The presentation followed Myseum’s inception from an idea to a full-fledged “museum without walls”. But for Karen Carter, bringing Myseum to life was not without its challenges. “This can’t be the typical thing,” says Carter in the presentation, “because I’ve been through the typical thing where you’re focussed on the building and the collection.”
Lacking the typical ingredients for a traditional museum, Myseum needed to think beyond the conventional. What if, instead of having enclosed exhibit space, the city itself was the exhibit? What if community groups could enshrine their own mythologies without relying on traditional historical narratives? For Carter, Toronto is the perfect testing ground for these hypotheses.
“There’s a rich ecosystem, there’s a lot of stuff in this city, and if we found a way to tap into all that stuff, we could create a museum in a different way.”
Myseum’s various programs exemplify this need for a “different way”. While Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world, the ways in which its various identities cross paths is rarely examined. By hosting events, exhibits, panels and workshops around the Greater Toronto Area, Myseum helps Torontonians see aspects of their past, present and future outside the downtown bubble and confront perspectives that are not their own.
“You are in a city,” Karen continued, “that forces you to deal with what otherness means.”
Founded in 2009, MuseumNext is a UK-based organization that hosts a series of annual conferences around the world. This year, conferences have also been held in Brisbane and upcoming events include conferences in Amsterdam and New York City.