What is a Museum

Knowing how collections have diminished within museums, some people including Stenphen Williams hold strong opinions that a museum without a collection is not a museum, similar to the beliefs that “a historical society without a collection is only an affinity group; a historic site without a collection is only a local attraction.” I personally do not quite agree with this statement in a sense that the value of a museum should not be defined by the volume of collections but the messages that it effectively delivers to the visitors. As museums are often considered a place for learning, they should be treated like universities and modern libraries where the volume of books is no longer an accurate measurement of their success. Instead, the capability of fostering an immersive learning experience as an educator is something more challenging and rewarding than simply collecting objects.

Another reason behind my stance on this debate is the human desire for collections, which takes away the pure incentive of collecting for learning. By the words of Sir Kenneth Clark, collecting objects is understood as a biological function, often for the reasons such as desire for physical security, social distinction, with to achieve immortality, and national glory, in addition to the pursuit of knowledge and connoisseurship, which showcases valuing the collections more than the museum itself is indeed a controversial and potentially outdated thought. What are the implications behind this debate, and how can we interpret the tendency towards the absence of collections in contemporary museums?

Museums in the World Around Covid-19 & Bouncing Back: the US museums that have regained the visitors lost to Covid closures

In the article “Museums in the World Around Covid-19”, it suggests the norm that many museums are transitioning toward the digital world where activities on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been developed onto a professional level. I see this trend also as a catalyst for the growth of interactive digitalization in modern museums. From my personal experience with the local museums in Fort Worth, Texas, they have indeed been working hard toward combating the impacts of the pandemic by promoting innovative and covid-friendly activities. Some approaches I have seen include organizing more outdoor activities, and I eventually came to the understanding of why online platforms have become a popular option.

In the article “Bouncing Back: the US museums that have regained the visitors lost to Covid closures”, it suggests that larger museums suffered the most from the loss of oversea visitors even until today while the medium size museums have recovered to the pre-pandemic level. I’ve observed a very similar phenomenon as the number of Chinese tourists overseas have declined significantly in the past three years. Although now the immediate danger of pandemic is over, the new customer behaviors as well as the remaining foreign policies on covid restriction are still threatening the attendance of global museums. What can museums do to make up for this portion of visitors’ loss?