Unbridled economic growth has locked our identities to the things we possess. Our individuality is shaped by what we own rather than the relationships we have with other people or our landscape. Museums have encouraged this. If they are not seduced by the glamour of treasure, they are overly concerned with narrative so that the sole purpose of objects is to tell a linear human story, invariably one of ‘progress’.
The Happy Museum Project looks at how the museums can respond to the challenges presented by the need to create a low-carbon future where prosperity relies not on an individual’s ability to consume but on his or her capacity to co-operate and collaborate. Its proposition is that museums are well placed to play an active part, but that grasping the opportunity will require reimagining some key aspects of their role, both in terms of their relationship with their visitors and communities, but also in the way they relate to the objects in their collections