Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Upcoming Museum 2.0 Book Club: Blueprint

Once there was a project to design a national history museum in the Netherlands. There was a location, a budget, and a flurry of planning. The team developed some highly innovative digital projects and approaches to history. Three years later, at the end of 2011, the project was canceled.

What happened? While not wholly explored, that question reverberates throughout a new book, Blueprint, that shares the plans for the Dutch Museum of National History. The book walks readers through galleries that never existed, and then steps back to tell the story of the project, the underpinning goals, the experimental projects along the way, and the pain in closing.

I chose this book for our next Museum 2.0 book club for three reasons:
  1. The experimental projects of this museum-in-process included some of the most innovative participatory initiatives I've ever seen, especially in a discipline--history--that is often staid.
  2. The book was released just four months after the project was officially canceled. My early skimming suggests that it is very much a "hot" history of a recent event and probably less prettied-up than most accounts of the politics of museum planning.
  3. It's about Europe. Most of the books we've explored on this blog in the past focus on museums in North America. A lot is changing in European museums--especially when it comes to money. 

This book club will work like the others (see the "Book Discussion" keywords on the right to access past ones). Starting a month from now, on Wednesdays, the blog will features a mixture of my thoughts along with guest posts from you reflecting on how the book is useful in your own work. Because it might take a little while for you to get the book, we won't start until mid-May--likely May 16.

If you'd like to participate...
  • Get your hands on a copy of the book in the next few weeks. You can buy it here, and yes, it is in English. To order, click the red arrow-shaped button that says "Bestel" on the upper left. Or see Jasper's kind comment below offering to help you buy one. 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 participate in a group discussion about the book. I'll be looking for guest posters who represent different types of institutions, countries, and approaches to the material. You don't need to be a museum professional to be eligible--just a good writer with an interesting perspective to share. 
For four weeks starting in mid-May, each Wednesday 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. Happy reading!
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