Monday, 28 November 2016

FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT: MONDAY MUSES TO INSPIRE YOU

SHE'S MY MUSE

BY: NATANIA SHERMAN

Museums have a lot of work to do. If you had asked me a few weeks ago why I've chosen to write about women in museums, I may have played it off as an attempt to use up my collection of Beyoncé gifs. (To be fair, I have so many. ) However, the political state of the world today makes me think that this topic is as necessary as ever. this is further evidenced by the number of times the #womeninmuseums tag is used on Twitter. If no one takes the time to recall the stories of women in our history, people will start to forget that those stories exist, and that women have always been a part of culture.

It has always been my intention that this article be as intersectional as possible despite having a title that implies a focus on female-identified individuals. I thought that today I wouldn't focus on one woman, but would instead leave you with a list of some of the people and institutions whose work towards justice has inspired my own museum practice. Without further ado:

That's right, Ferris Bueller, museums are for everyone! (Source)

1. The Incluseum: The Incluseum is a blog devoted to facilitating conversations around inclusion in museums. Their mission is to create discussions about new ways to be a museum using colaboration and community building. This is in direct opposition to a traditional museum model in which the institution is the authority. The blog was founded by Aletheia Wittman and Rose Paquet Kinsley, both museum professionals, who are very interested in issues of social justice. In keeping with it's policy of inclusion, The Incluseum has many contributing authors adding a rich variety of content as well as a multiplicity of voices. As an emerging museum professional, what I love best about The Incluseum are the Tools and Publications  and Resources pages. These pages are full of content on topics such as pop-up museums, museums and autism, museums and race, and activism.

2. Brown Girls Museum Blog: Brown Girls Museum Blog is a collaborative blog and consulting firm designed to highlight cultural workers who are visible minorities.
Amanda Figueroa and Ravon Ruffin founded the blog to redefine the stereotype about who the average museum worker is. As both millenials, and women of colour, Amanda and Ravon's blog represents a radical shift in the thinking around museum work and museum workers. They post about everything from understanding otherness in museums, to post grad survival, and their candid writing merges critical discourse and cultural critique with accounts of real world problems faced by young professionals working in museums today.

3: Museums that have reaffirmed themselves as safe spaces for everyone: I suppose that this one should go without saying, but in a political climate that is increasingly divisive, it is important to remember that public spaces and public institutions should still be accessible to everyone. That's why this article made me so happy to see so many institutions reaffirming that everyone is welcome to visit. Museums such as  the Tenement Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Japanese American National Museum and The Philbrook Museum of Art are all among the list of museums who are making sure they continue to offer services that are safe and inclusive. I know there are many others that I cannot list here, but I truly believe that even a small statement like this makes a huge difference to visitor experience in the museum.

These are just a few of the people, projects and institutions that I look to when I need some professional inspiration. So tell me, Dear Readers, who are your muses?

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