Why the reimagine museums project?

Visitors spend an average of 9 seconds in front of each art work.  Even though the Rijksmuseum offers complete open source access to its collections online, visitors still prefer to capture their own memory of Vermeer's Milkmaid. Makes me wonder what they are really getting from the experience. Image by John Dawson at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 2014.

Visitors spend an average of 9 seconds in front of each art work.  Even though the Rijksmuseum offers complete open source access to its collections online, visitors still prefer to capture their own memory of Vermeer's Milkmaid. Makes me wonder what they are really getting from the experience. Image by John Dawson at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 2014.

There's a lot happening in the world of museums today: from digital, to dance, to sleepovers, the museum ain't what it used to be. Those school trips spent in gloomy rooms, gazing at stuffed birds and old maps, are a thing of the past. Museums are exciting public spaces for learning, for looking at nice stuff, for hanging out and drinking tea. But, some people tell me that the need to appeal to more people more of the time has eclipsed some of the other important things that museums do and that the pendulum has swung too far the other way.  

Of course, both fun and learning have their value, both have their audiences and the truth is that many museums and galleries navigate a successful route back and forth across this complex territory between fun palace and scholarship. But I'm curious to learn how it could be much better. How new ways of connecting with visitors, how new ways of using materials, how new ways of story-telling might transform a museum visit. How we might inspire more learning and more positive change in the world?   

Here's a question: if museums never existed, how might we create them? Starting today?

I'm on a journey - thanks to a Winston Churchill Fellowship - to discover exciting ways to reinvent the idea of museums.  This webspace is a laboratory of ideas, thoughts and provocations from my journey through Europe and North America but also from the UK where lots of great work is happening. I'd love to hear from you so please get in touch using the buttons below or via the contact page.

Meanwhile, my heartfelt thanks go to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and the British Council for the travel grant and to my practice Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios who continue to support and inspire me to get out into the world and develop new ideas.