To mark #MuseumWeek, which runs March 23 to 29, the UK newspaper The Guardian asked directors of British museums: “What should our museums look like in 2020?

We asked Honolulu Museum of Art director Stephan Jost to join in the conversation.
Here’s what he said:

At our most fundamental, the art museum is about bringing together great art and people. We do this because we have a deep conviction that people find inspiration from great works of art. We also know that the museum helps make Honolulu an even better place to live and visit. The museum in the future should be judged by the quality of our collections, by the strength of our eduction programs, and how accessible we are to the community.

We have been doing our mission for a long time—since 1927—and the results of our community engagement efforts continue to bear fruit. The number of members is way up, the level of support is strong, our eduction programs are at near capacity. In many ways these are all great things but they all point to a huge issue that we will face in 2020—capacity and quality. Can we keep engaging our visitors at the same high level when the number of people participating is increasing? Young people are joining the museum by the thousands—are we prepared to adapt our programs to ensure they continue to be engaged? Can we have meaningful impact on families if they cannot enroll their children in a class at the Art School because it filled up on the first day of registration? Can we have a robust contemporary program that reflects our rapidly changing world without more gallery space?

In many ways what we look like in 2020 is based on the choices we will make over the next year. If we are afraid of the future, it will be hard for us to adapt to the rapid changes that are already happening. If we play our cards right we will be a world-class museum that is firmly rooted in its island place and culture. I am deeply optimistic that we will be even more intertwined with our community and also serve as a beacon for guests who visit Honolulu from around the world in 2020.


What else are we doing for #‎MuseumWeek? We’re participating on Twitter, and we encourage all of you to join in!

There will be seven themes over seven days. Themes include ‪#‎architectureMW ‪#‎inpirationMW and ‪#‎poseMW. We kick things off today—Monday, March 23—with ‪#‎secretsMW, when we’ll pull back the curtain and show you what really goes on.