Note: This post is part of my “Museums Project“, a collection of 200+ high-concept ideas for museums.
I saw a blog post recently asking the question, “What would a museum for robots would look like?” It was asking bigger questions about the future of AI, but it got me thinking about how nearly all museums we have now were created for humans.
What about a museum for inanimate objects?
Like a book. Or a stop sign. Or a coffee mug.
If a coffee mug were to want to go to museum what would the museum offer the coffee cup? What does the coffee cup see and hear?
What would a book want to see in a museum? What kind of museum would it be? Humans have art museums, history museums, natural history museums, etc. What would an art museum for a book look like?
Could we teach or entertain or connect or create meaning for humans by inviting them to a museum we’ve designed for objects?
The proposal is not “a history museum that shows the world through the coffee cup’s eyes”. The proposal is more like “ok, y’all. A bunch of coffee cups are going to show up and want to see some stuff in this history museum.” These museums don’t care a bit about humans seeing through their eyes. The coffee cups come to the museum to learn history.
The tennis shoes come to the art museum to enjoy art.
The lawnmower comes to the natural history museum to learn about natural history.
Humans would be allowed to go to the museum, of course. But they are more like party-crashes than formal invitees. They are not playing the aprt of a coffee cup. They are humans (and as such they pay the higher ticket price). They are visiting the museum in the way that you might visit a small town’s history museum. Nothing inside of it is there because of you or for you, but you are allowed to visit.