The world has changed. In early 2020, when COVID-19 spread around the globe, closing museums and universities and disrupting life as we know it, Museum Worlds: Advances in Research, like many academic and professional journals, was also affected. Of course, in a pandemic with so many lives lost, and many others exposed to illness, unemployment, and the disruption of the economy, travel, and trade, the tertiary and cultural sectors were bound to be adversely impacted as well. With the shutting of museums and galleries, university teaching going online—resulting in increased workloads for academics, the laying off or furloughing of staff, the delaying of the production of books and journals (with publishers unable to send books out), and the cancellation and/or delay of conferences and research projects—it was natural that we would also struggle to get together an issue for 2020. It was indeed a challenge compiling Museum Worlds 8 as the virus raged, but thanks to our hard-working team of editors, our generous and patient contributors, our tireless readers and peer reviewers, and the expert advice of Janine Latham and her colleagues at Berghahn, we got there. I want to thank everyone involved in this issue for their help in seeing it into print, and especially Dr. Susette Goldsmith, my editorial assistant, for being there in the final stages.
Museum Worlds: Advances in Research Volume 7 (2019) is an open issue, covering a rich variety of topics reflecting the range and diversity of today's museums around the globe. This year's volume has seven research articles, four of them dealing with very different but equally fascinating issues: contested African objects in UK museums, industrial heritage in Finland, manuscript collecting in Britain and North America, and Asian art exhibitions in New Zealand. But this issue also has a special section devoted to Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, which contains three articles and an interview.
A Conversation with Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
What was the first museum you remember visiting?
I was born in September 1942 during the war. My parents came from Poland. Three weeks after I was born, 6,500 Jews from my father's hometown, Opatów (Apt, in Yiddish), 65% of the population, disappeared overnight. All but 500 were sent to the Treblinka death camp, and the rest to a forced labour camp.
So I grew up in an immigrant neighbourhood in the immediate postwar years. I went through an ultra-Orthodox period (my parents were horrified). I became not only strictly kosher, but also I observed the Sabbath very strictly. That meant I could not ride, spend money, turn on the radio, write, tear paper … I could do almost nothing. Except … I could walk to the Royal Ontario Museum. … and I did. So this was before the era of helicopter parents. At the age of 10, 11, 12 years old, I would walk out of my house, through Queen's Park, to the ROM, and that was my beloved childhood museum.
Sandra H. Dudley and Conal McCarthy
Conal McCarthy and Sandra H. Dudley
After special issues of Museum Worlds: Advances in Research in 2016 and 2017, Volume 6 (2018) is an open issue. In the last two years, the journal has canvassed issues to do with museum archeology, repatriation, and engaging anthropological legacies, as well as with its annual scan of books, exhibitions, conferences, and other events around the museum world, not just in the Anglophone North Atlantic but also in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Pacific.
Sheila K. Hoffman, Conal McCarthy, and Billie Lythberg
25th ICOM General Conference. International Conference Center, Kyoto, Japan, 1–7 September 2019 by Sheila K. Hoffman
Interaction, Integration, and Flow. Researching the Museum in the Global Contemporary, Shaanxi Normal University, Xian, 15–20 September 2019 by Conal McCarthy
‘Amui ‘i Mu'a: Ancient Futures Conference Tanoa International Dateline Hotel, Tonga, 7–12 October 2019 by Billie Lythberg
Shelley Ruth Butler, Conal McCarthy, and Fiona P. McDonald
SANDELL, Richard, and Eithne NIGHTINGALE, eds., Museums, Equality and Social Justice
PHILLIPS, Ruth B., Museum Pieces: Towards the Indigenization of Canadian Museums
BUSZEK, Maria Elena, ed., Extra/Ordinary: Craft and Contemporary Art
HANSEN, Tone, ed., (Re)Staging the Art Museum
John Reeve, Ian Wedde, Elizabeth Plumridge, and Conal McCarthy
BIENKOWSKI, Piotr, Communities and Museums as Active Partners: Emerging Learning from the “Our Museum” Initiative
CLIFFORD, James, Returns: Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century Ian Wedde
MATHUR, Saloni, and Kavita SINGH, eds., No Touching, No Spitting, No Praying: The Museum in South Asia; AHMED, Hilal, Muslim Political Discourse in Postcolonial India: Monuments, Memory, Contestation; PETERSON, Derek K., Kodzo GAVUA, and Ciraj RASSOOL, eds., The Politics of Heritage in Africa: Economies, Histories and Infrastructures; BARNES, Amy Jane, Museum Representations of Maoist China: From Cultural Revolution to Commie Kitsch
SILVERMAN, Ray, ed., Museum as Process: Translating Local and Global Knowledges; ONCIUL, Bryony, Museums, Heritage and Indigenous Voice: Decolonising Engagement; LEVITT, Peggy, Artifacts and Allegiances: How Museums Put the Nation on Display; MURAWSKA-MUTHESIUS, Kataryna and Piotr PIOTROWSKI, eds., From Museum Critique to Critical Museum; BALZAR, David, Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World and Everything Else
Kylie Message, Masaaki Morishita, Conal McCarthy, and Lee Davidson
Elizabeth Plumridge, Conal McCarthy, Kaitlin McCormick, Mark O'Neill, Lee Davidson, Vivian Ting, Alison K. Brown, and Arkotong Longkumer
BENNETT, Tony, Making Culture, Changing Society
GOLDING, Viv, and Wayne MODEST, eds., Museums and Communities: Curators, Collections and Collaboration
KRMPOTICH, Cara, and Laura PEERS, eds., This Is Our Life: Haida Material Heritage and Changing Museum Practice
MESSAGE, Kylie, Museums and Social Activism: Engaged Protest
SCOTT, Carol, ed., Museums and Public Value: Creating Sustainable Futures
SU, Xiaobo, and Peggy TEO, The Politics of Heritage Tourism in China: A View from Lijiang
VAN BROEKHOVEN, Laura, et al., eds., Sharing Knowledge and Cultural Heritage: First Nations of the Americas—Studies in Collaboration with Indigenous Peoples from Greenland, North and South America
WEST, Andy, Museums, Colonialism and Identity: A History of Naga Collections in Britain