The Relevant Museum

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Keynote to the Norwegian museum community in Trondheim on behalf of the Arts Council Norway

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The Relevant Museum

  1. 1. Det relevante museum Nick Poole, CEO Collections Trust
  2. 2. Think back to the moment you discovered you wanted to work in museums.
  3. 3. When you think of the reason why you work in museums, how does it make you feel?
  4. 4. What kind of museum professional are you?
  5. 5. Objects Experiences Facts Stories
  6. 6. Objects Experiences Facts Narratives “Our first duties are to collect, conserve and display material culture, to protect the nation’s treasures and to showcase the high points of human creativity”
  7. 7. Objects Experiences Facts Stories “Our first duty is to create an open, welcoming environment in which people can come and enjoy the experience of beautiful, inspiring things”
  8. 8. Objects Experiences Facts Stories “It is not the objects themselves, but the connections between them and the stories they can tell. Our duty is to weave stories and objects together to help people understand the world around them”
  9. 9. Objects Experiences Facts Narratives “Our first duty is to provide an authoritative record of the development of the natural and man-made world. We must collect and preserve type specimens and objects based on our authoritative and scientific knowledge.”
  10. 10. Objects Experiences Facts Stories
  11. 11. Museums are relevant already. We just need to convince 7bn people to pay us a visit...
  12. 12. Let’s start with one
  13. 13. Let’s talk about the world that Tomasz is going to grow up in
  14. 14. It won’t be digital
  15. 15. Tomasz is going to be busy dealing with some BIG STUFF!
  16. 16. Tomasz has a right to believe that someone is out there sorting out the important and interesting stuff, learning about it, keeping it safe on his behalf
  17. 17. Everybody has a favourite object
  18. 18. What’s yours?
  19. 19. While we were busy in the storeroom, the world got a whole lot more complicated...
  20. 20. Who owns it?Who owns it? Why do we have it? Why do we have it? What is it connected to? What is it connected to? Who collected it? Who collected it? Where was it found? Where was it found? What is it?What is it? Where is it?Where is it? What is it made of? What is it made of? How big is it?How big is it? How much is it worth? How much is it worth?
  21. 21. Who owns it?Who owns it? Why do we have it? Why do we have it? What is it connected to? What is it connected to? Who collected it? Who collected it? Where was it found? Where was it found? What is its context? What is its context? What makes it unique? What makes it unique? What is it?What is it? Where is it?Where is it? What is it made of? What is it made of? How big is it?How big is it? How much is it worth? How much is it worth? Why should I care? Why should I care? What does it mean? What does it mean? What story does it tell? What story does it tell? How do I relate to it? How do I relate to it? What does it help me understand? What does it help me understand? Is it ethical/ political/ moral? Is it ethical/ political/ moral?
  22. 22. We create connections between the things in our collections to help Tomasz understand the world better
  23. 23. Tomasz has to be free to wander the paths we create, create his own, or tell us why a path is broken and should lead somewhere else...
  24. 24. Documentation isn’t about creating certainty, it’s about finding a way to manage uncertainty and change in the world around us
  25. 25. The big challenges… Get more visitors Do more stuff Make more money Be loved by our supporters Stay relevant Stay interesting …have big solutions Be true to our cultural values Make relationships Share the workload Be open to new knowledge Be confident & excited about our role
  26. 26. Tomasz (and 7bn of his friends) trust us to look after their culture because we do the job properly.
  27. 27. Decisions about what to do and how to do it become a lot simpler when you think about Tomasz... He’d want us to collect the important stuff He’d want us to look after it He’d want to be able to find and use it online He’d want us to welcome him and his friends He’d want to know he can trust us
  28. 28. That’s how documentation makes us relevant
  29. 29. Thankyou! (no copyright was harmed in the making of this presentation)
  30. 30. And here’s that Norwegian summer again...

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