Innovation in Curation

Bern Schmitt discusses innovations in museum curation.

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For decades, curating a show in a museum meant putting the works of art together and displaying them (for example, hanging the paintings on the wall with some consideration on where they should hang and perhaps putting some introductory note at the beginning of the show, written in “high brow” art-history lingo). There are still too many shows like that. But the really good ones today are quite different.

Like the brilliant show on Spanish Painting & Sculpture 1600-1700 in the National Gallery in London, which I attended yesterday. The show is titled “The Sacred Made Real.” For innovation in curation starts with the name: “Spanish Painting …” is the subtitle; the “Sacred Made Real” is the main title, providing a theme for watching the show. The audio guide, rather “audio program,” is superbly done and really enriches the experience. It is easy to use, includes interviews with the curator and others; allows you to play music of the time, and so on. What else is on? Not only the usual lunchtime talks but also “The Making of a Spanish Polychrome Sculpture,” which reveals the technical process in creating such sculptures.

All of this is experiential and customer oriented. That’s why I ask my EMBA students in the Munich program to go to the museums there. As museums have adopted a customer orientation and are wiping off the old dust, managers can learn a few lessons from them about how to innovate in a business in which there had been little change for too long.


This post originally posted by Schmitt on the MeetSCHMITT blog at:

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