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  • Tomislav Šola

We Want To Be Loved

It is the Latin proverb. The mission of museums is common good, but rather often we hear that people would not care for what is offered to them. Goethe said (1821) that we only learn from those whom we love. The Latin saying claims simply that love is not self-understood attitude but a sentiment acquired through giving love. Love has to be demonstrated as devotion and readiness to persist in spite of discouragement. It is not about sacrifice but just doing what is right and honest. In case of institutions about responsibility and understanding of one’s own mission and the users’ needs (not wants!). This is why the definition of museums is not the question of formality nor of mere theorizing. If defined as public institution serving the needs of the community, any heritage institution instantly becomes obliged to devoted service. (On the contrary, if defined as scientific in its character, it is obliged only to the scientific community and its derived objectives). Museums, to take the example of the most exposed among PMIs (public memory institutions), rarely see themselves as operating outside of the comfort zone of officially acceptable, expected and approved professional behaviour: the one that the centres of societal power regard with a benevolent eye and readily financially support. Outside that zone are all the risks and true benefits. The common good is rarely identifiable with the aims of the power holders.

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