Museums and Societal Collapse
The Museum as Lifeboat

Robert R. Janes

Published by Routledge, 2023
ISBN 9781003344070

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Who do you turn to at the brink of the apocalypse? What might help us to mitigate the financial, commercial, political, social, and cultural collapse for which we may be heading? 

Museums and Societal Collapse proposes an unlikely hero in this narrative. Robert Janes’ text explores the implications of societal collapse from a multidisciplinary perspective and considers the potential museums have to contribute to the reimagining and transitioning of a new society with the threat of collapse.

Arguing that societal collapse is underway, but that total collapse is not inevitable, Janes maintains that museums are well-positioned to mitigate and adapt to the disruptions of societal collapse. As institutions of the commons, belonging to and affecting the public at large, he contends that museums are both responsible and capable of contributing to the durability and well-being of individuals, families, and communities, and enhancing societal resilience in the face of critical issues confronting our species.

Robert R. Janes is an independent scholar whose work draws on his many year’s experience as a museum director. He is the editor emeritus of the Museum Management and Curatoriship journal, a visiting scholar at the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, and the founder of the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice. He is the author of multiple books on the social role of museums.