• Like you I found it interesting to see the word collections appears @ no.2 and future @ No. 3 but past and history are not in the top ten – although I can see history does appear in the word cloud. I don’t know about you but I feel this exposes a bit of schizoid behavior around how the museum thinks about its collections and their status as a core activity of the museum. For me the relevancy of the collections, mostly made up from objects from the past and which require a huge slice of the museums resources to manage is a key challenge. Simply focusing on the future is not enough as I think museums need to improve the skill with which they link the past with the present and the future.

    Our collections have grown old as Museums as institutions have grown old and perhaps it is time to reappraise what a collection is, and what relevancy it has. Perhaps a comparison of C19th mission statements from 40 major museums may toss up some interesting points.

  • Marjorie Share

    Very interesting study that reaches into the heart of the role of museums. Thank you for this very important discussion. Given the changing economic conditions, the competition with other forms of “recreation,” education, rise of social media and more, the potential mission of museums collectively is an important exploration. While working with museums in the U.S. and overseas over the years, I still find “engagement” and “community” important elements, vital to the value, popularity and financial sustainability of both new as well as long-establish museum–of any size.

  • This is such a timely and important activity to be highlighted. As we head into the digital era of museums, where collections and the public are also interacting with museums virtually, it is interesting to note that museums haven’t changed the core of their mission statements to keep with the times. I am surprised that heritage doesn’t make it to the top 10, because collections and artifacts first and foremost constitute the heritage of a country and its people: we derive our sense of history and continuity because the past is so visibly on display. It’s certainly disappointing to see ‘access’ just barely making it to the mission list, meaning, museums are not thinking about how to make their exhibits more accessible, and secondly, accessibility for all groups (senior citizens, persons with disabilities, children) is still not a priority.

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