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Are Museums Irrelevant? Museums are rarely acknowledged in the global discussion of climate change, environmental degradation, the inevitability of depleted fossil fuels, and the myriad local issues concerning the well-being of particular communities - suggesting the irrelevance of museums as social institutions. At the same time, there is a growing preoccupation among museums with the marketplace, and museums, unwittingly or not, are embracing the values of relentless consumption that underlie the planetary difficulties of today. Museums in a Troubled World argues that much more can be expected of museums as publicly supported and knowledge-based institutions. The weight of tradition and a lack of imagination are significant factors in museum inertia and these obstacles are also addressed. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, combining anthropology ethnography, museum studies and management theory, this book goes beyond conventional museum thinking. Robert R. Janes explores the meaning and role of museums as key intellectual and civic resources in a time of profound social and environmental change.This volume is a constructive examination of what is wrong with contemporary museums, written from an insider's perspective that is grounded in both hope and pragmatism. The book's conclusions are optimistic and constructive, and highlight the unique contributions that museums can make as social institutions, embedded in their communities, and owned by no one.
Taylor & Francis Ltd
May 12, 2009
About the author
nd around museums for the past 35 years as a director, consultant, author, editor, archaeologist, board member, teacher and volunteer. I have spent my career championing museums as important social institutions - capable of making a difference in their communities and in the lives of individuals.
I am currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship (www.informaworld.com/rmmc), an author, a museum/heritage consultant and a volunteer. I am also the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley (www.biosphereinstitute.org) - an NGO committed to the ecological integrity of the mountain region where I live. I am the past President and Chief Executive Officer of the Glenbow Museum, Art Gallery, Library and Archives (www.glenbow.org) Calgary, Alberta, a position I held from 1989-2000. Prior to my Glenbow appointment, I was the founding Director of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (1976-1986) and founding Executive Director of the Science Institute of the Northwest Territories (1986-1989), both in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories - one of Canada’s most remote regions. I earned a Ph.D. in Archaeology from the University of Calgary, where I am currently an adjunct professor.
I was awarded an Honorary Life Membership (1986) and the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Museum Management (1992) from the Canadian Museums Association. I also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Calgary in 1989 and the Distinguished Achievement Award from Lawrence University (USA) in 1991. I was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Museums Association in 2002 and received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003 for significant contributions to the museum community in Canada. In 2011, I was given the Lieutenant Governor’s Award by the Alberta Museums Association for exceptional contributions to the provincial, national and international museum communities.