Want to Find New Audiences? Keep Trying New Things

A Risk-Taking Arts Administrator Came to Texas, and Soon the Galleries Were Louder, Full of Med Students—and Open All Night

Experiment—constantly and fearlessly, every single day.

That’s the best advice I can offer from my own career working in museums to connect the arts to different people, communities, disciplines, and places. The art of arts engagement flows from this recognition: Because the arts connect to so many things, artists and arts organizations need to always be trying new things.

I’ve tried everything from giving museum tours in the middle of the night to using artworks to help medical students develop their powers of observation. Experimentation naturally produces failures. But experiments are also …

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American Culture’s Unlikely Debt to a British Scientist

A Fortuitous Influx of Cash Launched the Smithsonian’s Earliest Art Collection

In 1835, through an unlikely turn of events, the young United States became the beneficiary of the estate of one James Smithson, a British scientist of considerable means who had …