long, museums, vaguely ennui-adj?, not really negative 

Been thinking about this quite from aaron straup cope (for context: museum worker, mostly on digital projects, at Cooper Hewitt and SFO Museum among others) quite a bit recently.

"I think the question of whether or not to outsource curatorial practice is a good opening to discuss the broader practice of outsourcing in general in the cultural heritage sector. It certainly easier for more people to relate to than the question of whether or not we should outsource digital and technology roles. This is a larger debate that we, as a community of practice, should have because I think that one risk of relentless outsourcing is that museums (and friends) will become nothing more than centers of production rather than scholarship.

If we say that our only purpose is to facilitate the assembly of content in the service of culture then it's no longer clear to me what distinguishes the cultural heritage sector from any other for-profit entertainment company. If we are unable to articulate, even to ourselves, what distinguishes our work from that produced by the private sector then maybe it really is time to admit there's nothing special about what we do. And importantly there are other people who do it — where it is pure and selfish entertainment — better than we do."

I don't work in museums, though I do like to archive things as a hobby. But more than that: if you're doing something not because you enjoy it (but because it's work, or because you think it has to be done), sometimes it's worth thinking about what you're actually doing, and whether or not it's already being done better.

(And maybe it's not! That's not unexpected! But maybe there's something else more useful to do. But of course have fun too: ain't nobody having fun for you better than you can.)

re: long, museums, vaguely ennui-adj?, not really negative 

@aschmitz here is one thing that museums are (supposed to) do that for-profit entertainment doesn't:

preserve and depict history in the most accurate, factually correct narrative possible and known, so that further scholarship can be done. independent of and completely untethered from the marketability of that story

re: long, museums, vaguely ennui-adj?, not really negative 

@KitRedgrave Eh. I'm familiar with museums, yes. 🙂 I think you'll find that extremely few museums do that, compared to the number that exist. His speech was effectively a "we've stopped doing that, and people are focusing more and more on marketable Content, and maybe if that's all we're doing, we should let entertainment companies do that because they're pretty good at it".


re: long, museums, vaguely ennui-adj?, not really negative 

@aschmitz part of me hopes that's a come to jesus moment for them, since i really hate this trend. but it probably won't.

they're giving up their own charter to exist for more money to do ... what with, exactly?

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