Art Museums – Not Just For Art Anymore

By Helena Liikanen-Renger

What is the purpose of a museum? Is it a home for paintings or a place to go have an experience with art? The museum-as-temple is the traditional model, with visitors coming to focus on the art. But in the age of Twitter and Facebook, more and more museums are focusing on the experience around the art.

Art classes, yoga lessons, concerts, lecture and parties. Just as retailers have redefined buying your morning coffee as an experience rather than a product, museums are selling the art experience:

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Stephanie Barron, the senior curator of modern art at LACMA has seen how the art museums have changed over the years. “I think it is very important that we don’t dilute what we do”, she says. For her, the emphasis should be on the art rather than on the social spaces: museums are not shopping malls.


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