Museum Fest: Opening the doors of the AD&A

Technology is revolutionizing every aspect of life and its influence has, year-by-year, trickled into the perpetually churning mechanisms of Museums. No longer entrenched in its former educational stigma, Museums are emerging as highly interactive and inclusive receptacles for innumerable forms of culture.

Current developments in society present an inversion of the past idea of the function of museums, symbolised through our evolving use of these institutions. Even in the relative past of the last generation, people would visit museums for an instructive purpose and expect an educational atmosphere. As Virginia Woolf remarked, in A Room of One’s Own: “If truth is not to be found on the shelves of the British Museum, where…is truth?”

While museums certainly still value the importance of their educational missions, incentives have changed and emphases shifted. Our own AD&A Museum, in an effort to capture the attention of UCSB’s broad undergraduate communities, staged a “Museum Fest”  last month on May 25. Conceived and planned by the AD&A interns, the event sought to bring the museum outdoors and directly onto campus. In an evening filled with print making and MFA artists talks, the successful first installment of the Fest formed an example of the new relationship museums seek with its visitors: an exciting, inclusive and creative one, in which knowledge and truth are the subjective by-products of shared experiences rather top-down imposed objectives.

While visitors have long come to museums with questions and in search of answers, the modern function of museums has transcended this one-sided relationship. With the rise of technology has come the unprecedented access to information, all at a quick search into Google and a click of a finger. As a result, museums now reach out to the public and bring in audiences pro-actively through innovative methods to entice this generation back through its doors to enjoy these spaces as well as learn from them. And if another consequence of this development is an increased emphasis on interaction and fun, then who can complain?

If you missed Museum Fest, the AD&A Museum is constantly finding ways of reaching out to you, so get in the know and be involved.

Brigitte Zheng

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