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Relevance Revisited

Emlyn Koster, Ph.D., explores difficult topics of our time from his vantage point as a geoscientist, museologist, and humanist through a series of op-ed style blog posts, imploring museums to be leaders in addressing these issues.

With enthusiastic support from Robert Mac West, editor and publisher of the Informal Learning Review (ILR), RK&A is pleased to share Emlyn Koster’s recent opinion, ‘Relevance’ of Museums: From Rhetoric to Reality? which was part of ILR’s pandemic-themed September/October 2021 issue.  Emlyn’s original article is reproduced in full below. It is followed by his additional...
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By: Emlyn Koster With climate change and extreme weather frequently in the news and in light of the upcoming UN COP26 Conference, Emlyn taps his geological insights to point out what is often missing from society’s knowledge and which therefore warrants the museum sector’s urgent attention. Prehistoric Climate Changes Growing up in the UK where...
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By: Emlyn Koster Emlyn recalls how Liberty Science Center, located across the lower Hudson from Manhattan and where he was President & CEO from 1996-2011, assisted the next-of-kin and surrounding community in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on and after September 11, 2001. Every year it seems, the museum...
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By: Emlyn Koster An Earth scientist with 32 years at the helm of four large nature and science museums and with publications and presentations continuing to delve into what leadership of external relevance entails, Emlyn reflects on the potentially greater value of museums in a world beset by crises. The period since early 2019 has...
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By: Emlyn Koster Spurred by the art-dominated sections on Museums in The New York Times, Emlyn reflects on this sector’s pressing need for a balanced profile between people/society and non-human life/nature. Eminence of Art Museums Titled ‘Reinventing the Future,’ the May 23, 2021 Museums section of The New York Times reveals its bias with this...
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Combining experiences at the helm of nature and science museums with insights from literature and courses on leadership, Emlyn Koster reflects on the corporate roots of this trend and its application to the museum sector. An unfortunate paradox surrounds the subject of organizational structure. On the one hand, it is the primary tool for configuring...
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Whether or not public programs are again canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Earth Day each April 22 warrants the engagement of the museum sector. Emlyn Koster explains why. “Earth Day 1970 gave a voice to an emerging public consciousness about the state of our planet — In the decades leading up to the first...
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The next time our senses are filled with an orchestral experience, Emlyn Koster suggests we take away some contemplative lessons for the needs of museums.  A lecture titled ‘The Two Solitudes’ by novelist and chemist C.P. Snow at the University of Cambridge in 1959 became famous. It voiced alarm that the sciences and humanities had...
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Emlyn Koster urges the museum sector to combine operational recovery efforts with strategic pathways towards a more holistic societal and environmental future.  “The very subject of our discussion shows the painful anxiety and uncertainty with which we search for our proper function in the national struggle for a better future.” What sounds like a synopsis...
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Emlyn Koster, PhD, delves into why museums should illuminate the environmental and societal impacts of climate change. The Earth’s wafer-thin atmosphere, looking like a blue halo, is life’s protective envelope. Image credit An undergraduate geologist in the UK in 1969, I was glued to the live transmission from NASA’s astronauts on the Moon with their...
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