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Updates if aphirisms

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This is a shorthand set of notes of lectures in the summer of 2019 for NEH in Georgetown University

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Updates if aphirisms

  1. 1. z NEH UPDATE 2019 ELAINE HEUMANN GURIAN
  2. 2. z A good place to begin  “In adversity it is understood, by antagonists and protagonists alike, that the evidence of history has something central to do with the spirit, will, pride, identity, and civility of people, and that destroying such material may have lead to forgetting, broken spirits, and docility. This same understanding is what motivates cultural and ethic communities to create their own museums to tell their stories, in their own way, to themselves and others. “
  3. 3. z MY PRINCIPLES OF INCLUSION • • • • •  Our patrimony belongs to everyone  Museums hold objects in trust no matter what the law says about ownership.  Our institutions should be welcoming both physically and philosophically to all.  The non-visiting public is not waiting for an invitation. We must find out what they wish and provide it.  The way the staff treats each other is apparent to the visitor and personal policy 40 years in the philosophy profession must reflect the museum inclusion.  Our patrimony belongs to everyone.  Museums hold objects in trust no matter what the law says about ownership.  Our institutions should be welcoming both physically and philosophically to all. Creating real social justice, fairness, and inclusion is a difficult, nuanced, complicated, task.  The non-visiting public is not waiting for an invitation. We must find out what they wish and provide it.  The way the staff treat each other is apparent to the visitor and should be equitable, humane and civil at all times  Capacity building is often neglected and punitive in its outcome rather than just an education necessity. “Executive Function” as a concept is much overlooked.
  4. 4. z DO EVERYTHING  There is no “magic bullet” to create safety, welcome and inclusion.  You have to do everything you can think of all at the same time.
  5. 5. z Elaine’s definition of museums  I believe -- Museums have only two core competencies (and even these they share with others).  Museums are: •  Public Civic Spaces that encourage strangers to congregate peaceably. •  And they use, ◦Dimensional evidence to create understanding/knowledge:
  6. 6. z Institutional siblings, cousins and friends AND THAT MAKES MANY MORE INSTITUTIONS QUALIFY UNDER THE BIG UMBRELLA TERMS 1. (Historic houses, zoos, botanic gardens, galleries, etc.) 2. Siblings to Libraries and Archives, 3. Friends of shopping malls, airports, and athletic stadium 4. WHICH I FIND ALTOGETHER FITTING.
  7. 7. z MUSEUM’S IMPORTANCE  Museums are much less important for the reasons that they use to justify their existence (collect, preserve, protect, display and educate) and more important because they are part of the civic panoply that builds cohesion.  Where strangers safely congregate constitute the bedrock of peaceability.
  8. 8. z INTENTIONALITY  Museums can be characterized by their intention  OBJECT CENTERED  NARRATIVE  CLIENT-CENTERED  COMMUNITY  NATIONAL (GOVERNMENT) See article “Choosing”
  9. 9. z Working strategy  using all the intertwined tools at your disposal, borrowing tools from elsewhere and inventing new ones and then applying them.  Looking past collections, research, program and exhibitions only to see where philosophy might affect infrastructure, operations, amenities, stakeholders, community, education and learning, politics, finances, board power structures, physical plant, and contemporary events, etc.,
  10. 10. z The following are just a few of the many things that matter:  free is better than charging ,  a mixture of spaces from large to small help ,  the location as neutral as possible ,  available by public transport ,  labels that work for all reading levels ,  a mixture of exhibition devices that appeal to all learning styles,  orientation to the building and to the subject,  an attitude of welcome by absolutely everyone ,  The tone of the staff culture,  and the vision of the leader.
  11. 11. z The role of the curator The classic museum structure that:  accords the curator special status  and assumes that:  the functions of collections, curation, and research are superior to the work of the rest of the staff  or the needs of the public  never results in thorough-going inclusion no matter how well- intentioned that staff might be.
  12. 12. z Relationship between institutions  “Institutions of Memory,” “Congregant behavior” and ‘Combined institutions of citizenship” in the underpinnings of peaceful co- existence.  Civility, normative behavior, the safety of public space in peace.  This is where the real underrated importance of museums are —
  13. 13. z Network theory, complexity theory  Museums as raw data  Open ended, and unfinished exhibitions
  14. 14. z  THE WELCOME OF DISRESPECT. Modeling Decency, Sir!  I understand that if we parse the word “welcome” which I often use, we must welcome those we disrespect as well. How we find partial understanding and some humanity in our antagonist is often a moral dilemma. However, the stories we tell and the materials we show are and should be, theirs as well as ours.  THIS FAR AND NO FURTHER: We need to understand how far is too far and what ideology has no place in any museum at all. And the finding of the furthest limits, I would content, can only be done by consulting one’s individual “moral core.”
  15. 15. z THE IMPORTANCE OF “AND”. “I, believe that headline-writing journalism, texting conventions and social media platforms, especially Twitter, have allowed us, the public, to practice and then accept simple messages and “the slogan” as truth. And if you think “simple” precludes investigation and that sound bites have, insidiously, helped in the rise of intentionally false news and our increasing acceptance of a flexible relationship to facts, then, it follows that teaching nuance, complication and “both/and” in argumentation is vital for building communal civility. “ It is the act of walking back from extreme posturing and simple, quick outcomes that allows for a pathway to messy compromise. I am arguing against teaching “winners and losers” as the only acceptable outcome to all issues. so one of the strategies for doing everything is to change linguistic conventions, both oral and written so that people expect nuance and complexity and the human outcome of compromise. We do not yet know how to do this in exhibition conventions, but if simplified presentations helped get us into this political fix, then the display of complexity may help to get us out. “
  16. 16. z Shared authority  SHARED AUTHORITY:  A NEW BLURRED LINE BETWEEN EXPERTS AND AMATEURS SHARED SERVICES BETWEEN MULTIPLE ORGANIZATIONS MAKES FOR A NEW DEFINITION OF COMMUNITY INTENTIONAL CIVILITY AND THE COMMON GOOD: THE ROLE OF MUSEUMS IN CREATING A NEW GENEROUS PEACEABLE LANDSCAPE. the new emerging issues
  17. 17. z In a close call  WHO MAKES THE DECISION?
  18. 18. z HOW TO FIND ME  egurian@egurian.com: email   www.egurian.com: website   You can find my material on FLICKR, SLIDESHARE, LINKEDIN if you enter “egurian”   On my webpage www.egurian.com you will find writings by pressing the tab: “Omnium Gatherum.”  www.pinterest.com/museumeducator

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