Musée des Arts et Metiers as a catalogue and encyclopaedia No.1. Photo: James.
Following on from the Icebergs of Art & Artefact post, I've recently been reading an interesting essay [here] on the role and challenges of the modern museum, by James M Bradburne:
On the one hand, museums that have pursued their traditional educational mission have found that the education they are now expected to provide is increasingly “remedial”—directed at filling gaps in the basic education of an increasingly broad spectrum of users. Increasingly, public funding for museums is tied to meeting specific targets aimed at addressing issues of social inclusion. At the same time, confronted by data that show how limited museums are in providing primary education, the public purse is questioning its return on investment—museums are just too expensive to operate for the relatively brief educational encounter enjoyed (or not) by most users. The cost per visitor of a four-hour visit per year (if the museum is lucky) is out of proportion to the results of a similar investment in the classroom or in the media.Many questions, much to think about in the context of the museum in society.