Museums SHOULD be about enlightenment, inspiration, or quiet reflection.
Museums should NOT be about fun and entertainment.
Frankly, I’m a bit sick of these blanket pronouncements, from both sides of the aisle. While CNN’s opinion piece “Why I Hate Museums” laments how boring museums are, the New York Times bit “High Culture Goes Hands-On” rails against not just people having fun in museums but even people having a shred of “engagement” in museums. You can see more examples of black and white arguments about what museums should and shouldn’t be (and what “good” and “bad” visitors are) in the comments on the CNN article and in letters to the NYTimes editor. Continue reading