I love #MuseumSelfie day, and I don't care who knows it

#MuseumSelfie Day invites visitors, staff (even animals and objects themselves) to post selfies from museums around the world. 



Selfies have never been a universally appreciated medium, but this fauxliday in particular has become a polarizing force in the museum world. You either think selfies are a scourge or a fun expressive tool. 

While many conscientious selfie objectors do so on the basis of vanity*, I think this boils down to a general debate on meaning-making in museums. Cultural conservatives** would define experiences with art through the traditional lens of art history, while other voices argue that the interpretation of art should be more personal and subjective.   

There is inherent value to all points of view and backgrounds. Every person has the right to equal access to aesthetic encounters with art and to museums in a meaningful and independent way.
— Patricia Lannes, Director of CALTA 21

I'm a fully biased visitor experience advocate and not an art historian, but like the proverbial tree falling in an empty woods, I think art is given meaning by its reception. People encounter art and historical objects with a wide range of personal knowledge and associations. Exploring the artists' intentions, historical context, and technique, etc. provide layers to enrich an understanding of a piece, but if someone has a genuine emotional response to something that clashes with those facts, it does not make their response invalid. 

At the end of the day, selfies foster personal connections with museum collections and get people sharing their experience with social networks. And I'd say that's worth a few blurry duck-faces.  

Enjoy the twitter feed : )

*In which case, do you really think these people did this to look attractive?

** Conservative like "seeks to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity" not like this