Museum Week:Conversations Beyond the Velvet Rope

Posted: 2015-03-26 10:54:57 AM by work in culture editor | with 0 comments

Picture your favourite museum experience. Do you have one in mind? Perhaps a field trip to the Ontario Science Centre as a child? A spectacular exhibit at the ROM? Maybe an unforgettable trip overseas to the Louvre? Chances are most of you have such a memory. Museums can enlighten, inspire and provide unique learning experiences for people of all ages. I remember the first time I entered the hallowed doors of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Surrounded by their unparalleled collection of milestones of flight – I knew I had found my happy place. Enter Museum Week. From March 23rd to 29th over two thousand institutions worldwide are participating in Museum Week on Twitter. The first event of its kind, Museum Week has planned seven hashtags over seven days which highlight various themes in museology and visitor engagement. Museum Week allows participating institutions to show off their collections, architecture and engage with their publics. But it also gives the opportunity for visitors to share their experiences and memories as well.

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Seven fun hashtags to engage with!

I would bet that your museum memory includes something like walking through an exhibit, peering into a glass case or enjoying a piece of art from behind a velvet rope. A visit to a museum usually entails a highly curated experience which is laid out to tell you, the visitor, a specific story.

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It's behind a velvet rope! A vellllvet rope...

This is what makes Museum Week so valuable. It is a two way transmission of ideas which museums are not generally known for.  There has been a push to redefine the role of the museum and what a visitor experience could look like. Could we step behind the velvet rope? Even, *gasp*, touch the collection? (Okay, you can't touch everything, but you know what I mean.) There is a larger conversation here. Museums are not only cultural institutions; they have cultural meaning in and of themselves. They house the collective heritage of humanity and Museum Week offers the opportunity to share why that is significant to you.

Follow @MuseumWeek on twitter to keep the dialogue going.

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Lindsay Marlies Small is a Master of Museum Studies candidate at the University of Toronto. She is currently researching cultural heritage management of artifacts in outer space.