I read this article this afternoon and I was really impressed with a couple of things…
- The cultural bureaucracy in Italy is shocking. As the article points out, special exhibitions have to be approved by a national cultural bureau. In turn, this discourages bringing any new or exciting exhibitions to institutions. Essentially, this has left cultural institutions stuck in a rut for the past several decades that makes museums dull and uninspiring to its visitors.
- To work around these restrictions, a new museum director created programming to fill the creative gaps that his art museum faced. For instance, labels were printed in both Italian and english in a large enough font that visitors can read from three meters away. In addition, he created kits for parents and children to use while going through the museum to experience art at the same time. This seemed really innovative as art museums are not often a place that children can interact easily with.
- Perhaps the most striking part of the article was that the museum director took the museums security guards (all 120!) out to lunch to hear their ideas. As Bradburne states “no one meets a curator when they visit a museum; they meet the guards. So the guards know what works. They’re anthropologists, and they love the museum.” This seemed like a fantastic idea because many times security guards are the only staff members that visitors see and interact with. I loved that the director took the time to understand the job and experiences of security guards.