helsingør, Denmark, 26-27 May 2014 MUSEUMS: Knowledge, Democracy and Transformation Organizational Change Within Participating Institutions Related to the Citizenship Project

George E. Hein Professor Emeritus Lesley University [email protected]

Large, bold project: major goals for institutional change and relatively short time to accomplish them

Project team meeting, 29 May 2013

Citizenship Project includes three major categories of activities: At each museum: Internal Institutional change: More collaborative, (democratic), progressive

External Institutional activity: Expand audiences, create new programs, reach new audiences

Although these are different categories of activities; each impacts the other Across museums: Collaboration Among participating institutions

Institutional change is an integral component of this project ‘’Museums and Cultural Institutions as Spaces for Citizenship focuses on what these institutions can offer in developing active citizenship for present as well as future users and for the institutions’ understanding of self in a socially responsible societal perspective.1 1Museums

and Cultural Institutions as Spaces For Citizenship, (n.d.) p. 1. Excerpt from the original Application for funding to the Danish Cultural Ministry.

“. . .what these institutions can offer in developing active citizenship for present as well as future users” The public element of the Citizenship Project expanded audience, Inclusivity, etc. is popular today.

One example (of many)

Prof. Amareswar Galla

What do we know about institutional change?

• Difficult • Takes a long time • Hard to recognize barriers • Requires significant commitment and drive • Requires a strong driving force: funding, leadership, necessity, etc. (Not much written about museums) Griffin, D.J.G. (1987), Managing in the Museum Organization I. Leadership and Communication. Museum Management and Curatorship , Vol. 6, [4], pp 387-398. Janes, Robert R. Korn R. Matelic, Candace A. “Understanding Change and Transformation in History Organizations,” History News, vol. 63, [2], 2008, 7-13. McCall, Vikki and Gray, Clive. (2014) Museums and the ‘new museology’ : theory, practice and organisational change. Museum Management and Curatorship, Volume 29, [1]. 19-35. Pew Charitable Trust Summaries_-_reports_and_pubs/pamc_overview_0704.pdf

Theory for “democratization” in museums: Institutional change moving towards more democratic practice Museums are educational institutions Goal for any educational institution is to bring about change in its audience; in the public is serves. If that goal is serving that public in a manner that promotes inclusivity and democratic practice, then it is essential that the educational institution examine its own practice and become as democratic as possible.

Factors that limit democratic practice • Tradition • Invisibility of discrimination • Unwillingness to take risks • Understandable desire for keeping status quo and convenience (Cannot assume that institutions in a nominally democratic society are as democratic and inclusive as possible.)

Dewey’s analysis, a model for promoting democratic practice in educational institutions “Ethical Principles Underlying a Theory of Education,” 1987. Dewey discusses how students can learn to become responsible members of a democratic society; how curriculum must be related to life, rules of behavior must model outcome desired, etc. “We

must take the child as a member of society in the broadest sense and demand whatever is necessary to enable the child to recognize all his social relations and to carry them out.” “[Considered from a moral, ethical standpoint] it is obvious that modifications in results or products must flow from changes in the agent or doer. If we want to get different things done, we must begin with changing the machinery [organization] which does them.”

“As time went on, it became clear that this experiment in education required experimental administrative methods. . . . Instead of a group of persons who planned on paper a program which they then required a staff of teachers to teach to pupils, these experimenters were confronted with a different problem. The aid of the teachers (as well as the pupils) was a fundamental and primary requisite to even the theoretical formulation of an educative program. Indeed, such an experiment in education as this could not go on except through a group of persons all of whom were intellectually and socially cooperating in a constantly developing educational plan. Katherine Camp Mayhew and Anna Camp Edwards (1936) The Dewey School, reprinted New York: Atherton Press, 1966, p. 10-11.

