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Museums
Civic Robert Stein
Deputy Director
Dallas Museum of Art
@rjstein
AND responsibility
Museums have a civic
responsibility
Museums Are:
•A Public Resource
•Educational Venues
•Tax Exempt
•Recipients of Charitable Giving
•Recipients of Federal Support
•Collectors of Cultural Heritage
Clearly
museums are
trusted
According to a study by Indiana
University, museums are
considered a more reliable source
of historical information than
books, teachers, or even personal
accounts by grandparents.
But are they
vital?
The 2010 U.S. census reports that only 14.5% of US
Adults visited museums in the prior 12 months
(Census, 2012).
8%Dallas = 6.5M People - 500k Annual Attendance
Civic
Engagement
HOW ABOUT
INSTEAD?
1.Transforming Access
2.Embracing a Culture of Participation
3.Seeking Out Public Dialog
Transforming
Access
UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity
Article 6
While ensuring the free flow of ideas by word and image care should
be exercised so that all cultures can express themselves and make
themselves known. Freedom of expression, media pluralism,
multilingualism, equal access to art and to scientific and
technological knowledge, including in digital form, and the
possibility for all cultures to have access to the means of expression
and dissemination are the guarantees of cultural diversity.
UNESCO, 2001
equal Access to ART
Participation in cultural activities, together with access to
them, forms the backbone of human rights pertaining to
culture. Access is a precondition for participation and
participation is indispensable to ensure the exercising of
human rights.
Annamari Laaksonen, of the International Federation of Arts Councils and
Culture Agencies, 2011.
Bridging
the Culture Gap
If social inclusion means anything, it means
actively seeking out and removing barriers, of
acknowledging that people who have been left
out for generations need additional support in a
whole variety of ways to enable them to exercise
their rights to participate in many of the facilities
that the better off and better educated take for
granted.
O’Neill, Mark. 2002. The good enough visitor. In Museums, Society, Inequality,
Richard Sandell, ed., 24–40. London and New York: Routledge.
FREE ADMISSION AND
FREE MEMBERSHIP
welcoming new citizens
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?
When you can slip into a gallery for just 15 minutes to see a favorite
painting, or when parents can take their children without having to
budget for it, the museum takes on a societal function. It's no longer
just a fortress or an amusement: it's a civic platform, where education
and citizenship go hand in hand.
For Dallas, a museum membership should be like a library card:
everyone should have one, and it should foster an engagement with
the museum that goes beyond the occasional visit to a kind of civic
pride.
I hope it works. Because in a perpetually privatizing world, the kind of
civic culture that the Dallas Museum of Art is trying to foster has
become rarer than any antiquity.
Jason Farago, The Guardian, London, 11/30/2012
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?
A participatory culture is a culture with
relatively low barriers to artistic expression
and civic engagement, strong support for
creating and sharing one’s creations, and
some type of informal mentorship whereby
what is known by the most experienced is
passed along to novices. A participatory
culture is also one in which members
believe their contributions matter, and feel
some degree of social connection with one
another.
Participatory culture is emerging as the
culture absorbs and responds to the
explosion of new media technologies that
make it possible for average consumers to
archive, annotate, appropriate, and
recirculate media content in powerful new
ways. Jenkins, Henry. 2006. “Confronting the Challenges of
Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.”
Embracing A Culture of
Participation
An information explosion
An information explosion
While discrete
sources of online
information grow
without limit
The ability to
discriminate quality
sources is increasingly
more difficult
A Pressing need
for Digital Media
LiteracyArt Museums are the Perfect
Place to Learn about Media in all
its Forms
Seeking out
public dialog
Authoritative Authoritarian
authority
A role for museums
in civic dialogThere is a growing movement to reinvigorate civic dialogue as vital dimension of a
healthy democracy, based on the premise that a democracy is animated by an informed
public engaged in the issues affecting their daily lives. Civic dialogue plays an essential
role in this process, giving voice to multiple perspectives and enabling people to
develop more multifaceted, humane, and realistic views of complex issues and of each
other. Yet opportunities for civic dialogue in this country have diminished in recent
years, due mainly to polarization of opinion along ideological, racial, gender, and class
lines; social structures that separate rich from poor and majorities from minorities; a
sense of individual disempowerment; and the overwhelming nature of many of society’s
problems. Perhaps most fundamentally, the fact that modern problems usually affect
different people in different ways often places them outside of the traditional civic
organizations, labor unions, and political parties that organized civic discourse in the
past.
