Museum Studies at Tufts University

Exploring ideas and engaging in conversation

Category: forum not temple (page 2 of 13)

How Museums Respond

by editor Phillippa Pitts

Museums talk a lot about being members of their communities, meeting niche needs and providing unique third spaces. Today, some of the museums in Boston stepped up beautifully. Below is just a rough screen capture snapshot of how our community responded to the Marathon Monday bombings.

Starting with the Boston Children’s Museum fantastic and speedy response to their visitors’ needs:










Thoughts and comments on these responses are welcome below. Also if you have other screenshots from museums in Boston or around the country email us (tuftsmuseumblog AT and we’ll share them!


Worth Reading: Why Fast, Cheap, and Easy Design Is Killing Your Nonprofit’s Brand

by editor Phillippa Pitts

We’re all familiar with the well-intentioned but poorly executed museum YouTube video, Twitter stream, or online publication. Some of us are even guilty of creating them. We work hard, even with limited resources and training, to keep pace and keep creating high quality products.

However, there might be a problem even for those out there who are multitalented mavens or saavy consumers: off-the-shelf solutions compromise branding. Heath Shackleford, a marketing consultant, argues:

Technology is indeed empowering those with mini budgets to create mightily. On the flip side, it’s also producing a surplus of uninspired websites, flatlining brands, and cookie cutter approaches to communications. While moving fast and free, nonprofits are trading originality, vision, and identity for templates, plug-ins, and off the shelf solutions.

While I don’t agree with the full article, it’s a great talking point for teams. Is your Pinterest page on mission? Do you know how (or if) your website supports your gallery talks? Can your visitor recognize and navigate these connections? With all your new offshoots and projects, is your institution still telling a coherent story?

Read the full article here.

Recommended Reading: An Expose on IAE, International Art English

A user’s guide to artspeak

Why do so many galleries use such pompous, overblown prose to describe their exhibits? Well, there’s now a name for it: International Art English. And you have to speak it to get on. Andy Beckett enters the world of waffle.

Read more on The Guardian’s website

What can museums do for sick kids? [Repost]

Got a good idea? Add your comment to the MuseumNext conversation post below…


Last week my two-year-old son was admitted to hospital, and for the past week he has been confined to a ward. Brody is crazy about dinosaurs and animals, and much of the time has been spent watching The Land Before Time and playing with his toy diplodocus.

So what does this have to do with museums? My son also loves museums, especially those with dinosaurs and animals in their collections. His favourite, the Great North Museum is only a street away from the hospital, but he can’t visit and a loan box would be too much of a health risk to allow on to the ward.

I think museums could have a role to play in making staying in hospital a more pleasant or at least a less boring experience, and confined by hygiene and mobility, digital media seems the ideal tool to do this (again I this relates to the value of a museum investing in their digital platforms not just the physical venue).

I have been reminded this week of a conversation with Tijana Tasich from TATE at MuseumNext Barcelona about how a live video feed from a gallery could enable those who aren’t able to travel, to experience an exhibition.

This could take the form of a tour like the Phygital tour which MAS in Belgium used to allow remote web users to control guides with webcams? Perhaps this would work for older audiences, but I’d imagine that children my son’s age would quickly get bored of this.

What would be fantastic would be the ability to bring a collection of augmented reality dinosaurs and animals from the museum and position them around the ward for him to see, allowing us to bring the museum into the hospital.

Perhaps such an app exists or your museum has ‘an app for that’ (if you do, please tell me, so I can share it with Brody), but I’d encourage every museum to think about how they could make their collections accessible to sick kids and brighten what can be very long and tedious days.

What do you think?


Reply on MuseumNext

Talking Point: “This is not an Artwork”

Check out this article by Slate on art that has been “written off,” “devoid of value,” “destroyed,” yet still here and now, on exhibit again.

Read the full article.

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