Crafting coherent narratives: Creating a compelling museum experience involves the challenge of crafting a coherent narrative that engages visitors regardless of their entry point into an exhibit. This requires a delicate balance between guidance and freedom for exploration.
Blend of historic and contemporary: The Morris Museum‘s innovative approach blends historic architecture with contemporary gallery spaces, creating a compelling narrative that appeals to stakeholders while staying true to the institution’s history. The exhibition featuring the work of artist Paul J. Stankard, known for botanical glass orbs, exemplifies Michelle Graves’ curation process. It marries natural history with local appeal, serving the North Jersey community.
Transformation through technology: Virtual reality (VR) experiences and AI are transforming museums, taking visitors from passive to active roles and offering new ways to engage with exhibits. The ethical considerations and potential regulatory impacts of AI in art are discussed, emphasizing that museums have space for both traditional and technological approaches
Museum as an inclusive space: Museums are for everyone, and the Morris Museum’s dedication to innovation, inclusivity, and visitor engagement reflects the evolving role of cultural institutions. Examining how museums responded to the pandemic and increased demand for representation of diverse social issues, the Morris Museum and Art in the Atrium partnership serves as a case study for introducing varied voices and making museums more inviting and inclusive.
Most people have fond memories of a school trip to a nearby museum. A bus full of grade-school students, all eager to experience education in a more hands-on setting. But as we age, museums tend to lose the magic we experienced as children. However, museum curators like Michelle Graves want to reignite that spark by leading with inclusivity. In this episode, we explore the evolving world of museums and how institutions like the Morris Museum stand out as industry leaders.
Every museum is supposed to tell a story. One key challenge faced by curators is creating a coherent narrative that can engage visitors regardless of their entry into an exhibit. This requires a balance between guiding visitors and allowing them the freedom to explore. The art of curation involves more than just selecting pieces — it is about crafting an immersive journey that speaks to a diverse audience, including individuals with disabilities and those with varying levels of art education.
The Morris Museum’s approach to blending historic architecture with contemporary gallery spaces creates a compelling narrative. Michelle describes the process of creating an exhibition, emphasizing that it must appeal to stakeholders while staying true to the institution’s history. “From Flame to Flower: The Art of Paul J. Stankard” is an exhibition that brings Michelle’s process together. Stankard’s work features botanical orbs made entirely of glass, giving the viewer the feeling of being transported to a different world. This exhibition marries the natural history side of the institution with its current role. Stankard, a New Jersey-based artist, appeals to the North Jersey community that the Morris Museum serves locally.
During our discussion, we uncover how virtual reality (VR) experiences and AI are transforming museums. Considering the recent executive order on AI usage by the Biden-Harris administration, the ethical considerations and potential regulatory impacts of AI in art continue to be a hot topic. But Michelle assures audiences that museums have space for both technologies. They take visitors from passive to active roles, letting them engage with the exhibits in new ways.
Planning exhibitions in a museum setting is a meticulous process. Curators must consider the architectural context, historical significance, and how different exhibitions interact with the permanent collection. Every element, from the spatial arrangement to the thematic content, is purposefully curated to give visitors a cohesive understanding and appreciation of the museum’s offerings. Through our conversation, I am reminded of visiting “Paris Street; Rainy Day” at the Art Institute of Chicago. The curator’s ability to craft a story using lighting and space created a lasting impression on me.
Looking toward the future of museum exhibition design, we examine how museums are responding to the pandemic and the increased demand for representation of diverse social issues and technological advancements. The partnership between the Morris Museum and Art in the Atrium is a case study of how collaborations can introduce varied voices into museum spaces. These exhibitions serve as accessible entry points to traditional art spaces and can shift the perception of museums from intimidating and elitist to inviting and inclusive.
Museums are indeed a place for everyone, and the Morris Museum’s dedication to innovation, inclusivity, and visitor engagement is a testament to the evolving role of these cultural institutions. This conversation with Michelle Graves provides a glimpse into the exciting future of museum experiences, where every visitor’s journey is valued, and art is brought to life through the elegance of modern curation.
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