72. 'Speechless: Different by Design' Reframes Accessibility and Communication in a Museum Context

Welcome to Museum Archipelago in Your Inbox, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Museum Archipelago, your podcast guide to the rocky landscape of museums, is hosted by me, Ian Elsner.

Museums tend to be verbal spaces: there’s usually a lot of words. Galleries open with walls of text, visitors are presented with rules of do and don'ts, and audio guides lead headphone-ed users from one piece to the next, paragraph by paragraph.

But Speechless: Different by Design, a new exhibit at the Dallas Art Museum and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, guides visitors as far away as possible from words with six custom art installations.

In this episode, curator Sarah Schleuning and graphic designer Laurie Haycock Makela discuss how their personal experiences lead them to Speechless, and describe the process and considerations of putting it all together.

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Read the Plaque

The latest episode brings up a topic from the early days of Museum Archipelago: the museum selfie. Take a trip back to 2016 when Dustin Growick joined the show to discuss how he treats museums as a platform to build something more personal and fun.

And one of the tools he uses to make museums more personal and fun is the museum selfie. The theory is that taking selfies is easy way to put yourself literally and figuratively in the context of the museum.

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Announcing Archipelago at the Movies 🎟️!

Grab your popcorn 'cause Museum Archipelago is going to the movies! Archipelago at the Movies 🎟️ is a new bonus series where we dive deep into movies about museums, and try to understand out what they say about the wider museum landscape.

The first episode featuring 2006's Night at the Museum is already out for Club Archipelago subscribers (listen to the trailer here). For the second episode, I’m joined by my talented colleague Rebecca Reibstein to deconstruct 2004’s National Treasure.

The movie is absolutely nuts, and we dive into museum security protocols, badly-timed tour groups, and the very good scene where Nicolas Cage gets caught stealing from the gift shop at the National Archives. Watch for the release of the episode later this week!

🎟️ Get Access To Club Archipelago