Monday, December 15, 2008

Looking for a Few Good Words

gyroscope inc, maria mortati, museums Recently, Chuck Howarth and I were talking about the need for a good "museum quote" for a report. So I diligently began searching the web, he our bookshelves for a good quote about why museums are great. I also went to the AAM site and other quote search engines. Would you believe there is even a Quote Museum? I found some, err, interesting ones. Here's a few:
“Most convicted felons are just people who were not taken to museums or Broadway musicals as children.” –Libby Gelman-Waxne
"One time I went to a museum where all the work in the museum had been done by children. They had all the paintings up on refrigerators." –Stephen Wright "The museum spreads its surfaces everywhere, and becomes an untitled collection of generalizations that mobilize the eye." –Robert Smithson
...that's not the sort of thing that will inspire a potential donor or warm the cockles of one's museum-loving heart. So I'm putting a call out to the museum world to ask: what are some good quotes that you think do a good job of summing up the value of museums?


kevin said...

"If you want to show the complexity of reality, use things not words."
– Neil Macgregor, Director of the British Museum (2005)

Ian said...

Give people facts and you feed their minds for an hour. Awaken curiosity and they feed their own minds for a lifetime.
Ian Russell

Maria Mortati said...

Thanks, Kevin, that's delightfully succinct. Ian, I like your "teach a man to fish" adaptation. There are some good quotes in John Cotton Dana's book "A Plan for a New Museum", but I was looking for something more contemporary.

I was thinking in this day and age where people seem to be "quote hungry" that it would be easy to find. It's interesting that it's stumped so many that I have spoken with, heard from, etc. Guess it's hard to come up with metaspeak for a meta-institution in our society.

Ray_Osborne said...
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Ray_Osborne said...
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Ray_Osborne said...

Here are a couple I found.

"Men find, in the past courage and confidence for the future."

"Civilizations pass away, but the glory of men who toiled to build them remain forever."

Maria Mortati said...

Hey thanks, Ray- those are bold!

In my original search, I was looking for something that pointed to museums as being points of inspiration rather than a focus on being authorities on the past. Not that we don't need them to do that, we do. Just not solely.

I'd like to see a subtle reframing of that point of view so it has a more inviting voice. Less, "let me tell you what I know" and more "look at this, isn't it interesting? How do you think it applies to you?"

I like Ian's approach of just making the quote up himself. Saves a lot of time.