Museum Hack Day, an event that invited the community to participate in an important conversation about art, asked participants to jot down their ideas of the permanent art collection, “Art in Louisiana,” on a post-it note.
The event was sponsored by the LSU Museum of Art in downtown Baton Rouge. The event’s purpose was to gather feedback from the community in order to eventually create “a more cohesive narrative,” said museum curator Courtney Taylor.
“I think museums are places where people make meaning,” said Taylor. “It’s also where we can have hard conversations like race or gender. Everything that is confronting society is alluded to and within the walls of this museum.”
The museum’s permanent collection, which contains everything from ancient Chinese jade to a wooden passenger plane from the 1930’s, opened in March and was curated by five curators who are experts in their field.
Involving the community opens up many doors to the collection and offers insight into how it will continue to develop in the future.
The museum first opened in the 1960s at Memorial Tower, and the focus at the time was Anglo-American portraits. Over time, however, the focus shifted more toward Louisiana themed artwork.
“There are places we know we need to expand, but we want to hear from the community so it’s not just my voice coming through all the time,” Taylor said.
She said she hopes the collection will become more inclusive by diversifying objects in the museum and also by adding works by women and people of color. Additionally, the museum will be reformatting labels and lowering pedestals for accessibility purposes.
Throughout the day, people wrote anonymous ideas, suggestions, and comments on sticky notes. Posting it on the wall next to the artwork allows the museum to take each note into consideration.
Some suggestions asked for deeper descriptions of certain pieces. Others stated they’d prefer an enlarged font. Positive and negative comments allow the museum to understand what the community liked, didn’t like and what they would like to see in the future.
Admission is free for University students and faculty, otherwise, the cost is $5. Special events are hosted on occasion, and the price of admission increases in those cases. Guided tours can also be arranged through appointment.
While the museum has a permanent collection, they also offer temporary collections, which change on a three month basis. When the Water Rises: Paintings by Julie Heffernan will be on view beginning in March.