Many museum and library professionals use the concept of the third place to describe the idealized vision of a cultural institution as a place for community use and civic engagement. I was surprised when I first picked up Oldenburg's book to confront many ideas in it that are frankly quite challenging to my original conception of a third place. Oldenburg celebrates places that are less structured, less designed, less facilitated, and less content-rich than most museums want to be. It made me wonder if cultural professionals really want to turn their institutions into third places, and if so, what it would take. I hope we can explore those questions together in the weeks to come.
Here's how the book club will work:
- Get your hands on a copy of the book in the next couple of weeks.
- Read it (or a large chunk of it).
- If you are so motivated, fill out this two-question form to let me know you want to write a guest post or do an interview with me about the book.
- For four weeks starting June 1, each Tuesday there will be a Museum 2.0 post with a response to the book. I'd like to write one or two of these at the most. The goal is to make the blog a community space for different viewpoints. I'll be looking for guest posters who represent different types of institutions or approaches to the material. You don't need to be a museum or library professional to be eligible--just a good writer with an interesting perspective to share.
I look forward to the discussion next month!