How Museums Help Diverse Nations Reimagine Themselves

By Embracing the Ambiguity of Old Myths, the Best Exhibits Broaden a People’s Sense of Belonging

Museums are often dismissed as irrelevant diversions, as places apart, as tombs for pasts that don’t have much to do with the present.

But I study the world’s heritage museums—the national, state, or city museums that tell stories from the past—and I am convinced that the best of these institutions forge national identity and impact our civic actions far more profoundly than we recognize. National identity is a myth we create together in order to cooperate as large societies, and heritage museums tell the stories that perpetuate—and also modify—those national …

A Mexican Cultural Center That Builds Bridges, Not Walls, With the U.S.

Tijuana’s CECUT Draws Southern Californians by Programming with Cross-Border Appeal

Each culture absorbs elements of cultures near and far, but afterward it is characterized by the way in which it incorporates those elements.
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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. …

Just Leave That Botticelli Near the Bike Rack

"Inside | Out" Makes Art Inescapable by Placing Major Works on the Street. Literally.

The phone rang in the office of Salvador Salort-Pons, then Curator of European Paintings at the Detroit Institute of Arts. “I found a Van Gogh painting outside the public library, …

Can Museums Serve Distinct Groups While Also Building a Cohesive Community?

Social Bridging Is Challenging for Arts Organizations and Patrons, But It's Good for Both

Like many organizations, my museum, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, struggles with two conflicting goals.

The museum should be for everyone in our community.

But it’s impossible to …