MUSE Director's Message

Therese Quinn and MUSE Alumni Nancy Harmon
MUSE

At their best and very most wonderful, museums and exhibitions open up, challenge, spark and ignite. They leave their visitors agitated and unsettled, as well as awed and inspired. Museums are better and more generous than libraries! As delightful as shared meals at large round tables!

But museums and exhibits can also be chilly and un-fun. Someone—hopefully not you!—left a museum and felt like s/he didn’t get it, felt bored, felt left out, felt followed and then felt angry. Someone—hopefully you!—may have also talked back, raised a ruckus, made some change.

In the Museum and Exhibition Studies Program (MUSE) we are interested in how museums and exhibits invite and exclude, delight and frustrate, reinforce and transform, and wonder how to reimagine museums, where they fail, and what framing ideas should guide us as we remake them.

We ask: What is a radical museum? How can our cultural work foster a flourishing democracy and human liberation? Can museums name the margins and shift the centers?

We insist: Museums are a language and a practice; they reflect us, and also create new possibilities for who we can be. They may be restrictive, but they are also sly and subversive.

In MUSE, we aim to name, debate, and figure out how to do it, together.

Join us.

Therese Quinn
Director, Museum and Exhibition Studies