Within the United States and in much global geography, the role of museums has been shifting in recent decades from being repositories of a seemingly-distant past to being more lively celebrations of the past while linking that past to the present and future. Audiences are shifting from being the elite few to curious learners of all ages. With increasing competition for how potential visitors can spend leisure time, museums are faced with new challenges that require creative, thoughtful, and deliberate response.
While museums are addressing these changes, the curator has remained a critical force for advancing understanding. In this in-depth professional development workshop the participants examined the full spectrum of curatorial responsibilities to serve the public, the museum, and the curatorial profession. Explored through readings, presentations, active discussions, in-session activities, and culminating in individual presentations, the workshop addressed a variety of topics that curators and cultural professionals who work in museums or cultural agencies that make exhibitions or displays should be thinking about in their everyday work. The sessions highlighted the pressures that curators face in adapting to new audiences and a global context. The participants also learnt concepts and used real-life examples to elucidate strategies and techniques for facing these new challenges.