I admit that I’m still figuring out precisely what this positive museology looks like (let’s shorten it to PM for fun), so showing examples of it, seems a little bass ackwards. But I guess I’m willing to be a little inductive here. I realized, as I was writing yet another scholarly piece about PM, that at this moment, museums were wholesale DOING PM, right before my eyes! I’ll keep building the case, synthesizing the evidence, and crafting the framework, but I had to take this breath from my research to make the point. There seems to be no better evidence of PM at work than during the response to our current crisis. Almost immediately, museums pulled themselves up to a place of care, offering ways to help people cope with their isolation and lack of socialization. Some offered ways to calm, others offered playfulness and humor and even more helped people stay engaged and creative. Amazing. We can take a look at what museums are doing on the ground using Barbara Frederickson’s 10 positive emotions from her Broaden and Build Theory: Joy, Gratitude, Serenity, Interest, Hope, Pride, Amusement, Inspiration, Awe, and Love. These are some of the ingredients that lead to flourishing.
Here are some examples, check them out:
For those who have rejected my ideas on PM, calling them “too academic” or “not for practice,” perhaps you were shortsighted, because museums are doing exactly what I thought them to be capable of, to rise to the top, to be places that enable flourishing. THAT is practice and theory at work. I’m proud of you, museum-land. I knew you could do it!
If you have more you can share with me, please leave comments below! Let’s gather all the good things museums are doing in response to the shut-down and pandemic.
5.1.20. I continue to see so many examples of positive museology popping up. Shortly after I posted this blog, I learned of the amazing week-long event, Spring into Well-being hosted by the Association of Midwest Museums (AMM). A full week of free activities like meditation, virtual hike, and good news focus are on the menu. This is a shout out to AMM! Thank you!
Pondering curiosity, wonder, meaning, and the foundations of museology.