Jonathan Jones, the Guardian’s Art Critic, doesn’t like the sound of the latest museum mission creep. Sir Nicholas Serota and Neil MacGregor have both been talking about moving museums onto the internet which baggles Jones:
[A]s far as I am aware – and some curators would dispute this – a museum is a collection of artefacts. It is a repository of physical things. Tate Modern has just made a remarkable leap in quality as a museum, and why? Because of the Anthony d’Offay collection. Because it has some very good stuff all of a sudden. As for the British Museum, it has so many objects it has to keep thousands of them in storage. In the end, all museums really have to do is look after their collections. End of story. The rest is blather.
To me, this sounds like another example of the modern museum losing its soul and its sanity: museums are not primarily publishers, or communicators, or TV stations, or whatever it is this bit of future-babble conjures up.
In reality, a museum is the opposite of the internet. It is a place where everything is physical and where every encounter is solid. It is somewhere real. It’s a very good thing, of course, that museums have great websites that enable the user to learn more about their collections, but these are just ways into the museum. They don’t substitute for it.
Museums on the Internet? Get Real (Jonathan Jones Blog/Guardian)