“In dealing with principles underlying school activities, it is easy, especially after a lapse of years, to read into a statement of them what one has learned in subsequent experience. Another danger more serious and more difficult to avoid lies in the gap between any formal statement of principles and ideals and the way things work out in actual practice; in the temptation to idealize the latter by assuming a greater conformity with theoretical principles than is attained. . . .The principles stated were not intended to serve as definite rules for what was done at the school. They furnished a point of view and indicated the direction in which it was to move. John Dewey, quoted in Mayhew and Edwards, The Dewey School, 1936, p. 11.

My conjecture: In practice, in this project external (audience related) activities were the primary influence on changing internal structures and values At each museum: Internal Institutional change: More collaborative, (democratic), progressive

Across museums: Collaboration Among participating institutions

External Institutional activity: Expand audiences, create new programs, reach new audiences

1. Expansion of pedagogic training for staff that interact with public (Olga Dysthe’s significant contribution) Dialogic approach (emphasis on process) for Phase 1, (school groups) • Training in dialogue expanded and applied internally and between institutions • Include more staff: part-time educators, art teachers, guides front of house? Others? • Resulted in more collaboration From one educator and curator to more Larger teams working to develop exhibitions

Inevitably leads to more prominence of educative experiences and communication/ explanations/space allocation. Intended for broader audience, not only content experts. Can lead to more democratic/participatory work including larger segment of museum staff working collaboratively

2. Modification and expansion of exhibition/program development process Add community voices (focus groups), not only scholar/art historian/ scientist What interests the public? General answer: something with which they can connect without expert knowledge Recognition of visitors: who they are, what categories they may fit into, how they use the museum. Can lead to public input into exhibitions/programs even public curated exhibitions or, at minimum, parallel communication methods of expert and others.

KØS J. F. Willumsens

Københavns Museum

3. Special activities become more common Drawing in a museum for the general public

Statens Museum for Kunst


DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA

4. Expansion of programs within the organization Royal Theatre program: • Program Staffing: from one person to five in one year continual growth to include more than 10 staff • Participatng units: from instrumental (orchestra) only to include opera, ballet, theater • Increased participation of range of artistic professions working wth students: set designers, costume makers, dramaturge, • Increase and expansion of active participation of young people in creative artisitc activity— one group of srtudents developing a complete opera to be performed in June 2014

5. Programmatic expansion (Physical) 4.a. use of grounds, public space as well as exhibit halls

4.b. workshops, concerts, community days— DesignMuseum Nikolaj

4.c. Sending materials, exhibits to schools, community centers, hospitals, etc.

J. F. Willumsens Museum

5. intense engagement with specific groups 5.a. Danish Language schools SMK, Arken, Design Museum, Thorvadsen

5.b. small groups of young people leading to some paid positions SMK Arken Museum for Modertne Kunst J. F. Willumsens Museum, Køvenhabns Museum, Nikolaj Kunsthal, Thorvaldsens Museum, (This reminds me of YouthALIVE! From ASTC in USA. See and an article, Snyder, C. “The Legacy of YouthAlive”) 5.c. Others?

6. Staff diversity But, staffs are not very diverse (yet).

Anatolien Kulturdage 2013 finder sted på Rådhuspladsen d. 1.-2. Juni. . .

Small steps can indicate significant change It is like having a Trojan horse inside the museum, challenging us with many practical situations to deal with, demanding a very high degree of cooperation and communication across the organization, and surely pushing boundaries and changing our self-understanding as an institution. We decided to regularly meet across departments and in due time before each new exhibition to discuss and realize initiatives that might engage a divers audience and result in more learning and a more inclusive approach for everyone. We are still struggling to actually involve each other often and early enough in the planning process of projects and exhibitions but we are definitely working on it.

The biggest and most important challenge was to get the new colleagues formally employed by the museum. The first time you are employed in Denmark, there are so many forms to be completed, and the entire administration is not really geared for this.

One important effect of the project is new ways of collaborate in-house developing exhibitions and activities. We now work together across divisions and professional skills from the very beginning of a project. I really think it's a major success and something that improves both our exhibitions and education program. But our challenge is to ensure that every single staff member understands what citizenship is and why we as a museum and cultural institution choose that concept.

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