If ever an event can move me to put on nice pants and sit around drinking mediocre coffee, it is the promise of spirited debate. With that in mind, the Hermitage staff book club had its inaugural meeting today. I am delighted to report that everyone had on nice pants.
Our first book, Whose Muse? Art Museum and the Public Trust, generated a particularly lively discussion. If you are at all interested in the study of museums I recommend picking up a copy.
James Cuno, President and Director of the Art Institute of Chicago, proposes the following in his essay entitled “The Object of Art Museums”:
“The public has entrusted in us the authority and responsibility to select, preserve, and provide its access to works of art that can enhance, even change, people’s lives. And in turn, we have agreed to dedicate all of our resources — financial, physical, and intellectual — to this purpose. Art museums are a public trust.”
As museum-goers, do you feel anything is lacking from this definition? What are the limitations of that trust? And most importantly, what pants do you plan on wearing to our next meeting? I’m going with a classic chino.