Curator’s blog invites readers and the editorial board to weigh in on topics in Curator’s print articles. Each thread is a respectful conversation responding to ideas and arguments relating to museums. What do you think? Explore the comments and join the discussion.

Welcome to the Discussion

As the new Editor of Curator, I’m thrilled to launch the new website alongside Issue 59.3, which is now available online. Here in the Discussion section of the website, you’ll find conversations among our Editorial Board and other readers about articles we’ve recently published in Curator. We consider museum scholarship to be a community enterprise, and I hope our journal can serve as a platform for dialogue among our authors, members of our editorial board, and anyone interested in exploring new topics with us. On behalf of the Curator team, welcome. – John Fraser

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Redefining Access: Embracing multimodality, memorability and shared experience in Museums

The authors, Alison F. Eardley, Clara Mineiro, Joselia Neves and Peter Ride, discuss the principles of “access for all” in museums, both physical and intellectual access. They explore this question of multisensory processing in neurologically typical individuals, and case studies of two Portuguese museums that experimented with implementation of an “access for all” approach to the presentation of their permanent collections. The study was designed with three phases: addressing architectural barriers to access, preparation of accessible information about space and objects, and testing of alternative formats to convey this information to learn how to meet diverse needs in different ways. Set in the context of research on multisensory learning, this article discusses why an access for all principle is a majority issue as well as a moral and legal concept. It discusses two case studies where an “access for all” museological approach has been applied to access to the collections, with differing success. The discussion focuses on how an “access for all” approach could enhance learning, long-term memorability and the ‘cultural value’ of a museum experience …

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Museums: Fostering a Culture of ‘Flourishing’

Douglas Worts: This forum presents a personal view from a museum professional of the museum field’s stake in the sustainability movement. The author takes the opportunity of a discussion within a national museum association about the possible implementation of environmental sustainability standards and argues instead for systematically engaging the entire museum field in re-thinking and restructuring the foundations of culture in our society. The author concludes that sustainability will require rebuilding the foundation blocks of our social and economic structures, both locally and globally, and that museums have the potential to play important roles in facilitating these processes. However, as is the case with all change, new skills will have to be acquired, values will have to be reassessed and priorities will have to be reset. These are the challenges of the 21st century.

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