The true story is that I desperately wanted to find a way to engage in discussions with some of my museum heroes. I am shy in large groups. I'd sit quietly at conferences, wishing I could talk to some amazing person onstage, not knowing what to say or how to start. And I figured if I started thinking and writing about topics that were interesting to them and to me, we might have a reason to connect.
Kathy McLean is one of my heroes who motivated the start of Museum 2.0, and I am honored and thrilled that we have become friends over the last few years. I have learned so much from her work as an exhibition designer, audience advocate, and facilitator.
And now, finally, a bunch of her work is online. I'm not going to say much about her site, just that you should prepare to get lost in the exploration of her inspiring projects, writings, and talks. Kathy believes strongly in the need for museum professionals to be more literate in the history and evolution of museum practice, and checking out her work is a good starting point for a particular kind of radical museum education.
Kathy's website includes:
- images and descriptions of some of her most interesting projects, including the acclaimed Darkened Waters exhibition at the Pratt Museum, the newly opened Center for Creative Connections at the Dallas Museum of Art, and many exhibitions at the Exploratorium, where Kathy served as Director of the Center for Public Exhibition and Public Programs from 1994-2004.
- downloadable PDF versions of several essays (and links to her great books on exhibition design). I particularly enjoyed her account of "opening up the Exploratorium" and her provocative piece about the future of exhibitions, comparing the curatorial concerns of 1998 to those of 1958.
- video and papers from some of her talks, including this recent and relatively short treatise on science center and museum design.