This week I wanted to throw out some thoughts on the future of archaeology and museums. Of late, I am fond of saying, if we think we can just hold our breath for a while and things will go back to the “good old days” of funding and support, then we will likely die of asphyxiation. At the very heart of archaeology is the understanding of change through time and space. Our very discipline provides us with the starting point to consider the change going on all around us today as well.
One of my most intriguing finds in the recent past is from the Museum Audience Insight post on Museum Visitation in Tough Economic Times. The blog is based on a comparison of museum visitation studies by the Research Advisors and a recent report of the American Association of Museums. In part, the AAM report concluded that although these are tough economic times, museum attendance overall is holding steady. Further, the blog looks at the demographic trends of visitors and the nature of their museum engagement. A follow-up post has a rather detailed analysis of the study respondents. Both of these posts are definitely worth a look.
From the Heritage Key website in England comes 12 Expert Predictions on the future of Archaeology. Although most of the predictions focus on advances in the scientific applications in archaeology, such as remote sensing, radiocarbon and DNA testing, other types of changes are also envisioned. For example, author Brian Fagan predicts that site destruction will reach a crisis point. From the Manchester Museum, Peter Brown sees new forms of communication as key for Museum success. Experimental Archaeologist Jacqui Wood sees archaeological parks as more year-round experiential sites, bringing to mind venues such as Connor Prairie in Indiana.
What are your thoughts on the future of Archaeology and Museums?