Significance of Mutual Development and Transformation

This week’s reading discussed shared authority between museums and community/participants. Janes points out the self-inflicted challenges Museum faced and emphasizes the significance of resilience. Frisch calls to enact a genuine dialogue between experience and expertise, between people working together to reach new understanding, employing new modes of digitalization to overcome the previous gap. Other essays adopt case studies of one certain community to demonstrate that community voices or their oral history of the past can challenge the official history presented by museums and enrich it at the mean time.

What drew my interest is the idea of “Three Agendas” and Janes’ understanding of the third one—about mental and emotional constructs in individuals within the organization. I agree with Janes about the importance of individual development, learning and transformation and how it is difficult to achieve and more negligible compared with the first two agendas. It is not uncommon to learn about visitors’ complaints regarding staff rudeness and even bias/discrimination, such as at the coat check or at the ticket office, though they gave positive feedback about exhibitions or programs in the museum. Matt also mentioned in class his unpleasant teenage memories/experiences about a rude ticket staff. In the visitor-centered age of museum, this disconnection between an individual’s actual behavior and the values, perspectives of an organization or vise versa can be very problematic.

This disconnection in the museum sphere draws a parallel (not a perfect one) with this week’s heated discussion over an Asian doctor being dragged off United Airlines flight, which arose outrage both in the US and in China. Though quite different in terms of violence and racism, the disconnection between the supposed values of the airlines and the actual perspective and practice of its staff and that of airport security can be disastrous. Harm of this disconnection also applies to other spheres, such as police brutality against African Americans, etc. Therefore, it is important for individuals and organization/institutions to come together for mutual growth and transformation in a genuine way.

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