ABSTRACT

The long-term consequences of museum inertia, marked by its preoccupation with the status quo, will continue to unfold. Now is the opportune time for intelligent management, which requires being skeptical, curious and inventive before the situation demands it. My purpose in this final chapter is to speculate on the future role and responsibilities of museums in light of the intensifying socio-environmental pressures. This examination will be part cautionary tale, coupled with some alarmism and a hint of the apocalyptic, all for the purpose of emphasizing the centrality of mindfulness to responsible museum management. An acute awareness of alternative futures for museums need not be distressing or debilitating – it can actually be liberating. I will make this case within an ethical framework, as I also believe that there are right and wrong choices to be made, irrespective of the so-called neutrality that so many museums are ardent to retain.