Got an hour and 40 minutes?
Then you can watch the video, below, of our entire panel discussion earlier this month at Rutgers University—Hide/Seek: Museums, Ethics and the Press—which may prove to have been more deeply informative, more freewheeling and certainly more relaxed than the Smithsonian’s “Hide/Seek” marathon will be next week, when panels consisting largely of Smithsonian personnel will be speaking under the eyes of their institution’s top brass. Our outspoken five-person panel (plus our deeply informed moderator) pondered the fine points, not just the “Flashpoints” (as the upcoming Washington conclave is titled).
The auditorium on the Newark, NJ, campus of Rutgers was a haven for making both large statements and subtle distinctions, while puzzling through the ethical and practical quandaries posed by the controversial Smithsonian show and gleaning the lessons to be learned from it. It was a place for thought, rather than a platform for polemics or posturing.
I’m very grateful to Sally Yerkovich, project director for the Institute of Museum Ethics (IME), Seton Hall University, for bringing together this insightful group and for inviting me to join in. (You’ll see Sally introducing us at the beginning of the video.) At a time when fractious politics and serious financial constraints are putting a greater strain then ever on the tenets of museum ethics, the IME is an idea whose time has come.
Seated from left to right, below, you will see and hear: Moderator Daniel Okrent, author, journalist, former chairman of National Portrait Gallery’s board; Martin Sullivan, director, National Portrait Gallery; W. King Mott, associate professor of political science (specializing in queer theory), Seton Hall University; Lee Rosenbaum (who needs no introduction to CultureGrrl readers); Abe Zakhem, associate professor of philosophy, Seton Hall; Father Gregory Waldrop, SJ, assistant professor of art history, Fordham University.
I’ve already excerpted some of Sullivan’s comments, here. Now sit back and enjoy the unexpurgated version: