This issue marks an exciting transition for Plinth: we’re launching our quarterly format. We’ll be publishing four times per year, rather than monthly, with each issue focusing on a loose theme that resonates across the highly varied cultural and educational organizations represented in Plinth’s coverage. We’re excited to continue to bring new voices to the dialogue on museums and cultural institutions, to highlight a broad and hugely diverse swath of the museum field, and to deliver in-depth features from regular contributors and guests who bring a variety of perspectives. As we move forward with this format, we’ll be continuing to grow and are looking forward to bringing new kinds of material to our readers in each issue.
Fittingly for the start of the school year, this issue’s theme is education. Our writers this month have approached this theme from all angles, reflecting the myriad ways in which education is woven into both the internal and external work of museums and cultural organizations. Peter Le Couteur considers the role of the fictive museum in education around navigating today’s sea of information and sources. Jennifer Janes draws from experience at the California Academy of Sciences in sharing insights on learning from planning museum programs with partners. Keah Fryar contributes a spotlight on an “art history lab” that invites visitors to study artworks in a wider context than one usually sees on a gallery wall. Finally, Christian Hernandez talks to a conservator about the education and experiences that ended up leading him to the field and the high-impact ways in which he is sharing his expertise today.
As a whole, this wide-ranging group of articles speaks to the core of Plinth’s mission of highlighting the innovative work happening in museums and cultural organizations across spectrums of location, size, audience, and focus. Education is central to most museums’ missions and goals, but the ways in which organizations provide educational experiences for diverse audiences, and even do some learning themselves, continue to evolve. This month’s articles point to several ways in which education is woven into and made possible by the work of cultural institutions, with the processes of experimentation, critical analysis, and opening access to ideas forming a consistent undercurrent throughout highly varied approaches.
We hope you enjoy the fall issue, and stay tuned for more from Plinth.