The recent years have shown nothing but some of the lowest points of humanity. There’s just so many negatives going on from poverty, divisive narratives, injustice, inequality, radicalism, famine, human rights violation and war that are thriving in various countries across the world, there is also suffering in the earth’s natural world mainly due to how increasingly careless humans have become.
While we do have certain tools we can utilize to help affect change in the process, it all starts with adapting the right world view. In this case, one that will value the overall well-being of not just a few but of the entire planet as a whole— encompassing both humanity and the rest of the planet’s natural world. That particular worldview requires empathy.
Empathy is that ability that lets us share ad perceive thoughts and feelings of other people. It’s crucial in letting us help build connections even with other people who can be perceived as different— and museums seem to be the perfect venue to help promote that. Here’s why:
Museums awaken multiple perspectives and different realities.
Museums are mostly focus on an educational and social mission. They are ideal for providing a safe setting where knowledge, values, complex histories, and collective behavior. Museums make it possible for people to be put in close proximity to different peoples’ experiences, different cultural artifacts, and their own unique stories. These experiences are relevant in awakening a sense of knowing that there are multiple perspectives and different realities that are existent around.
Multi-faceted and personal encounters with other cultures along with their stories, ideas, and artifacts are ideal for creating opportunities where authentic dialogue can flourish. This makes people more understanding, more tolerable, and more accepting of the differences that others possess and represent. This is where it helps people build their empathic ability.
Museums tell stories.
The human brain is wired to better retain information as well as make meaning when something is relayed via a story format. Back in the day when writing wasn’t in existence yet, ancestors used stories to pass on important wisdom and knowledge to their younger generations. They did the same to ensure that communities are successfully bonded together.
Museums are great venues for telling the stories of places and people from other places, times, and experiences. This encourage empathy-building as it helps promote encompassing compassion and understanding. When stories are told using a different culture or view, it helps build, promote, and enhance our shared humanity.
Museums create learning opportunities.
Part of increasing empathy is also creating experiences that allow us to engage in a variety of ways. Museums are helpful towards letting us be more empathic through the interactive exhibits they display that then encourages beyond intellectual understanding. It is always easier to learn when the senses are engaged and museums can provide some dos exactly that.
Museums promote wonder and awe.
If you aim to change entrenched or habitual perspectives, the best way to do it is to go beyond information. Introducing a paradigm shift can lead to deeper learning and transformative life experiences. A person’s sense of awe has always been tied towards this feeling of being one with others and through altruism. It is the way museums foster awe that can help bring out people’s compassion and empathy.
Museums are great setting for contemplation.
Contemplation is encouraged in museums. It’s a great place for those people who just want to slow things down, even for just a few hours, while they ponder what’s ahead. Museums allow visitors to explore in their own pc and in their own preference. As a result, people get to be more reflective and contemplative which could lead to a better understanding and deeper grasp of the varying viewpoints that others have while also noting their connection not only to humanity but also to the rest of the planet.