In Robert Janes's recent book "Museums in a Troubled World"
he talks about museum exhibitions as the mainstay and one of the defining features of all museums. Along with this, "all museum workers are involved in this enterprise in one way or another and all museums struggle daily with producting exhibitions and marketing them
" (2009, 78).
With this as a context, Janes is surprised that museums continue to use methods, techniques and mental models that have remained unchanged for centuries. He thus describes exhibitions as "intractable habits that require rethinking and reinvention
". (ibid, 78) More critically, he suggests that this approach to exhibiitions is yet another internal obstacle to achieving relevance and meaning
for many musuems.
In an age where digitisation and online initiatives are often at the forefront of 'future museum' discussions (see ABC Future Tense Future of Museums Part 2
), how does the mainstay of museum practice, exhibition, develop? What values do exhibitions embue and how can we balance the need to explore online potential for outreach with onsite exhibition development?
As we all come to terms with falling budgets and fewer resources, the role of exhibitions becomes increasingly complex.
With this in mind, where to from here?