The Museum Lockdown Culture

Exactly how busy were museum staffs during six-month lockdowns? Pictured: Casting, Number Two, 1894, by Winslow Homer. Watercolor over graphite on wove paper. (National Gallery of Art/Open Access)
COVID-19 has pulled back the veil on the insularity, elitism, and laziness of far too many museums, which are forgetting that their main purpose is to serve the public.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE W hat’s happening to the museum world? I was a museum director for ten years and a curator for years before that. Sometimes I shake my head in bewilderment and chagrin.

The biggest museum scandal in my time, bigger than the Gardner theft (13 works of art stolen, and to this day never recovered, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), is the museum lockout culture that developed during the COVID-19 hysteria. I’ve written about this many times, but it bears repeating and embellishment since there’s so much fallout.

There’s the strangest new dynamic in museums these days. I think it’s infecting the entire

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