Do you work at a museum? Psst, I have a secret for you. Museums aren’t a monolith. Oh no… I am the museum, you are the museum. Individual humans are the museum as much as the architecture, the brand and the legacy. Did I blow your mind? No? Well, let me try.
Imagine a world in which museums don’t have any human employees. An autonomous, white cube storage container if you will. Visitors enter not in a queue, but a tightly controlled pat-down procedure complete with singing the country anthem, iris identification and reciting recent late night jokes—security will also accept meme explanations as it improves their AI. After a delousing, visitors are given a complimentary hat (keeps hair in line) and whisked to their preferential department for browsing the object stacks. There are no exhibits here as it’s much more efficient to combine the glory of the cathedral to culture with the Manhattan grid of the storage room, you know, the one from Raiders of the Lost Ark. There’s no need to saunter around as if you own the place — like through your tax dollars or charitable contributions—because a self-driving vehicle will take you on a pre-determined path based on your InstaFace profile. Your eyeballs are money, considering you will get 4 commercials between every stop (and you’ve signed up for 25 subscription boxes just by walking in. Thank you for approving this purchase. You can manually unsubscribe, one per month obviously. ) After 30 minutes, the visit will come to an end and please be sure to rate via the HappyorNot on the way out the door. The vehicle will stop there, for sure.
Imagine a world in which you could see museum staff, but not interact with them. Like ants in an anthill. You see them busily running around, doing but not quite accomplishing anything.
Imagine a world in which there was no museum building or museum people, only objects. A mail-order museum that require a qualifying course in conservation and object preservation. A sweet package that arrives in a shipping container, opening like a Russian doll to the solitary object inside.
Imagine a world in which there was only the idea of a museum, just a brand and a storied legacy. Why the museum exists in your mind of course! You conjure it, you craft it, you direct it as much as your mind allows. Are you having a hard time picturing it? Well, your museum visit might be improved by a masters in education. And probably made 1000 times better if you do a few internships at design firms—graphic, architecture, even software design. I know it’s looking like alot of work, but trust me… you will be so much better at enjoying the museum once you know more about what it most often is. Ok, what is the museum about? Shoot, I think you need to throw in a PHD in museum studies, linguistics, or comparative literature. Ah, who am I kidding? Just get all 3 PHDs. That should give you the most bare-bones organization of a museum in your mind.
Imagine a world in which humans work at a museum, it has an address, a vibe, stuff on display and team that you know and recognize. You walk through the threshold, you hear a friendly voice, you recognize some old things and have your attention drawn to the new. You come back time and time again. You love coming back to the museum, like a slipper with a worn down heel. You love the building. You love the stuff. But most of all, you love the people that make it come alive. Museum workers cough, smile, eat, look bored, do whatever they do while being human and local and specific to that place, remind you that this museum is not just about you or me, but it’s about us. They are the museum …and honestly, so are you lovely visitor. Come back again, we miss you already.