C o m m o n w e a l t h
A s s o c i a t i o n o f
M u s e u m s
CAM Bulletin Number 1 - Jan. 1996
Exchange Column: Everything Old is New Again
There is a movement among Canadians which seeks to utilise a method of exchange that some have only heard, and which others have lived with all their lives. It is called barter. Entire clubs have been established to facilitate the non-monetary exchange of resources and expertise among interested parties. Recognising this, CAM members at their Botswana meeting in September, passed a resolution asking CAM to facilitate such interactions among its members.
None of us have much money, but all of us have expertise, resources, or opportunities, we might be willing to exchange for other resources which we find scarce. This might include locally produced exhibitions, contemporary arts/crafts/ethnological collections, museological expertise, electronic or training know-how, or a host of other resources.
Some of us might be example, like to know a couple of years in advance of inexpensive exhibitions being planned which might be suitable for travel. There is a great need for the under represented voices within our commonwealth to have their voices heard within our museums, and it is very useful to know when locally produced exhibitions are being planned and could be made available for travel. (I am not speaking of the blockbuster shows with fees of $50-100,000+US$ but of smaller shows with fees of perhaps a few thousand dollars, perhaps payable in advance to offset planning costs.) Or perhaps you are planning a collecting program to fill in your collection in some area and would be interested in collecting partners who could share the cost of collecting in return for duplicate material collected. Or perhaps you might be able to exchange locally printed books, or audio tapes or who knows what. Maybe you want help setting up an internet web page, or help in resolving a particular conservation, security or marketing problem. Let's share needs and abilities.
We must self help. Trade not aid, will allow us to protect ourselves from the vagaries of government inattention or periods of changing support. I encourage individuals, museums and others to write to CAM and let them know what your interests are for exchange/barter. Any program depends on individuals working to set these 'deals' up. Consultants and other for profit businesspersons are able to make very nice living by facilitating exchanges of expertise or the sale of surplus materials. There is no reason we should not be able to help each other and ourselves if we invest a few stamps, some e-mail or perhaps a phone call.
I'll start. I need locally printed material of ethnological or material cultural documentation of Sub-Saharan African material including exhibition catalogues, histories, journals, etc. In exchange, I can offer books and journals produced in North America in a wide range of disciplines, computerised library searches, expertise in such areas as Board governance, organisational change and other subjects. Anyone want to talk?
Royal Ontario Museum