ICOM General Conference & CIMCIM Conference 2016: Milan and Cremona, 3 – 9 July 2016
Musical Instrument Museums: Interpreting the Present
Because of their history, the majority of musical instrument collections focus their activities and displays on the past. This is accomplished through historic objects that, according to ICOM’s definition of a museum, are acquired, conserved, researched, communicated, and exhibied in the service of society and its development. However, museums can and should exert a key role in promoting, representing, stimulating, and interpreting the present. This can take place in a number of ways, including supporting and working with instrument makers, individuating and proposing models for development, collaborating in the dissemination and understanding of contemporaneity to the wider public, influencing public perception of instrument museums and collections, and creating and sponsoring artistic productions in their many facets.
Several possibilities for movement in this direction could be drawn from art, design, and technology museums, where public impact, visibility, and economic success of temporary and permanent exhibitions related to our time have demonstrated the potential of this approach, both for the institutions and their users. This raises questions regarding how our field is reacting to this responsibility, and how musical instrument collections can develop a stronger role in support of contemporary music, musical instrument making, and modern musical culture in general. In which areas could our role become a powerful engine of innovation and communication, thereby increasing impact beyond the education of the public about music of the past? How can instrument museums promote innovation, not only within themselves, but particularly in the wider cultural landscape?
The conference aims to bring together different experiences, proposals, and approaches, both from museum professionals and from the widest perspective of all stakeholders, including users in general, musicians, and instrument makers.
Further details of the ICOM General Conference can be found here.