On my bookshelf

The Art of Relevance, by Nina Simon
Kathleen Boal
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I recently had a Twitter conversation about the value of museum theory. It helps me with decision making, and can open up exciting avenues of thought.

That said, museum theory can also be off-putting. Some authors on the subject are hard to read and others seem removed from real-life museum work. Even finding a place to start can be overwhelming. This book is not like that. The Art of Relevance is a refreshing look at how we engage with communities. Nina Simon has a straightforward and easy-to-read style that is, in places, brutally honest. Her book is full of challenges; at times she makes us uncomfortable, asking why we are doing things and who they are really for.

She takes examples from across the culture sector and blends them into case studies that are applicable to national institutions and small independent museums alike. This is a book of hope, optimism and, above all, relevance.

Kathleen Boal is the interim property manager at Culloden Battlefield for the National Trust for Scotland

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