While studying abroad as an undergraduate in 2007, I had the pleasure of visiting the Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore. The rich interpretation and impressive collections on display (not to mention the air conditioning) kept this newcomer to Southeast Asia in the building for the greater part of a day and left me well-primed well for the months to follow in Malaysia. After years of training and working in public history, museums, and other allied fields as a graduate student, I have been longing to return to that institution with the new perspectives engendered by those experiences. I would need to fly over 9,300 miles to visit the permanent gallery, but several of the museum’s past special exhibitions are available online. Visitors can currently explore the following on virtual 3D tours augmented with artifact images label text: “Land of the Morning: The Philippines and its People,” “Treasury of the World: Jeweled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals,” and “Congo River: Arts of Central Africa.” The link to a fourth exhibition, titled “Terracotta Warriors” is currently broken. These exhibitions provide a rich, albeit imperfect sampling of the world class museum’s offerings. Continue reading “Review of the Asian Civilizations Museum’s Online Exhibitions”
Last week, I attended the Association of Midwest Museums conference in Indianapolis. The official conference theme was civic engagement and public discourse. At the sessions I viewed a broader communication theme emerged: no museum is an island. You must dialogue with your public, your fellow institutions, funders, and the government (at the local, regional, state, and national levels). These dialogues will build the relationships needed to survive in the 21st century.
I will begin with the key points from the sessions I attended and then share the cool details from the various behind-the-scenes museum tours I enjoyed. Continue reading “Dialogue not Monologue”