Museums and Coronavirus (1)

I have just handed in my book on museums, due to be delivered today. I had been resisting the encouragement of my editor to refer to Coronavirus on the grounds that the book is about the recent history of museums, not about their present, let alone the future. But in the middle of the night I thought that it might be odd not to make any reference to what the effects of Coronavirus might be, so added the following two sentences.

It will be interesting to find out what validity these thoughts have, if any, in a year’s time when the book is due to be published:-

Once the Coronavirus pandemic has ended, museums will need to review their role, the circumstances of their funding, and may retrench;  they may have to reduce the number of exhibitions which are so dependent on international travel;  they may migrate more of their activities online;  they may have discovered new ways of communicating to their audiences during the period of closure.   There is likely to be a reduction in what Adrian Ellis has described as ‘a decades-long, “physical infrastructure” binge’.[1]


[1] Adrian Ellis, ‘Not a Pretty Picture’, Wall Street Journal, 24 March 2020.

Standard

Digitalisation (2)

In response to my request for information about the impact of digitalisation on museums, I have been sent the link to an article in the New York Times no less about the twitter account of the Royal Academy. I am re-posting it as food for thought:-

Standard

Today’s Constitutional (1)

I’m just reviewing the photographs taken on today’s constitutional, which was slightly longer than usual, taking in the churchyard of St. Ceinwen, Llangeinwen with its slate tombs:-

Walking up the lane behind the church, there were Peacock butterflies frolicking:-

And we saw the mountains from a slightly different perspective:-

Standard

The Potato Smasher

I have been asked why on earth I wrote about our potato smasher and then deleted it shortly afterwards. The truth is that I was told I had done it before, which is extremely likely, because I love the object dearly and it gives me the utmost pleasure. But I’ve now searched my blog which is easy to do and can find no mention of the potato smasher or of potatoes at all. So here it is again in all its 1950s utilitarian glory :-

Standard

Digitalisation (1)

After three days of not being on the internet because the account on my dongle went kaput and didn’t seem at all straightforward to reconnect, we have been sent a brand new router by ee (Huawei, of course), ordered yesterday in Newcastle, arrived today and, lo and behold, we are already reconnected (thank you, Chris). What the episode has shown me, which I already half knew, is how terrifyingly dependent we all now are on the internet, perhaps especially at the moment: no shopping, no access to the London Library, no work on my book.

It’s been particularly ironic because the last section of the book I have been writing is the way that the internet has affected, if it has, the design of museums: the way that it has dethroned academic hierarchies and enabled visitors to find out information about objects and works of art on their phone without needing labels. I had assumed that there would be a big and obvious secondary literature on the way that the internet has changed attitudes to authority, but I haven’t yet found it.

Any help and suggestions would be much appreciated.

Standard