In this essay from the CODE | WORDS series of articles, Nick Poole, examines how museums are in the midst of changes that will indelibly impact their role in the world. Writing in response to an earlier essay by Michael Edson, Poole begins to unpack the relationship of museums with complexity and how that relationship is changing as a result of the information age.
Can we take a model that has been optimized over 200 years to create the impression of order and pattern, to deliver ‘single stories’ of historical progression, and use it as the raw material for a new industry whose primary purpose is to equip everyone with the tools to engage more productively and creatively with complexity?
Everybody loves a good story. Stories have the power to draw out universal threads in our common experience. They can inform and entertain, terrify and inspire us. And yet stories aren't real. Life isn't made of protagonists and antagonists. Our histories don't follow a linear narrative arc from exposition to resolution.