Barbara Schaffer Bacon, Pam Korza, and Patricia E. Williams, “Giving Voice: A Role for Museums in Civic Dialogue” (paper prepared for a Museums & Community Toolkit, American
Association of Museums, 2002).
civic function
museums
the
of
has many facets
thank you! Robert Stein
Deputy Director
Dallas Museum of Art
@rjstein

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Museums and Civic Responsibility

  • 1. Museums Civic Robert Stein Deputy Director Dallas Museum of Art @rjstein AND responsibility
  • 2. Museums have a civic responsibility Museums Are: •A Public Resource •Educational Venues •Tax Exempt •Recipients of Charitable Giving •Recipients of Federal Support •Collectors of Cultural Heritage
  • 3. Clearly museums are trusted According to a study by Indiana University, museums are considered a more reliable source of historical information than books, teachers, or even personal accounts by grandparents.
  • 4. But are they vital? The 2010 U.S. census reports that only 14.5% of US Adults visited museums in the prior 12 months (Census, 2012). 8%Dallas = 6.5M People - 500k Annual Attendance
  • 5. Civic Engagement HOW ABOUT INSTEAD? 1.Transforming Access 2.Embracing a Culture of Participation 3.Seeking Out Public Dialog
  • 6. Transforming Access UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity Article 6 While ensuring the free flow of ideas by word and image care should be exercised so that all cultures can express themselves and make themselves known. Freedom of expression, media pluralism, multilingualism, equal access to art and to scientific and technological knowledge, including in digital form, and the possibility for all cultures to have access to the means of expression and dissemination are the guarantees of cultural diversity. UNESCO, 2001
  • 7. equal Access to ART Participation in cultural activities, together with access to them, forms the backbone of human rights pertaining to culture. Access is a precondition for participation and participation is indispensable to ensure the exercising of human rights. Annamari Laaksonen, of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, 2011.
  • 8. Bridging the Culture Gap If social inclusion means anything, it means actively seeking out and removing barriers, of acknowledging that people who have been left out for generations need additional support in a whole variety of ways to enable them to exercise their rights to participate in many of the facilities that the better off and better educated take for granted. O’Neill, Mark. 2002. The good enough visitor. In Museums, Society, Inequality, Richard Sandell, ed., 24–40. London and New York: Routledge.
  • 11. WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?
  • 12. When you can slip into a gallery for just 15 minutes to see a favorite painting, or when parents can take their children without having to budget for it, the museum takes on a societal function. It's no longer just a fortress or an amusement: it's a civic platform, where education and citizenship go hand in hand. For Dallas, a museum membership should be like a library card: everyone should have one, and it should foster an engagement with the museum that goes beyond the occasional visit to a kind of civic pride. I hope it works. Because in a perpetually privatizing world, the kind of civic culture that the Dallas Museum of Art is trying to foster has become rarer than any antiquity. Jason Farago, The Guardian, London, 11/30/2012 WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?
  • 13. A participatory culture is a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices. A participatory culture is also one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection with one another. Participatory culture is emerging as the culture absorbs and responds to the explosion of new media technologies that make it possible for average consumers to archive, annotate, appropriate, and recirculate media content in powerful new ways. Jenkins, Henry. 2006. “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.” Embracing A Culture of Participation
  • 15. An information explosion While discrete sources of online information grow without limit The ability to discriminate quality sources is increasingly more difficult
  • 16. A Pressing need for Digital Media LiteracyArt Museums are the Perfect Place to Learn about Media in all its Forms
  • 19. A role for museums in civic dialogThere is a growing movement to reinvigorate civic dialogue as vital dimension of a healthy democracy, based on the premise that a democracy is animated by an informed public engaged in the issues affecting their daily lives. Civic dialogue plays an essential role in this process, giving voice to multiple perspectives and enabling people to develop more multifaceted, humane, and realistic views of complex issues and of each other. Yet opportunities for civic dialogue in this country have diminished in recent years, due mainly to polarization of opinion along ideological, racial, gender, and class lines; social structures that separate rich from poor and majorities from minorities; a sense of individual disempowerment; and the overwhelming nature of many of society’s problems. Perhaps most fundamentally, the fact that modern problems usually affect different people in different ways often places them outside of the traditional civic organizations, labor unions, and political parties that organized civic discourse in the past. Barbara Schaffer Bacon, Pam Korza, and Patricia E. Williams, “Giving Voice: A Role for Museums in Civic Dialogue” (paper prepared for a Museums & Community Toolkit, American Association of Museums, 2002).
  • 21. thank you! Robert Stein Deputy Director Dallas Museum of Art @rjstein