LCM: Does nostalgia play a role in your work?
MD: I try to be historic rather than nostalgic. For me, nostalgia is always tied to the notion of the “Golden Age” of things — this idea that the past was much better. I don’t think that’s true for many things I care about. For women, people of color, gay people, working people, it’s absolutely better now. So I really try to steer clear of golden age thinking and use things to provoke a sense of time and perhaps a sense of loss, but never a sense that somehow our values are worse than the values in the past. I don’t think that’s true. If there’s any reason for optimism, it is that there has slowly been more access to power for more people.
July 22, 2014
July 21, 2014
One of the sharpest museum blogs is back!
(Perhaps one day I will also be back.)
July 14, 2014
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But for lovers or friends with no past in common the historic past unrolls like a park, like a ridgy landscape full of buildings and people. To talk of books is, for oppressed shut-in lovers, no way out of themselves; what was written is either dull or too near the heart. But to walk into history is to be free at once, to be at large among people. Art does its work even here in clarifying their faces, but they are dead, immune, their schemes and passions are legacies….Outside, the street, empty, reeled in the midday sun; the glare was reflected in on the gold-and-brown restaurant wall opposite; side by side in the empty restaurant, they surrounded themselves with wars, treaties, persecutions, strategic marriages, campaigns, reforms, successions and violent deaths. History is unpainful, memory does not cloud it; you join the emphatic lives of the long dead. May we give the future something to talk about.
–Elizabeth Bowen, The House in Paris
March 18, 2014
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Come to our NCPH session, this Thursday morning at 8:30 as part of the NCPH annual meeting in sunny, convenient Monterey.
How can co-created projects become a sustainable part of our work? This roundtable includes participants who have facilitated recurring co-created exhibits and other projects involving museums, community organizations, students, artists, and other diverse partners. We will discuss the best practices that have emerged from ongoing collaborative projects, followed by a robust discussion with the audience as we collectively outline how we can sustain the co-created projects that keep our institutions responsive, challenging, and vital.
Facilitator: Suzanne Fischer, Oakland Museum of California
Presenters: Lisa Junkin Lopez, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
Benjamin Cawthra, California State University, Fullerton
Deborah Mack, National Museum of African American History and Culture
Evelyn Orantes, Oakland Museum of California
February 5, 2014
Reading this scholarly book, I came upon this wonderfully forthright explanation of historical curiosity: “The primary purpose of this monograph is to answer the question, “Man, what’s up with that?””
January 2, 2014
I hope your 2014 is full of museumgoing and critical reflection on history!
In the new year, may I suggest that the NCPH members among my readers vote in the NCPH board elections? You should have received an email in December with voting information. The election closes on Jan 5 and I am running for nominating committee. I’d appreciate your support.
December 3, 2013
It’s important for me to challenge this nostalgic vision of the past, particularly of the early 90s. So many queers now have this nostalgia for something they never experienced. In the early 90s, everyone was dying from AIDS, and drug addiction, and suicide. I came of age watching a generation of people losing all their friends. That’s what being queer meant: it meant everyone was dying. Nostalgia erases the actual experiences.
–From this interview with Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore