I have written in previous posts about an emerging trend for museums to put on self-questioning displays which examine what museums and collections mean in society. I was excited by the prospect of the V&A’s All of This Belongs to You, which ‘examines the role of public institutions in contemporary life and what it means to be responsible for a national collection.’ The exhibition does this through a series of installations and interventions throughout the museum. While this was an interesting way to see more of the museum, I can’t help wishing that it was presented as more of a traditional exhibition, which might have made it more visible and accessible. The concept of the show is to engage visitors with the collection and museum as belonging to the nation, at a time when museums are under threat. I wish some museum would make this point more bluntly and loudly for all to hear.
I’ve been thinking since I started this blog about trends in museum exhibitions. As I thought about what I wanted to write about when it comes to museums, certain topics keep coming up. I wrote about this in my post on animal-focused exhibitions, and since then I have been spotting more trends, and other articles picking up on this.
On Thursday, in between attending the Museums and Heritage Show and some training sessions at the Natural History Museum, I took the chance to see the current temporary exhibition, Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea. It was a beautiful, tranquil place to stop and spend some quiet moments before moving on to my next session of the day.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was very excited about the concept behind the Strange Creatures exhibition at UCL’s Grant Museum: depictions of animals which the artist has never seen in the flesh. While it’s not a subject I’ve given a great deal of thought to before, I have always enjoyed those medieval animal pictures where you get the feeling the artist was really just doing his best with the little he had.
Following my visit to Cotton to Gold, I promised myself to make more of an effort to explore regional museums.