Meditations on the Museum (1)

A couple of months ago, I had a long, meditative Sunday morning conversation on Zoom with Johnny de Falbe, author and director of John Sandoe’s bookshop, in which he quizzes me gently, but probing about the nature, character and responsibilities of a wide range of museums, particularly private museums, including Louisiana, the de Menil in Houston and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao. Towards the end, the conversation broadened out to the vexed question of the sources of private donors’ wealth, the ethics of accepting donations, and the equally vexed question of government influence on trustee appointments, following the resignation of Charles Dunstone as chairman of the National Maritime Museum. I take the long view. It has always happened to an extent, if not quite so obviously and determinedly as under Oliver Dowden. The conversation, which is long and ruminative, has now appeared as a podcast. See below.


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