Museum Futures

Museum Futures FINAL 06-2013 v2 FINAL

What is the connection between one woman’s 58-year collection, a nomadic assemblage of queer ephemera, a high-tech teen hangout, and the treasured remains of a fishing town?

Beginning in a lake Michigan lagoon and sustained through a trans-continental Skype conversation, Museum Futures is an interview project developed by three people with a shared investment in the dynamic ways a museum can perform. Although we often think of a museum as a static collection of objects to be kept a safe distance from, behind this seemingly impenetrable identity is a network of individual actors that have a stake in their museum’s role as a public actor. Whether it be through the vehicle of a button jar, an ipod touch or a fish trap, a museum has the potential to perform as a dynamic public commons and a place to confront the Other. In the spirit of such possibility, Museum Futures provides a glimpse into the work of educators, anthropologists, consultants, and curators who are re-thinking the performance of the museum’s past, present, and future.

Museum Futures started as a conversation between three people in different parts of the world. Presented on the previous page are some our first communicae. We identified a common interest in what museums could and should be, and decided to investigate ourselves. Over the course of a year and a half we collected interviews, essays and ephemera from museums in our own communities and those we have become a part of. Museum Futures has since become a transdisciplinary collaboration between Living Archives in San Diego, California, Elsewhere in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Institute for Empirical Cultural Science in Tübingen, Germany. Museum Futures is a project by Kate Clark (interviews/illustrations/editing), Christopher Kennedy (interviews/design/layout) and Pablo von Frankenberg (interviews/research/scholarship). Thanks to Elsewhere, University of California San Diego Visual Arts Department, the University of California San Diego Center for the Humanities and Living Archives Research group, Hermione Spriggs, and David Serlin.