Are museums supposed to be fun?

The question is: should we assume that museums are necessarily fun? Is there such a thing as a “museums fun”?

Most museum professionals try to make the museum programs, activities, projects, and everything directed to audiences more accessible. It usually means that they try to overcome the common barriers. We may think that these barriers occur just when people with disabilities can’t access museums, for instance. But in reality, there are way more barriers. Some of them are simply emotional and intellectual. The assumption that museums are only for smart, educated, or rich people is one of them.

The idea that museums are fun is nothing new and far less is it something I invented. Since the emergence of social media, more and more museums have started to adopt a kind of “fun digital strategy”. There so many fun stories to tell about any museum, any kind of museum.

What if something in a museum or temporary exhibition is not that fun?

I mean, museums are full of stories that are not that fun. Stories of tragedy, disaster, poverty, wars, stories of less privileged people, awareness-raising projects about social inclusion, migrants, disabilities? What about all these common topics of museums’ projects and exhibitions? How can all these topics fit into an assumption that museums are fun?

First of all, there is a difference between something fun and something entertaining or amusing. We can say that “having fun” means “being in enjoyable activities, regardless of the type of activity”, while the term “entertainment” means a kind of activity that serves people to have fun.

In other words, museums are not supposed to be entertaining, but they are supposed to make people have fun, regardless of the topic. Life is not only about things that are beautiful and easy; life is also about difficult things.

Maritime Museum, Rijeka, Croatia

On the picture: One of the 3 existing lifejackets from Titanic. This one is a part of the collection of the Maritime History Museum of the Croatian Littoral, in Rijeka, Croatia. The story about Titanic is tragical, but… a visit to any museum that tells a story about it, is… a fascinating “museums fun”.

Let me give you another example:

5000-years-old Crime Novel

This is a story about a poor guy who went into trouble with some unknown guys and passed away in the high mountains. It happened 5000 years ago. A few holidaymakers who were mountain-hiking found him accidentally. According to all the investigations made on his body, he worked with metals, producing metal pieces of equipment and weapons. His body is exposed at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, in Bolzano-Bozen, Italy.

The Otzi - Ice Man

On the picture: Window looking into the Iceman’s refrigerated cell © South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology/Ochsenreiter

The story is sad. The visit to this museum is highly enjoyable. It’s fun.

Do you know any examples of beautiful, meaningful exhibitions about difficult topics, which were really enjoyable and fun to visit?

Leave me a comment in the comment section 😉

The main point of my activity is in (re)creating – museums fun

Our world is complex. We are here to make it some kind of easier. In 2018, Europe will celebrate the European year of Culture Heritage. A lot of heritage-related and museum activities will occur throughout the continent. Let’s wait for a lot of the so-called “museums fun”.

Gallery of Modern Art Dubrovnik / Museums Fun

On the picture: An athlete or a mindless person? Read about the Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik, Croatia

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