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This blog is an archive for my research, interviews with designers and museum staff, and travel experiences as I explore multilingual design practices in China and the US.

Fulbright research abroad at Tsinghua University will begin in March 2021.   

这个博客是关于我个人在旅行交流经验中用中英文做研究访问博物馆陈列设计师和员工的记录.

我将于2021年三月到清华大学开始我富布赖特的国外研究.



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OPINION: THE ROLE OF MUSEUMS ONLINE








May 30, 2020
Language: English
Source Citation:
1. Eric Gibson, Wall Street Journal
2.Kelly Crow, Wall Street Journal
3. the Whitney Museum 
4. Lance Epslund, Wall Street Journal
All around the country, museums are furiously posting content on Youtube, social media, and Facebook live. Archaeologists are giving living room lectures about their practice, curators are posting in depth essays about the pieces in their galleries that nudge readers to deeper consideration, and art educators are pulling together virtual scavenger hunts. People unable or unwilling to leave their home can browse the works at the Met or the Whitney from their laptops.


What can these developing practices tell us about visitor engagement to museums? With the caveat that a screen can not reproduce the deep feeling of smallness when standing in front of your favorite work of art, I believe that museums being forced to embrace digital tools is a great thing. For example, as a former museum tour guide, I believe that short, personal tours around contemporary art museums are endlessly enriching. All age groups benefit from having a guide in a confusing space like and ICA or MoMA. But many people do not have the time or knowledge to schedule a tour at a museum, even if it’s free. Well, the new digital tours are always free, available at any time they want, and sometimes given by a deeply invested curator or artist. Isn’t that what we mean when we say enriching?


The digital sphere is also breaking new ground in terms of museum accessibility. In a piece for the Wall St Journal Staying Inside Guide, collector J. Tomilson Hill mused “Museums can also create accessibility. At the Hirshhorn, Doug Aitken once put his video screens all the way around the building, and anyone could see it. I realize there are lots of regulations to navigate, but you could think of something similar, use the architecture as a platform, at a museum like the Guggenheim, so easily. No one would have to pay or go inside.” Suddenly, many barriers to experiencing art over and over again are gone, such as the paywall to get inside, a long commute for people in places with no art spaces, or the stress on English as Second Language visitors in not being able to take time to slowly read wall text or understand a tour guide. As some museums publish more object scans and open up databases, suddenly even a piece of the academic barrier falls away.


When museums open back up and this pandemic is behind us, I challenge all our cultural institutions to keep up with these digital experiments in order to attract new visitors and keep their doors open to a public that wants to see their work. I hope we never go back to “the way things were before,” but instead build on top of what we have already laid a foundation for: museums on multiple levels of interaction.