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Tuesday, October 26 • 2:15pm - 3:00pm
Museums in 3021: Irrelevance? Or a Culture Built on Stewardship

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It is 3021, museums disappeared a long time ago after waves of death and rebirth. The empty buildings are toured to show the reminiscent of dusty marble walls and empty offices: it is a reminder of what shall never be repeated again, a reminder of the death of museums.

You can imagine it, can’t you? 

In Barry Lord’s book Art & Energy he puts forth that culture can be tied to the dominant form of energy in a society. He sees a struggle between the culture of consumption, from the era of oil and natural gas, and the culture of stewardship, rising out of things like renewable energy. The culture of consumption prizes consumable experiences (including museum visits) in which ideologies are fashion and humans are a commodity. The culture of stewardship, however, fosters values of local engagement, preservation, sustainability, and transparency.

This session will take these ideas to their logical extreme - in the case of the culture of consumption we will look at a future where there is nothing left for the public in museums or for museum professionals after continued trauma that museums perpetuate on staff and marginalized populations; where technology and the digital are used for control, surveillance, and oppression, where museums are consigned to irrelevance and the dustbin of history. Humanity moved on. Boards and directors are gone. 

For the culture of stewardship, the session will use the lens of solarpunk science fiction: we will look at museums in 3021 and what a culture of stewardship in museums could look like. Cultural heritage institutions are often viewed as being rooted in the past, rather than at the cultural vanguard. With the coming of a culture of stewardship we as museum professionals have a rare opportunity to intervene not just in our cultural organizations, but to the public in general to foster values of equity, preservation and sustainability.

The session will end with looking at the direct future - realizing that between these two extremes there is a path forward - but pursuing it would require surmounting complex and even painful challenges. However, tackling those challenges would reform the digital and the field at large.

avatar for Jeremy Munro

Jeremy Munro

Database Administrator, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Jeremy Munro is the Database Administrator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. He is responsible for managing the museum's TMS database and advising on the museum's digital initiatives. Professionally, he's interested in how people communicate on the internet, internet... Read More →
avatar for Andrea Montiel de Shuman

Andrea Montiel de Shuman

Digital Experience Designer, Independent
Independent Digital Experience Designer & Cultural Advocate

Tuesday October 26, 2021 2:15pm - 3:00pm EDT
Channel 2
  Why Museums?