Imágenes de páginas

7. Discover collectors and specialists and experts in the community and secure their coöperation in adding to the museum's collections ; in helping identify, describe and prepare labels and leaflets ; in arousing the interest of young people in the museum's work and in finding such boys and girls as may wish to make collections of objects of any kind for themselves or for the museum.

This development of the collecting habit among the young, with its accompanying education of powers of observation, its training in handwork, its tendency to arouse interests theretofore unsuspected even by those who possess them, its continuous suggestions toward good taste and refinement which lie in the process of installing even the most modest of collections, and its leadings toward sound civic interest through doing for one's community a helpful thing, — this work of securing the coöperation of boys and girls, making them useful while they are gaining their own pleasure and carrying on their own education, is one of the coming museum's most promising fields.

8. Lend to individuals, groups and societies, for any proper use and for any reasonable length of time, any of the museum's objects, whenever it is clear that things thus lent will be of more service to the community than when they are resting, relatively unseen and unused, in the museum's headquarters.

9. Prepare and display, at the headquarters, at branches and in schools, carefully selected objects which are products of the community's activities in field, factory and workshop. These will be local industry exhibits. They may be so small as to show in a very easily transported case a few of the major steps in the manufacture of a simple object. They may include merely a group of completed objects, interesting for their beauty or complexity, or for the high technical skill of the craftsman who made them. Or they may be so extensive as to fill every available inch of space the museum controls and to illustrate many aspects of one field of industry; and so general as to give a bird's-eye view of all the industries of the whole community. These may be planned to attract and interest the business man, or to draw to them the women, or to arouse in young people a healthful curiosity in the activities of their community and the results of the daily labor of men and women, – their fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, in the field, the store and the factory.

10. Keep the museum and its activities continually before the community in the daily press, and publish and distribute as many leaflets, posters, broadsides and cards descriptive of the museum's acquisitions as conditions seem to warrant. At the proper time publish leaflets and booklets, based on the museum's material, proper to be used as reading lessons in the schools.

11. Connect the work the museum may do, its objects and all the activities of its staff, with all the resources of the public library. In doing this, many books and journals will be displayed near objects on view, references to books and journals will be made on labels and in leaflets of all kinds, and the library will be asked to show placards and notes and to distribute things the museum may publish descriptive of its purposes and activities.

The activities thus very briefly described form a small part'. only of the work that, as we conceive it, the coming museum will do. Though they are suggestions only, they seem to demonstrate their reasonableness merely by the statement of them. They are ample, in our opinion, to show to the open-minded that the new museums are to be museums properly so-called, — homes and work-shops of the Muses. They are not to be storage warehouses, or community attics, or temples of dead gods, or copies of palaces of an extinct nobility, or costly reproductions of ancient temples, or grand and elaborate structures which are of service only as evidences of conspicuous waste by the rich and as ocular demonstrations of the unwise expenditure of public funds.

THE NEW MUSEUM AN INSTITUTE OF VISUAL INSTRUCTION The coming museum, being entitled to the ancient name by virtue of its activities, will ultimately be called The Museum; though it will be for a time quite properly conceived of by many as an Institute of Visual Instruction. Museums of the old kind we contend, are truly not museums at all. They are " collections” of variable extent and cost and of slight definite utility. They will become each year a little less considered, less esteemed and less used; or they will, as is the case with some of them already, transform themselves slowly into living organisms, with an abundance of teachers, with ample workshops, classrooms and spaces for handling the outgoing and incoming of objects which they lend. In the new museums, as in the old ones which are informed with the new spirit, the experts will use their expertness partly on objects, as now; but they will sweeten much of it generously with the simple syrup of sympathy and use it for the pleasure and profit of the common man.

We have purposely presented emphatically the difference between the museum of to-day and the museum we are trying to develop, and shall try in this series to foreshadow, in the hope that, in so far as our emphasis is disturbing, in so far will the differences we mention be more clearly seen.

MANY OLD MUSEUMS ARE NEW IN PART These differences, it should again be said, are not of our creation. We found the new movement active in many institutions old and young. Indeed, there are few museums to-day, few at least of the very small number which Mr. Rea tells us are alive, in which the management does not claim that it is doing the new work and developing into the new kind.

That is, to say over once more what we have already said, of the activities above prophesied for the new museum, there are few, if any, which are not being somewhere carried on or being promised for the future.

We have simply conceived of a museum as a living thing, definitely living as is the school; and upon this conception we have grafted such activities of present day museums as one may properly call alive, and have added such others as the thought of a museum as an active "institute of visual instruction "inevitably brings to mind.

Of the things named above, or suggested elsewhere in this volume, we are doing very, very few. Our limitations, psychological and social, are many; our financial limitations are very definite and narrow. We have placed here, in this the first number of our Museum Series, this statement of what we believe a museum should try to be, only because we felt that unless we made our position in this fundamental quite clear, the experiences we shall set forth and the suggestions we shall make would not be accepted as we intend them and the spirit in which we present them would not clearly be understood.

THIS IS NOT A MUSEUM MANUAL Once more; what we are putting down for publication is by no means entirely the product of either our own experience or our own invention. We have studied museum literature; we have visited museums; we have gathered where we could, and we shall try to give due credit always.

Again it should be said that we plan to put into these publications such of a learner's acquisitions as we hope may be useful to other learners. We are not compiling complete museum manuals. We had hoped that workers in old, rich and experienced museums, far better equipped for the purpose than we are, would undertake what we are doing; but they do not. We dare hope that, by setting forth plainly the lessons we have learned and the principles we have been forced to accept, we can help the beginner. We can hope to do little more.

OUR EXPERIENCE IN MUSEUM WORK As to some of the elements of museum management in general and of our fitness to speak of them, perhaps this should be said; for 15 years, seven of them before our museum was organized, we did in the library many of the things that are done in modern museums. We had several unused rooms. In these, in ten years, there were held about 5,382 meetings, large and small, of 662 different civic and educational organizations, with a total attendance of 167,335. Perhaps no library in the world, and certainly no museum, ever enjoyed so ample an experience as was ours in the management of a center for the voluntary expression by the community of its civic and self-educational impulses. We cared for all these meetings. We helped to make the library a welcome place for them. And from them we learned much in the line of public service.

In the same years we prepared or supervised and directed the installation and the public visitation of 74 exhibitions. These ranged from paintings of the best type to book-plates, guns and school handiwork. They were visited by 300,000 persons. The installation of every one of them was carefully studied and as carefully carried out as funds permitted; and on the printing of posters, announcements, and catalogs, no time was spared to make it as good as our judgment could dictate and as our local printer could produce.

The management of these many meetings and exhibitions was in the hands of the library staff, and that same library staff, — not the same throughout in personnel, but the same in intent and skill, - has managed all the museum's affairs since its foundation. Our experience, then, and our learnings, in those elements of museum work which we plan to include in this series, have not come solely from the management for a few years of a very small museum.

Hence, in part, the boldness which permits us to put into print some of the things we have found helpful.

« AnteriorContinuar »