Curator’s Advent. Day 11. Research enquiry

Lamp-post by N. Holman, Makers, Penzance (Market Jew Street, Penzance)

Lamp-post by N. Holman, Makers, Penzance (Market Jew Street, Penzance)

The research enquiry is a most basic way for a museum to share the knowledge and stories contained in its collections–and often that about its surroundings too. A publicly-minded museum curator will relish the opportunity to share openly and widely with researchers of all motivations and from all walks of life. Answering enquiries is a direct and intimate activity between a museum and member of the public whether they are academic professors, students, TV production companies, family historians or just plain curious. Curators, where museums still keep them, have a special responsibility to dispense the ultimate purpose of a museum working for public benefit by generating and disseminating accurate and honest information. In turn, the museum may receive new knowledge from the enquirer which can be recorded and reshared to expand or challenge its understanding of its collections and the communities, and communities of interest, that it exists to support.

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