Redesigning a museum (by a non-expert who will never be a curator)

The Youtube channel Art Assignment hosted by Sarah Urist Green made a video titled Remake The Met. The host, a former museum curator who has a master’s degree in art history, encourages us the viewers to rethink how we curate museum collections. She said that instead of categorising them based on their geographical origins or time periods, why don’t we use other kinds of categorisations?

Personally, I prefer themes and emotions. I love it when we can see beyond the tangibility. I find it more fun and more rewarding.

Even though I didn’t bother to check, I already knew my idea was not original. There is no way I was the first person to conceive something that basic!

Note: After watching the video again, which I did after I almost finished this article, I noticed that Sarah suggested categorising items thematically. Basically, not only my idea is unoriginal, I unconsciously stole hers. Oops!

But, despise the things I said above, I can credit myself for one thing: I also propose that every section of the museum to be ‘unlabelled’; therefore, visitors have to fathom what every item object in a certain section has in common.

Sarah made the video because she wanted museum experiences to be divorced from the long-established rigidity. Unless you are an ultra-traditionalist, it is undeniably a good motivation. But, I also have another one: fostering human connections.

Yes, I know, Even I find my own writing nauseating.

Categorisation based on cultures of origins means we subconsciously encourage visitors to keep focusing on how different we are from each other. If it is based on intangible entities like themes and emotions, we are encouraged to see beyond the tangible and focus on what we profoundly have in common.

Obviously, direct contacts are way more effective in encouraging people to pop their sectarian bubbles; even then, they can also results in increasing sectarianism when the participant have no desire to open up in the first place.

So, it is naive to think that my proposal, which does not require any human contacts, will fight prejudice. I even don’t have any anecdotes to back me up, let alone studies done by actual researchers.

But still, I would be thrilled if my idea somehow gets implemented.

I believe encouraging others to reconsider their life perspectives is always worth it, even if many do not end up doing so and will never do…

… And I genuinely think my idea sounds a lot more fun and compelling than using the usual approach.

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