The Future of Art Museums

The afternoon session was devoted to the  future of art museums and their role in public and art education, as the way in which most people have their first and most systematic experience of art.   I had said that I would talk about the ideas underlying our recent building developments;  but I realised that much of what we have done is to rectify the omissions of a nineteenth-century building project – its previous nearly total lack of circulation space or proper public facilities, including no lecture theatre.   In China, they have built 600 new museums in the last couple of decades.   One of the issues is how to maintain authentic private experience when there is sometimes overcrowding.   Another is whether digital access, including the ubiquitous photography with mobile phones, enhances or detracts from visitor experience.   Since I like taking photographs myself, I am hardly one to deplore it, but this may not apply to Selfies in front of the Mona Lisa.

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