How can we properly honour individual and communal values?

Yesterday, John Jameson [1] and I hosted a roundtable discussion at the conference of the European Association of Archaeologists. We wanted to explore with participants what the challenges are of moving away from expert values and expert management, toward a recognition of individual and community values. Community engagement and community archaeology have been around for … Continue reading How can we properly honour individual and communal values?

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Have museums already become irrelevant?

In her latest blog post ‘Following up on Ferguson’, Gretchen Jennings mentions that several museum people told her that they had been specifically forbidden from answering visitor questions or commenting on social media about Ferguson [1]. Having worked in local authority museums in the UK and knowing from my work here as a consultant the … Continue reading Have museums already become irrelevant?

“This time it was Ferguson, Missouri.” Or: What is the purpose of museums

Melanie Adams, Managing Director of Community Education and Events at the Missouri History Museum, ended her excellent guest post on the equally excellent Museum Commons blog yesterday with what I felt was not just a question, but a much-needed challenge for museums. She wrote: “This time it was Ferguson, Missouri.  Next time it could be … Continue reading “This time it was Ferguson, Missouri.” Or: What is the purpose of museums

Heritage Managers: Addressing poverty, social justice, literacy, numeracy, citizenship…

In one of my jobs, emails from our security guards about incidents were a regular occurrence, usually involving large groups of youngsters trespassing and getting drunk. One day, I was feeling rather depressed about this and I told my friend, ‘I feel I need to be a social worker in this job, not a heritage … Continue reading Heritage Managers: Addressing poverty, social justice, literacy, numeracy, citizenship…

Community Engagement at Museums and Heritage Sites

Last week we had to cancel a training day on community engagement because of low uptake [1].  The training co-ordinator suggested that community engagement may still not be seen to be important to the work of museums.  He may be right, but I very much hope he isn’t.  After all, there is, and has been … Continue reading Community Engagement at Museums and Heritage Sites

Interpretation Needs More Self-Criticism

I know I keep writing about how we need more research and critical self-analysis in interpretation.  But when I recently read Dr Bernadette Lynch’s report ‘Whose Cake is it Anyway?’ (2009) and Skibins, Powell and Stern’s 2012 ‘Exploring empirical support for interpretation's best practices’ I didn’t feel validated.  I felt depressed. Lynch researched ‘the real … Continue reading Interpretation Needs More Self-Criticism

Involving stakeholders in interpretation, Or: policy aspiration and practice challenges

Next week sees the For Them and By Them: Involving Stakeholders and Communities in Interpretation conference take place, which I initiated.  I am no longer able to be at the conference myself, so I thought I’d share here what I was going to talk about there [1]. It is really quite astonishing to see just … Continue reading Involving stakeholders in interpretation, Or: policy aspiration and practice challenges

Interpretation is…Learning Humility

For the stakeholder engagement conference I’m organising at my current site in September, I invited a member of the community to give the closing presentation.  I was very keen to ensure it isn’t just the ‘professionals’ talking about involving stakeholders and communities in interpretation, and reporting how well – or not – this worked.  I … Continue reading Interpretation is…Learning Humility

Announcement: Registration open for “For Them and By Them: Involving Stakeholders and Communities in Interpretation” Conference

You may remember that I mentioned a few months ago that I am organising a conference at my site about involving stakeholders and communities in interpretation. I am pleased to announce that registration is now open.  Spaces are limited, so if you're interested please register as soon as possible. This is a one-day conference that … Continue reading Announcement: Registration open for “For Them and By Them: Involving Stakeholders and Communities in Interpretation” Conference