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After a hiatus of nearly a year, your blogger Paul C. Thistle, aka fullyloadedcamel, is now again in a position to begin posting on this Solving Task Saturation for Museum Workers blog. There have been many issues arising in this rather narrowly focussed subject field over the past year that I have been anxious to write about.

Among the many other disruptions in my task saturation blogging ‘work’ was my effort to create a new blog with a broader focus. The resulting “Critical Museology Miscellanea” blog originally was stimulated in part by my hesitation to publish the  “Museum Workers & Social Justice?” (Thistle 2014) post on this blog because it did not relate directly to solving task saturation for museum workers—and in fact it added to the ‘expectation inflation’ in our field.

My new venture “Critical Museology Miscellanea” (Thistle 2017), that will take in a museum field-wide perspective, synthesises a definition of ‘critical museology’ from several sources:

. . . a discipline for the critical and theoretical examination of the museum field . . . involving self-reflexive and radical re-examination . . . rigorous deconstruction . . . concerted, serious, sustained, and in-depth critical analysis of museum practice . . . aimed at: awareness of underlying presuppositions . . . better understanding of museum practice . . . reform . . . constant renewal . . . and the reciprocal correction of theory and practice.

I trust that followers of this Solving Task Saturation ‘periodical’ will recognise ‘critical museology’ as an essential characteristic of this blog too.

The ‘About’ page on my new Critical Museology Miscellanea blog is an introductory essay outlining my approach to the conception of critical museology. It addresses: the foundational concept of ‘museology,’ the development of its current ‘critical theory,’ the significance of an analytical approach to the museum field, the need to strengthen the concept of so-called ‘reflexivity’ in critical museology, and my other critiques of the current thinking in the critical museology literature. It also outlines elements of my personal journey that have brought me to the understandings and concerns that motivate my writing on the museum field.

Quite apart from the new blog venture above, I am impatient to write about several current issues surrounding museum practitioner task saturation such as: the recent intense discussion about young & mid-career workers leaving the museum field (see Milldrum 2017; Baldwin 2017; Erdman et al. 2017), the deficiencies in Ontario Canada’s Changing Workplaces Review (Mitchell & Murray 2017), important matters ignored in the article on the Curators Committee of the American Alliance of Museums’ Curator Core Competencies in the May/June 2017 issue of Museum (Burns & Hoffman 2017), as well as several other issues  concerning the quality of working lives in museums.

I invite you to stay tuned to both blogs—with the priviso that my blog ‘work’-life conflict issues remain as they do in many museum workers’ experience.

References Cited:

Baldwin, Joan. 2017. “Who’s Leaving the Field and Why Data Matters.” Leadership Matters blog, 18 September https://leadershipmatters1213.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/whos-leaving-the-field-and-why-data-matters/comment-page-1/#comment-828 (accessed 2 October 2017).

Burns, W. James & Hoffman, Sheila K. 2017. “Beyond Collection Work: The Evolving Role of Curators.” Museum 96 no. 3, pp. 13-15.

Erdman, Sarah et al. 2017. “Leaving the Museum Field” Alliance Labs blog (American Alliance of Museums, Washington, DC) 22 September https://www.aam-us.org/2017/09/22/leaving-the-museum-field/ (accessed 6 October 2020).

Milldrum, Claire. 2017. “Why I Left The Museum Field: A Guest Post By Claire Milldrum.” ExhbiTrix: A Museum Design Blog http://blog.orselli.net/2017/09/why-i-left-museum-field-guest-post-by.html (accessed 2 October 2017).

Mitchell, C. Michael & Murray, John C. 2017. The Changing Workplaces Review: An Agenda for Workplace Rights Final Report. Toronto: Ontario Ministry of Labour.

Thistle, Paul C. 2017. “Critical Museology Miscellanea ‘About’ UPDATE” posted on 11 October 2017 at https://miscellaneousmuseology.wordpress.com/ (accessed 16 October 2017).

Thistle, Paul C. 2014. “Museum Workers & Social Justice?” Solving Task Saturation for Museum Workers blog posted on 17 December 2014 at https://solvetasksaturation.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/museum-workers-social-justice/ (accessed 13 October 2017).