When I heard the Women's Museum was closing, I felt a deep sense of...culpability. It was one of those places I always intended to go.
I went when it opened, and possibly once more (or possibly not), but never again. Even when it had an exhibit of Annie Leibovitz photos, or one about women and their purses. Both of those sounded great and I had every intention seeing them. And I didn't.
In her column about the closing, Jacquielynn Floyd compared the museum to organic bran cereal: "...always just a little more bland and dry than what you're in the mood for."
To me, it was kind of like getting a big package in the mail and opening it up to find mostly packing material. So much splendor, not much fun. The museum seemed high-minded, kind of bloodless, and very Dallas: flashy, and money-scented. A McMuseum. Now it's closing.
Or rather, as the press release puts it: "... it is beginning a new phase in its mission to promote women and girls, focusing on the Institute for the Future division of the organization."
In other words, it's not going away, but it is closing its doors in Fair Park. And it's turning to us to help figure out what to do next to continue its mission.
Or rather, as the release continues: "The Museum will begin a process called Imagine the Possibilities, seeking community input to guide its future plans. The goal is to continue providing insightful and needed experiences for women and girls that complement, not duplicate, activities of other women's organizations.."
OK. I spent some time imagining possibilities. Here are my suggestions: If you want a museum, start small: Texas women are friggin' awesome. Focus on Texas women and you might even be able to collect some nifty artifacts instead of posting a textbook of women's history on the gallery walls.
Lighten up: "An Institute for the Future" is highfalutin' gobbledygook and makes you sound like not much fun. And many of the museum's programs sound ponderous. (Hint: Anything with the word "enrichment" in it sounds dull. Even if it isn't.)
Get out of the office: Instead of making everyone come to you, create programs that you can take to outdoor festivals and other events.
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Find a voice: Why do I never hear anyone from the Women's Museum speaking out in the media about women's issues? There's plenty to talk about but few people talking.
Encourage other voices: Women are kicking ass all over town. Get involved with local feminists to get them involved with you. Especially young 'uns.
Those are my thoughts. Readers?