Museums and Climate Change

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Less than four years ago, way before the COVID-19 pandemic spread out across the globe, Margret Boysen, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, published her adult fairytale story “Alice, the Zeta Cat and Climate Change”.

Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Boysen’s fairytale has an almost identical beginning, complete with mysterious white rabbit drawing Alice down the rabbit hole. She also glides past shelves and books but the rabbit hole proves to be the ventilation shaft of a climate research institute’s supercomputer. The journey continues through a universe of climate models, gleaned through a virtual world of…


Can it be in this day and age?

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Photo by Joseph Greve on Unsplash

I write this piece as news of a second lockdown have been resonating around the world with some countries or regions already back to where things were in February, or quite. This time around, it seems that a sinister deja-vu feeling has made things easier to absorb and adjust and museums are once again adjusting to a new normal that will probably be intermittently the case for months to come. In the meantime, the Network of European Museums Organisations has just launched its second survey taking stock of circumstances that museums are facing.


Six international museum voices from around the world

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Our biennial conference, MUŻE.X — Shaping Museum Futures, had to happen this coming November but circumstances dictated otherwise. But, as the saying goes, there is always a silver lining. We have now shifted the physical conference to October 2021 and, in the run-up to the physical event, we shall be holding six webinars featuring six international voices each sharing thoughts and ideas about museum futures. The webinars shall be happening live between October and December 2020. Registration is free of charge.

The line-up of speakers includes Nina Simon (CEO of the international movement OF/BY FOR ALL), Diane Drubay (founder of…


Post-COVID19 museum funding [Part I]

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Photo by Kevin Dellandrea on Unsplash

Museums are non-profit institutions at the service of society. We know it because the museum definition still in force, the one that has been questioned and currently still under discussion (or so it seems), says so. Should we stop here then?

Yes! Museums are non-profit organisations and yet their coffee shops help them rake in funds to operate and sustain their programming. Their gift shops — in the bigger museums it’s more than one located at strategic points of the building — sell exclusive products displayed for purchase. Blockbuster exhibitions generate much needed revenue to support acquisitions and outreach, all…


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A Museum Compass for Times of Distress

Thoughts and reflections presented at the international online conference ‘Museums and COVID-19 — Challenges, Re-evaluation and Future Perspectives’ organised within the project Be Museumer.

We have heard about it for days, weeks and months on end. It has been the yardstick of success and reason for concerns that keep resurfacing. It’s the R Factor!

Unless you haven’t heard about it inspite of all that has been said and done, the R factor is a mathematical equation used to determine the relevance and resilience of the COVID-19 virus at a given point in time. A high R factor means greater impact…


Material Culture for Museums and the Negative Space

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Photography — Reuters

If I had to choose one image that captures the essence of the Black Lives Matter protests, this would be the one. The photo is by Reuters photographer Julia Rindleman and features two young ballerinas (fourtheen year olds Kennedy George and Ava Holloway) in black ballet dress infront of the monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee marked with graffiti and spray shortly before its removal. In my mind, this picture represents the inherent paradox between the liberties and achievements of a given society on one hand and the struggle that continues unabated on the other. …


Museum Rethinks and the Bob-the-Builder Mindset

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Of course we can! That is the mindset I have been sharing with museum colleagues on social media and beyond.

There are certainly things to fix in the museum institution, now more than ever before. The tools are there too, readily available and in hand. Equipped with the necessary knowledge to understand what these challenges are, and aware of the right tools to choose in order to effectively address these challenges shall certainly be making the difference. The fundamental priority would undoubtedly be a positive mindset but there is also the needed to let go of old ways and habits…


and Convergence Culture

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With this blog I choose to go straight to the point. What will matter now, more than ever before, is not the digital. What I think will matter much more is the careful choice of engagement tools that each museum will go for to best communicate its ethos, ideals and experiences. I choose to do so in the face of an ever increasing misconception that by simply digitising content museums shall be handed with reassurances that relevance is a guarantee.

The digital has, indeed, become the hammer each toolbox should unquestionably have — certainly a necessary and fundamental tool. But…


and three cheers to #beinspired

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Earlier this week, in between research for my Network of European Museums Organisations Webinar — Museum Lives in Post-Pandemia — I had the pleasure to Skype with a good friend I got to know on the We Are Museums platform where I find myself at home in frequent conversations. As expected, the conversation was about museum futures but at one point, I could not help getting inspired by a good quote from none other than Winston Churchill which my friend shared over Skype.

Never let a good crisis go to waste.

Thinking of all that museums are going through at…


Reflections on immediate museum futures

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Prayer (detail)

As museums all over the world comtemplate leaving doors ajar for their publics to visit once again, this quote by Maira Kalman comes to resonate even more

“A visit to a museum is a search for beauty, truth and meaning in our lives. Go to museums as often as you can”

The urge to visit, in response to a constant search for beauty, truth and meaning in our lives as advocated by Kalman, has been greatly handicapped by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the prospect of an indefinite closure now slowly fading, the need for museums to re-open continues to be…

Sandro Debono

Museum thinker | Curious mind | Pragmatic dreamer — not necessarily in that order.

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