The museumexperience under pressure
Kropswolde, December 2016
In a museum you encounter real things in a unique way. There is
hardly no other place where you can be so close to representatives
of art, nature and culture. Whether it's a famous painting, the
skeleton of a tyrannosaurus, a jewel from prehistorical times or the guitar of Jimi Hendrix's. Museums are the palaces of our heritage.
No static dull spots, as some might suppose, no, good museums change constantly. They are indeed the assembly of all the features of our dynamic world. So you can experience the ingenuity of man and natureagain and again and how this has led to good and bad results. It stimulates your consciousness, you can gain knowledge and refreshyour opinions.
But then it should not be too crowded...
Shoulder to shoulder pressed against each other, these effects are
not possible. There is no time or space to let the work of art
influence your senses. And you are for example not able to look up
in silence to the huge head of the tyrannosaurus high above.
For this kind of intimate experiences unfortunately is hardly no room. Every middle sized museum wants to have blockbusters, because the number of visits is the only goal left. They are forced to increase the cash flow. You could say that museums are trying to be cash cows, forced by governments and boards. And besides of thatthey should never have deficits. Museums are fantastic, but they are supposed to lackfinancial problems. It is the way one looks at the arts in general at the moment: Nice, but not essential.
Besides this focus on mass visit, there is something else that disturbs the actual function of the museum. The museum must namely be 'fun' to attract as many families as possible. Fun for the family, not to mention attractive for the 'kids'. The museum twists and turns to make families with children feel at home. You can claya dinosaur, knit a work of art or do similar things that, I should say, you better try at home. There are now museums that call themselves 'activity museums'.
A museum does not necessarily have to be ‘fun’. You should be able to get under the impression and have experiences who have a life-long effect. The focus on fun and crowded galleries makes it impossible to have a real museum experience.So my suggestion is: start slow visit hours in the museum and let your government or a sponsor pay for it. Just to protect the real museum experience. Hopefully the desire for mass visit and own income will come to an end. That will happen if governments and administrations stop forcing museums to change into commercial businesses. Only then there is a future for institutions that focus on quality. Then we will be proud of our museums who want to give space for artistic and creative development, so they have en important value in a rapidly changing world.
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