An ode to the (closed) museum
Updated: Mar 29, 2020
They keep coming in. My inbox is inundated with emails from museums (and art galleries) announcing their temporary closure, which is of course the only sensible thing to do. Join us on social media, they say, we will show you our collections.
Call me old hat, but I don't think that even the most innovative technology can deliver a remotely comparable experience. There is something uniquely magical, almost mystical, about stepping inside a museum. As it happens, I just realised I have replaced churches with museums. In the museum I feel safe, alive, grateful, switched on and open. Museums are at once temples of knowledge, beauty and science and places of learning, contemplation and sheer delight.
Whether suspended in time or projected towards the future, museums collect, preserve, display and tell stories (often relying on very obsolete and questionable narratives, but that's for another time) seeking to engage, educate and challenge. To think that their doors are now shut, their halls eerily empty and, as a possible longer term impact, the security of their staff's jobs may be at risk truly breaks my heart.
Calling out my fellow museum nerds - what is your reason for going to museums and which museums do you like and why?
Photo credit Steven Barrett as posted by https://www.instagram.com/museumseats/ (unsurprisingly, one of my favourite Instagram accounts). This is the National Gallery in London.