Hello, greetings, and salutations. I hope that everyone is celebrating Valentines with a loved one, a friend, a cuddly pet, or a half decent bottle of wine.
Love, is a universal feeling, and a complex action. There are many ways ‘to love’. There are many different kinds of love, like the love of a mother or the love of a spouse. Love defies all logic. Love is both fleeting and eternal at the same time. Science has not been able to calculate love, and I hope they never will be able to do so.
Our society, here in the Western world where I write from has been changing how we recognize love. Gay marriage is now legal in the United States. Love is no longer exclusively defined as a man and a woman, with their 2.4 children (and it only was defined as this in more recent histories). Does this new federal law in any way validate this love? I do not think so, because it was always valid. As risk of sounding cliché, John Lennon wrote a short song titled Love. This song did not define conditions or restrictions on love.
And what does this have to do with museums, you may ask?
Museums have a responsibility to present this history of people, regardless of what kind of family makeup they have, or what gender they identify with. These changes and societal shifts have a direct impact on museums and their programs.
I have seen many Twitter chats about the issue of how museums are going to ensue that all kinds of love, inside and outside of the LGBT community are included in their displays and interpretations. Museum Hour back in January had a chat session sharing ideas of how to include these communities. There is an old adage in many public service institutions that goes as follows, “You can’t make everyone happy. There are always going to be those few people who kick up a fuss no matter what.” This is more than slightly true. Ideas attributed to this phrase escalate quickly. They snowball into, “Well this is just too complicated and controversial, so lets just leave it out of the interpretation entirely to avoid the issue.”
I was delighted to see in this chat amongst museum workers that they want to include and have all kinds of love represented in their exhibitions. As some pointed out, museums may be in a good position to untangle and present the history of love in all of its different shapes and colors. These kinds of love have been reflected in art and history through time. Some of the most awe inspiring historical events were derived from feelings of love.
This issue is important as any other human right to learn about and take ownership of the past. This is what is happening now, and this is what is going to escalate in the future. Love is real, and real is love.
Peace and long life.