The final programme for the University Museums and Collections (UMAC) meeting in Vienna, 20-22 August has just been released (see here), together with the abstracts. There seems to be quite a few interesting papers among them; for example, I would love to hear what Graciela de la Torre from The National Autonomus University of Mexico (and Board Member of UMAC) has to say about “The ‘Post Museum’ Paradox”:
It is rather worrying that well into the 21st century, museums are still considered reservoirs of knowledge whose main function is to exhibit and study the valuable products generated by man or to demonstrate natural phenomena. It is worrying that they be seen as data banks that make knowledge more democratic; that they are projected as places where, with their enormous knowledge and generosity, they take the spectator by the hand and enable him in the pleasure of the discourses they unfold; that they are judged according to the approval of the speciality they reflect, be that artistic, technical, scientific or any other among many typological possibilities imposed by their collections. It is not so strange then that tired and practically universally accepted definitions are repeated over again to describe the duties of the museum and that epistemologically it is still the place where a world is made orderly, where, with the help of material objects, the world is “realized”, understood and mediated. However, we are in the post historic era and this is, or should also be, the era of the post museum. Today the “museum” exceeds the physical limits of the architectural understanding and the functional limits of its capacity as an educational instrument in order to assume the role of a knot of crosses for the multiple processes that are possible for the construction of knowledge. In the post museum, the human being replaces the collection and takes over as the main element in the museum occurrence, in the construction of the significant experience towards knowledge and in the holistic interaction with exhibitive didacticism. We are certain that exhausted museum models are crying for renovation and that one of the most viable fields in which to generate a new paradigm could very well be the university museum.