Assignment 2: Reading Comments

What is a museum

In “What is a museum,” it is interesting how museums not only display history, but they are also intricately tied to history. Historical events and social movements, for instance, can affect the ways in which museums function and revolutionize certain aspects of museums. For instance, the industrial revolution, while bringing about scientific developments, also caused issues like “high intensity lighting, central heating, and air pollution” that could potentially deteriorate the artifacts. As a response to these newly emerged problems, ways of preserving artifacts in the museum changed correspondingly, with better and more automated “control of lighting and humidity” as well as “ingenious repair.” I’ve also seen similar articles in the past regarding impacts of the civil rights movement on museums. The civil rights movement prompted museums to try to be more welcoming, especially to marginalized societal groups. Museums reevaluated their ways of presenting stories to the visitors in order to better promote diversity and inclusion.

While museums have adapted to social and historical changes, it is also interesting how museums have always been preserved with great vigor regardless of how turbulent the society is and what ideals are in each era. As mentioned in “what is a museum,” museums were initially only intended for a very limited group of people with authority and served the pure purpose of storing and collecting objects. Many traditional things, like handwritten letters, are almost already discarded in the contemporary society, yet museums have always been present and are even more well-attended than in the past.

Post-COVID, How Can Museums Remain Essential & How the Pandemic Changed Museums Forever

After reading “Post-COVID, How Can Museums Remain Essential,” I was really interested by the idea of how museums could facilitate economic recovery. In my original review, museums are usually institutions that need funds to operate instead of serving as venues for generating money. After COVID, I saw that many department stores and restaurants that have been open for years before are forced to shut down due to lack of funds. Thus, it is surprising to me how museums, something I’ve always viewed as non-profit, could actually help the local economy reboost. Besides providing job openings, museums could also help support local businesses, as mentioned in the article. Visits to the communities where the museums are located could also help support local stores, restaurants, and transport. Also, I think the pandemic has in some way increased people’s desire to visit museums. During isolation at home, people have spent sufficient amount of time browsing social media and reading news on digital devices. Lack of real life contact with objects make people who do not usually go to museums want to have this experience as well.

In “How the Pandemic Changed Museums Forever,” the author also puts forth a point regarding how museums help mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic. The pandemic keeps people separated from one another, enlarging their physical distance and cutting off their communications with each other. Yet museums and exhibitions online help bond people together and help them cross the physical barriers among them. While usually people only go to exhibitions in their local communities or when they are traveling, online exhibitions can be accessed by people from any place in the world at any time, reducing limitations on both time and location. Even when “the US-Mexico border was closed to all,” exhibitors’ messages could still be conveyed across those barriers.