As museums shuttered during the 2020 novel-coronavirus pandemic, New York-based author and cultural strategist András Szántó conducted a series of virtual conversations with international museum leaders. At this pivotal moment, the directors spoke candidly about the challenges and untapped potential of art museums.
The Future of the Museums: 28 Dialogues reflects a rapidly growing, changing, and varied museum landscape in which dynamic experimentation is happening worldwide, with institutions in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Australia often leading the way in developing new models. It is a sector experiencing a moment of reckoning about inequality and social justice, pressed to achieve more diversity in staffing, governance, programming, interpretation, and collections. Meanwhile, the pandemic has exposed the underlying weakness of many museums’ temporary-exhibition-driven business models, as well as the limits of public and private support. The dialogues reveal the diverse ways in which the search is on for new sources of income, new ways to engage the public, new ways to run institutions.
What emerges from the series of in-depth conversations is a composite portrait of a generation of museum leaders working to make institutions more open, democratic, inclusive, experimental and experiential, technologically savvy, culturally polyphonic, attuned to the needs of their visitors and communities, and concerned with addressing the defining issues of the societies around them. The dialogues offer glimpses of how museums around the globe are undergoing an accelerated phase of reappraisal and reinvention.
Each of the twenty-eight conversations in the book explores a particular topic of relevance to art institutions today and tomorrow.
You can find more information about the participants and the book here, and catch the author in the following conversations, talking about the future of Museums:
ICOM talk here.
Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN) talk here.
ACMI talk here.
Culture Summit Abu Dhabi talk here.