Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Perils of Soundbites

Never let it be said that I don't fess up when I'm in error, even inadvertantly. After my recent post on the question of community-centered vs object-centered museums, James Chung and Suzy Wilkening of Reach Advisors got in touch with me to put me right on the subject of James' supposed "It's not about the collections anymore. It's about community" quote, as reported in Christian Science Monitor. It seems that this was a result of a 30 minute interview being boiled down to a one-line soundbite, and of course they have a much more rational approach to the role of collections which they lay out in the comments on the post - I urge you to scroll down to the bottom and read what they have to say. We're both sticking to our respective positions - I think collections are critical to the identity of museums, James and Suzy believe that community engagement is equally critical - but I don't think the two positions are mutually exclusive. Reach Advisors will be reporting on the findings of their upcoming research on the role of objects in shaping museum attitudes from early ages at some future date and I'll be happy to talk about it here. So this is by way of a mea culpa for accusing James, who seems a very reasonable and thoughtful chap, of being "pointy headed." Many apologies, James.

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