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Janes, Robert R. "The Mindful Museum." Curator 53, no. 3 (2010): 326-38.


There is a disconnect between museums, which are preoccupied with internal quantitative measures of success, and the issues that are confronting civilization on a global scale. This article emphasizes the necessity for museums to become mindful organizations that place social responsibility at the forefront. In order to understand what this entails, one must first understand the definition of mindfulness. Janes defines mindfulness as paying attention to things we ordinarily ignore, and always knowing what we are doing. Similar to human thought, museums are also susceptible to stress, distractions and cascading thoughts, which is all ineffective chatter. However, unlike humans, museums are incapable of mindful meditation, yet it is still crucial for them to block out the chatter and reflect on why museums do what they do. To increase mindfulness, museums should:

1) Focus less on process and more on synthesizing.

2) Develop values based on commitment and effective participation in the broader world.

3) Rely on multifunctional work groups including work groups that can alter their plans to address unanticipated issues as they crop up.

By utilizing some of these progressive practices, museums will be more conscious and therefore more effective as societal stewards in this time of uncertainty.

Kelsey Wood-Hrynkiw