Saturday, 13 August 2016

Reading list, 13 August 2016

The Met posts record attendance figures, but attributes part of its current financial strictures to an increase in younger visitors who are paying less for their voluntary admission charges (following a lawsuit where the Met was forced to change the wording on their admission policy, from 'recommended' to 'suggested').

As reported in the above NYT article by Robin Pobegrin, alongside redundancies, the Met is predicted to reduce the number of temporary exhibitions and start shopping in its own closet (making shows from its own collection to reduce the costs involved in loaning works) to continue with cost-saving. Interestingly, the situation has echoes to 2009, when Thomas P. Campbell took over the Met - facing a dive in its endowment due to the GFC, the museum dropped programming and shed staff. At that same time Campbell announced a revitalisation of the museum's digital work, a campaign that led to the hiring of Sree Sreenivasan, former Chief Digital Officer at Columbia University. Now Sreenivasan is among the laid-off staff, and has just taken a new role as CDO for NYC.

This is one of many shake-ups in the small, tight world of museum's digital leadership: Seb Chan from Cooper Hewitt to ACMI, Nancy Proctor from Baltimore Museum of Art to full-time Museums and the Web, Shelley Bernstein from Brooklyn Museum to the Barnes Foundation, Rob Stein from Dallas Museum of Art to the Alliance of American Museums. There's a fascinating long-form piece of writing to be done about how digital overhauls in museums track with changes in leadership - digital work is relatively flexible, compared to programming and collection development, and is kind of like the canary in the mine of major museum operations. Hmmmm.

In other, shorter, news:

In architecture: Adding - invisibly - to Versailles

In the Olympics: The world of dressage

In New Zealand: Paula Morris's tribute to Peter Gossage

1 comment:

Chris Unitt said...

It's not exactly longform, but I wrote a short thing about hiring for digital business development a while back. Certainly chimes with your 'canary in the mine' analogy.

And of course, there's the corollary that if significant change is likely to be catalysed by new leadership, it can be quickly undermined by that leadership moving on. Sorry to link to myself again, but this seemed to be a theme at MuseumNext last year (that point #1 was written knowing about some impending departures).