I finally sat down to watch the much talked about short, "Spark," that was highlighted at AAM last week. I did love it, as the film spoke very directly to what I love about museums: the exalting, cathedral-like spaces; the sense of wonder, awe and curiosity that they inspire. But what I found very interesting about the film was that there was a marked disconnect between the message of the film and all the discussions happening at the conference--formally and informally--about the future of museums.
No one makes any mention whatsoever about how museums engage audiences outside of the museum walls. And considering many museum professionals believe that in the future, museums will have no walls (for example, this noted western museum professional), I wonder how effective this film could really be as a marketing piece for persuading people that museums do indeed matter as the tag line at the end suggests. Is it, in effect, preaching to the choir?
I absolutely agree with the film that museums are places to have enriching experiences, but I strongly feel that by only focusing on the experiences obtained within the walls of the museums, the filmmakers were really only looking at part of the picture.
Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe all the museum futurists out there who are predicting and working towards greater social media engagement are wrong. Maybe when all is said and done, museums are about physical spaces and the experiences contained within those walls. Heck, I've already sort of expressed that sentiment myself here on this blog.
Regardless, check out the film on YouTube or embedded below. It is copyright the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and produced in association with the American Association of Museums.