The Museum of London has put a square metre of exhibition space on Ebay. The highest bidder (currently at £601) will get the opportunity to put their own exhibit on display until the end of February. Innovative way of democratising the museum, or money-making exercise reigniting that perennial concern of some at the steady commercialisation of museums? This puts me in mind of reading (all those aeons ago when I was a masters student) about disquiet in some quarters at the V&A's decision to allow the BBC to film Antiques Roadshow at the museum .
But the museums profession appears to have steadily relaxed about this formerly tricky issue. I haven't seen it, but what do people think about the new Channel 4 programme Codex set in the British Museum? Are attitudes starting to change about the role of museums and the commercial potential of their buildings? Do these things encourage more and new people to visit? Do they remind society of the value of museums? I note on the Museum of London website that you can now buy a year in history. What's going on?!!
Personally I feel that if the auction raises the profile of the museum inspiring more people to visit, fostering a greater sense of ownership and shared experience within its target audience, as well as raising a bit of extra cash, then all well and good. But I'm sure all you lot out there have probably got some quite different views!
The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.