Since I had a free day in Manchester before starting the main bit of my vacation, I decided to wander around town a bit. I made it down to the Manchester City Galleries, which is their art museum, and spent a few hours wandering around. The museum itself is a combination of an older building, with mainly older paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries along with a newer building housing modern and interactive works.
One thing that really struck me about the museum was the way that they encourage the visitors to interact with the museum and look at some of the broader themes. Hence this post being another in my "2.0" series. There were interactive exhibits where you could control a timeline and see artistic styles evolving over the decades. There was another interactive exhibit that explored gender and art. Others that allowed you to create your own art from found objects. And unlike most other museums, at these ones, the interactive exhibits were the most popular for both kids and adults.
Another interesting participatory part of the museum was a commenting system for several exhibits which forced viewers to think critically about pieces of work from the past, from propaganda posters to portrayals of minorities and working people. Visitors could pin a note card up next to the art for others to see. The notes get culled periodically by the staff, and the "best" ones are placed under protective glass. I just loved this way to bring the community of museum-goers into the experience of visiting the museum and seeing the art.
Are other museums doing this sort of thing? I hope so!