In this article, Museums and Freedom of Thought, I will relate ideas such as formal and non-formal education, the transmission of knowledge and freedom of thought, as essential elements for personal growth and the evolution towards freer societies.
Every museum has a script, a discourse, through which it transmits knowledge to the public that visits it.
It also complements the contents that make up formal education, coordinating with educational institutions when structuring this complementarity.
But there is another mission which is the responsibility of museums, much more open and extensive, aimed at society in the broadest sense. It is to achieve through culture a society of free-thinking citizens.
We are talking about people whose culture allows them to develop a critical spirit and who therefore feel less manipulable and more free.
A museum can be approached by the individual without any kind of academic goal, nor with the aim of obtaining a job or a degree, simply by stimulating their curiosity. It is about pursuing the thirst for knowledge, for pure pleasure, as a form of personal growth.
Books, traveling, museum, broaden our horizons
Books, travelling, museums, broaden our horizons and make us more tolerant of other cultures and other ways of thinking. It is about understanding the other, about accepting what is different as an enriching exercise.
The more educated a society is, the less manipulable it is. It will be a community of people to be convinced, not imposed.
Museums should contribute to the creation of free citizens through the dissemination of culture.
And it is the museum institution itself that should lead by example, avoiding transmitting dogmas, but rather showing the process followed to reach its conclusions, encouraging the visitor to reflect and decide whether or not he or she agrees with what is proposed by the museum.
We must analyze the information we receive and evaluate critically
The education of citizens exclusively with a view to integration into the world of work, although very important, is not enough. It does not help us to analyze the information we receive and evaluate it critically and decide accordingly.
An information society can be highly manipulable, if it is not challenged by personal knowledge, based on a certain cultural level. In fact, the web is often polluted with fake news generated with the clear intention of manipulating public opinion.
For all these reasons, it is more necessary than ever to provide citizens with the tools to defend themselves against a context that has very sophisticated tools to achieve objectives that are detrimental to the individual.
This is where museums can play a role in facilitating freedom of thought, helping citizens to think and reflect for themselves.
To educate people is to create a society of freer beings.
f you want to know what to expect from museums in the next decade, I invite you to read the following article: Museums of the next decade 2020-2030.
You can find more information on the museum script, here.