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Weekly Roundup: Museums in the News 9/15/2017

Category: Alliance Blog

1. In the U.S. we’ve talked quite a bit about the place of confederate statues and names reflecting that past in our communities. Here’s a story where a Dutch museum takes action to change its colonialst name.

Dutch Art Museum Chooses to Change Its Colonialist Name

On Thursday, Rotterdam’s Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art announced that it has decided to change its name to dissociate itself from its namesake, the Dutch naval officer Witte Corneliszoon de With. As an agent of both the Dutch West India and the Dutch East India companies in the 17th century, de With led many colonial expeditions.

2. Claire Milldrum shares her thoughts on why she chose to leave the museum field and what she found out in her life after museums. Do any of her observations surprise you? What could we do to make our field a better place for us to work?

Why I Left The Museum Field: A Guest Post By Claire Milldrum

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Normally, I write over at the I’ve been noticing a growing number of young professionals choosing to leave the museum field, so I asked one of them, Claire Milldrum, to share her thoughts on the subject in this guest post: Female Gaze, but after writing a couple pieces there about museums, I was asked, basically, why I left the field.

3. A study from Northwestern University’s Institute of Policy Research finds that rates of discrimination against African-Americans in field experiments of hiring did not decline from 1990 to 2015. This isn’t specifically a museum story, but is quite relevant to our efforts at developing a more diverse workforce.

Bias against hiring African Americans hasn’t budged – Futurity

Rates of discrimination against African-Americans in field experiments of hiring did not decline from 1990 to 2015, according to the largest and most comprehensive meta-analysis of its kind. “It is often suggested that prejudice and discrimination are fading out over time through a gradual process of liberalization of attitudes,” says Lincoln Quillian, senior author of the study and professor of sociology at Northwestern University.

4. Earlier this week two London museums staged competitive banter on Twitter as part of #AskACurator day.  The faux battle was a little over-heated for my taste and I was relieved when the V&A Museum stepped in to say “Guys… we are all friends here on Exhibition Road.” What did you think?

Epic battle erupts between museums during Twitter #AskACurator day

Staff from two of London’s top museums became embroiled in a hilarious public spat – over who would win in a fight. Science Museum curators clashed with staff from the Natural History Museum as part of Twitter’s #AskACurator day.

5. The issues are complex when considering selling objects from museum collections, involving not only museums’ professional ethics, but also their missions, governance, financial sustainability, and even tax and accounting policy.  To help people cut through the jargon and understand the issues, we’ve prepared answers to some of the questions we’ve heard in the latest discussions.

Questions and Answers about Selling Objects from the Collection

A large-scale debate and discussion in the museum field was prompted by the July 2017 announcement by the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA of its plans to sell works from its collection to provide funds for its endowment, to make capital investments, and to pay for daily operations.

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