The Museum Proposition

last edited on Sun. December 14 2014

On October 23, 2014, we hosted a panel discussion as part of our 40th anniversary program series How to Make a Smart Museum.

The event brought together René de GuzmanCarroll JoynesLisa Junkin LopezFaheem Majeed, and Elizabeth Merritt—a group of cultural stewards, producers, and activists. They were asked to address the question:

What is the one thing that must sit at the heart of an engaged art museum?

As part of their propositions some of the speakers chose to contribute objects to a How to Make a Smart Museum installation found in GalleryX. In the installation you can see the “Panda Keys” from the Hull-House dining hall, Faheem Majeed’s contribution; the “SmartGlove” that Elizabeth Merritt wore during her visit to our galleries; and you can listen to Lisa Junkin Lopez’s audio piece, a fictional Hull-House Museum voicemail recording that shows the multifaceted nature of the work of their museum. The panelists expanded on their ideas and objects in a booklet, The Museum Proposition (PDF).

The nature of a museum’s success is perhaps a slippery thing that you’ll likely need to define for yourself. We invite you to raise questions, challenge the dialogue, and respond with your own proposition here or in GalleryX. Let’s address critically that which we believe is the most essential work for the future success of museums.

The How to Make a Smart Museum programming series was made possible by the Efroymson Family Fund.

Additional support was provided by the Illinois Humanities Council and the Franke Institute for the Humanities.