Why GLAM invention is not only late but also insuficient
Updated: Feb 3
It is a century long story how the „professionals” concerned with museums and different other memory institutions failed to see that they are institutionalized parts of the same effort of society. Had it not been so, we would have had an organized public memory sector, - just like any societal/social service. It would have been served by the appropriate profession, like so many other public sectors are. That would, consequently, mean that the societies would have had a chance for a more coherent and harmonious development. (As it is known, we have, instead, the dismembered army of occupations that care separately for different aspects of public memory).
Now, the invention of GLAM seems to treat the problem well enough. In fact, it just shows that practice is able to invent solutions when theory is too slow. The dominant Anglo-Saxon world has always been uneasy about big theories when about museums and tended to overestimate practice. It was rightfully frightened by the Eastern-European pressure to proclaim theorising on museums a science by its own right. Not many have said, but that unique try of creating a science, - centred upon a sole institution (which is an outward nonsense) rightfully caused much reticence. So we entered 21 century with a profession less and societal memory at mercy of the politicians, corporations and predatory industries.
GLAM is a good sign, but it actually has to be PMI: public memory institutions, - all of them, in all variety, when and if they qualify for the status. What were the reasons that it never happened and what should be done that it finally happens, - all that is explained in a recent book “Mnemosophy…”.
The new profession of public memory is an urgency if we want to survive as decent, accountable society.
The book has had little consequence as expected, but, happily enough, it caught interest of the Russian colleagues and has been recently translated and published by Rostov Kremlin Museum Reserve and ICOM Russia.
The original book can be downloaded here; it has been published as part of The Best in Heritage conference offer in Dubrovnik (www.thebestinheritage.com), printed in 200 numbered and signed copies, each containing an autographed note by the author.
(Being wayward and with limited resources I persist writing in clumsy Globish)