Opening of "Pasifika: Island Journeys." Museum of Anthropology, June 2003 Children in African Museums, First GCAM workshop, Nairobi, 1997 (NMK) GCAM delegates at Olorgesaillie Archaeological Site, Rift Valley, Kenya, 1997 Dance Troupe entertaining delegates, GCAM workshop, Nairobi, 1997 Education Officer, Peggy McGeary and CAM intern, Caroline Lanthier. Presentation on Holetown Museum, Barbados, 1999 Delegates in discussion, Liverpool, 2003 Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 2000 Northwest Coast Totem Pole, Museum of Anthropology
 
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& Workshops

Museums Matter:
A Tribute to Stephen Weil

September 13 - 15, 2006 at Dunsmuir Lodge
Organized through the Cultural Resource Management Program at the University of Victoria in collaboration with the Getty Leadership Institute
Contact: Joy Davis, Program Director, joydavis@uvcs.uvic.ca; 250-721-8462

Background

Many of the key themes that preoccupy museums, galleries, and other cultural heritage institutions today have their roots in the writings of the late Stephen Weil, Emeritus Senior Scholar of the Smithsonian Institution and former Deputy Director of the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Social responsibility, civic engagement, good governance, accountability, performance measures, and a meaningful role for cultural organizations within the social economy are all topics that his writings explored with originality, insight, rigour, and passion. With his passing in August 2005, the cultural heritage and museum sector lost a compelling voice for positive and meaningful change.

To honour and continue Stephen Weil's important thinking about museums and their roles, the Cultural Resource Management Program at the University of Victoria (where Steve taught on four occasions), in cooperation with the Getty Leadership Institute and a small planning group, is convening a tribute to Steve involving approximately 50 participants in September 2006, that will focus on the ways that museums and other cultural heritage organizations play meaningful roles in contemporary society. This gathering will generate new perspectives on the changing role of museums, will provide both senior and emerging professionals with opportunities to reflect on current and future practice, and will strengthen international relationships among leaders in the sector. Papers and commentaries will be published in a special issue of CURATOR: The Museum Journal, as well as other journals that serve the museum field, and it is our hope that key presentation(s) will be available as Webcasts to ensure broad access for those who are interested in the ideas generated through this gathering.

Dates

September 13 - 15, 2006

Location

Dunsmuir Lodge, University of Victoria (on the southern tip of Vancouver Island in British Columbia) where Steve taught on a number of occasions (http://www.dunsmuirlodge.com/)

Planning Group

The ad hoc group includes...

Participants

To date, over 45 invited participants have confirmed their intent to attend and to contribute to the gathering. These people are invited on the basis of their contributions to the cultural heritage field, their writing, and their reputation for innovative thinking. While many of them have personal connections with Stephen Weil, others have been invited as their work and writing build on or critique themes that were the subject of his writing and work. We expect to add up to 10 more participants as the program is finalized and as people's schedules are confirmed. A particular priority is to welcome and support the participation of up to eight emerging professionals who are identified by a range of museum studies programs in Canada and the United States.

Papers/Presentation

It is our expectation that a number of publishable papers (approximately 8,000 words) will be prepared and circulated in advance so that, during the sessions, presentations of approximately twenty minutes on key concepts will be provided by the authors, commentaries will be offered by other participants, and lively discussions will ensue. In keeping with the way in which Steve liked to plan similar workshops at Dunsmuir Lodge, time for congenial discussion and debate, reflective moments, and opportunities for shared meals and social times will be integrated in the schedule.

To date we have solicited 14 papers/presentations from innovative and accomplished museum thinkers/authors/scholars that draw on Steve's writings, activities, and other legacies as a springboard for continued and original reflections on key topics of concern to the cultural heritage sector. The draft abstracts are attached as Appendix B, although final abstracts may change somewhat to align with programmatic themes.

Program

The three-day session is organized to build on concepts presented in papers. We intend to acknowledge the influential role that Stephen Weil played in shaping peoples' thinking about issues, but to also encourage authors to build on and extend his thinking, to critique concepts, and to introduce new perspectives on the current and future dynamics of the cultural heritage sector. Authors of papers will be asked to summarize key concepts and stimulate discussion, rather than to read their papers, and a key priority is to build in time for small working groups to reflect on issues and contribute these to the overall proceedings.

As well, one afternoon of the gathering will be open to the British Columbia museum, heritage, and cultural community to attend a panel discussion and reception and dinner at the Royal British Columbia Museum that enables our local cultural community to meet participants and engage with the concepts being discussed. The draft outline of the program features the following sessions.

Draft Abstracts of Papers/Presentations

The Weil Legacy

Museums and Cultural Organizations as Social Enterprises

Connecting with Communities

Shaping Change