Timothy J. McNeil – research / practice


Free the Museum

As social injustices unfolded before our eyes, an assault on fact-based reality disrupted our common understanding of truth, and the health of our planet continued to worsen, museums had a vital role to play. Free the Museum was launched in response to museums being shuttered under pressures of a global pandemic and weaknesses stemming from their reliance on “the building” as a primary seat of operation isolating them from the world they represented, and ultimately from the communities they served. This initiative figured out what museum colleagues really needed, how to best equip them for doing their work in public space, how to be more connected to their communities, how to be nimble, work faster, and with less cost.

Co-curator and instigator (20%) working with Tricia Austin, Michael Burns (Omnimuseum), Andrea Jones, Betsy Loring, and Emma Thorne-Christy. Completed 2020.

Tricia Austin; Michael Burns; Andrea Jones; Betsy Loring; Tim McNeil; Emma Thorne-Christy. Going Rogue for Good: Free the Museum, in Exhibition: A Journal of Exhibition Theory & Practice for Museum Professionals, vol. 40, no. 2, Fall 2021, pages 20–29.

California Association of Museums. November 5, 2020. “ReMuseum 2020: Activate the Outdoors.” Presentation by Tim McNeil and Emma Thorne-Christy.

New York Times. January 9, 2021. Got a Box? Make a Museum. Free the Museum movement cited.

Cooper Hewitt Interaction Lab. August 2021. Tools and Approaches for Transforming Museum Experience. Free the Museum cited in the toolkit.