The Happy Museum: A tale of how it could turn out all right
Sam Thompson and Jody Aked, with Bridget McKenzie, Chris Wood, Maurice Davies and Tony Butler
Published to launch the project in 2011, the aim of this short paper was to begin a conversation about how the UK museum sector could respond to the challenges presented by the need for creating a more sustainable future.
Our proposition was that museums are well placed to play an active part, but that grasping the opportunity would require reimagining some key aspects of their role, both in terms of the kinds of experience they provide to their visitors and the way they relate to their collections, to their communities and to the pressing issues of the day.
A PDF copy of the paper is available for download by clicking this link - The Happy Museum paper
The Happy Museum Paper framed a creative enquiry to re-imagine the purpose of museums. It included a set of pathways, described in a Manifesto for Transition under eight principles. They examined how museums might cement the linkage between well-being and environmental sustainability, how they might pursue more mutual relationships within civic society and how they might better articulate the possibilities of a good life to help people in the transition to a low-carbon world.
There was much to interrogate in these principles: Are happiness and sustainability one and the same concept? How do we evaluate culture and well-being?
The commissioned projects explored the eight principles, to see how they make sense to them as a way of looking at museums’ role in re-imagining a society committed to a high well-being and sustainable future. In this way, we’re creating a living manifesto informed by a community of practice, personal anecdote, experience and policy.
Discussion of these original manifesto principles can be found via the links below: