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Museum Activism

Piet Mondrian
Piet Mondrian, Tableau No. 2/Composition No. VII


The verb curate comes from the Latin curare, to cure or heal.

Museums have the power to guide, heal and unite.

My beliefs:

Climate change is real and a major threat to the planet and those living on the planet.

That hate is real and by not speaking out I am implicit in hate.

That as a country we need to elevate people through beauty, in all of its forms.

That this period in the history of the USA can be a new awakening of dialogue.

Museums are critical to providing a place for dialogue.

Museums must remain apolitical (legally).

Museums need to remain objective in order to promote dialogue (discussion between many people of different viewpoints)

“Museums are not Neutral”(1), they need to remain objective and have a long view.

I find solace, guidance, and strength in museums of all types; Art Museums, Science Museums, Children’s Museums, Natural History Museums, Botanic Gardens, Zoos, Art Centers and History Museums.

At this difficult time, I would call on museum curators, museum directors, museum staff and museum volunteers to take to their purpose with a new energy and hope.  Museums can change the world.

– Mark

(1) Art Museum Teaching: Museums are not Neutral
American Alliance of Museums: Tools and resources in the wake of Charlottesville
Americans for the Arts: The Role Museums Play in Social Activism
The Future of Museums: Activism, homelessness and a new kind of museum
New York Times: Museums Chart a Response to Political Upheaval
New York Times: New Message at Some Museums: Don’t Just Look. Do.
MuseumNext: Should museums be activists?
The Association of Art Museum Curators, Professional Practices for Art Museum Curators
Guidelines: Common Tax Law Restrictions on Activities of Exempt Organizations 501(c)(3) “Engage in public advocacy not related to legislation or election of candidates”
IRS: The Restrictions of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations
Society of Professional Journalists, Code of Ethics

About Mark Walhimer

Mark is Managing Partner of Museum Planning, LLC, a museum planning and exhibition project management firm of interactive educational environments for Science Centers, Children's Museums and Natural History Museums. You can reach Mark at

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