Open Forum

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  • 1.  Open Forum

    Posted 05-08-2022 06:53 PM




    I am curious to learn of reactions across our sector to the seasonal 'Museums' sections of The New York Times.


    A blog post commented on the 30-page May 23, 2021 'Museums' section. Analysis of the 40-page May 1, 2022 'Museums' section reiterates concern about an imbalance between its title and content. This issue is also overwhelmingly occupied by art museum articles and ads. In fact, its only contents not about art, architecture or photography in an art museum context are a full-page ad for the renovated Northwest Coast Hall at the American Museum of Natural History on page 7 and a half-page story on page 14 (incorrectly announced on the Section's cover page to be on page 2) about this institution's new show on insects which opens next month.


    In many quarters, the arts and culture are regarded as equivalent despite early and ongoing efforts to also elevate science into the realm of mainstream culture. Indeed, it remains common to encounter publications and news stories – including in AAM's own Museums magazine – with titles implying broad coverage of the museum sector but which are mostly or only about art museums. Surely the masthead slogan on every edition of The New York Times ― "All the News That's Fit to Print" ― should include a commitment to impartiality about the entire museum sector!


    Emlyn Koster

    Former CEO of four nature and science museums

    Emlyn Koster, PhDAAM Member

    geologist | museologist | humanist 

    Raleigh, NC, US

    Cell 201-286-3939

  • 2.  RE: Open Forum

    Posted 05-09-2022 06:53 AM
    Hi, Emlyn! The NYT--and lots of other papers--demonstrate an egregious bias toward "art" as distinct from history, science, anthropology, and other equally worthy subjects, not just in this seasonal issue, but regularly throughout the year. It is especially notable in the page 2 article of the "Museums" section, titled "Rethinking the Past" in which not a single history museum is mentioned. In fact, the Times doesn't even give decent coverage to art museums, limiting itself to very large art institutions and neglecting the much larger number of smaller art museums!

    Avi Decter (