What’s the Point???

Having attended the 2015 Alberta Museum Association
Conference of late, I was inspired to the point that I had existential
questions concerning the purpose of my job…what really do I do for a living? It
dawned on me that I may not contribute as much to the world, or society as a
whole, as my infantile mind once hoped I would! Not that I had planned on
sporting a cape at night or solving world hunger, but it is often that museum
workers generally have to evaluate their role in their communities.

Some of our exercises and workshops addressed our internal
and external code of ethics in which museum workers abide. This raised issues
of responsibility, public trust and, yet again, purpose. I suppose all of us
have this crisis at some time or another; however it seems to be a museum
worker’s prerogative to question their relevancy. Academically we are taught
that museums are custodians of artifacts and organizations of anamnesis, in
other words, we collect old stuff and keep it safe. This is not our solitary
function. We are in fact entertainers, educators, marketers, artisans,
designers, writers, sales workers, candlestick makers and, when necessary,
misers!  When it is all said and done, who really cares???? Well it is simple, we do!

A museum has to perpetually reinvent itself to mirror the
needs, lives and opinions of not only the past but also its contemporary
communities. The solution is then to find current topics that spark intrigue. This
is indeed a precarious venture. With so many viewpoints, how does one maneuver
the minefield, figuratively speaking? Some might say ‘don’t jump’ while others
say ‘dive-in head first’, either way, you risk offending someone. From my
experience, it is better to reveal your warts than to let them fester and
ultimately it is our responsibility to expose truths no matter the topic of

So I pose the question to you, what in Wetaskiwin merits a museum’s
attention? Is there something that is habitually neglected due to its
controversial nature that unites the fabric of our community?

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