I am a hyper-curious person, and curiosity is an important value in my life … as well as an important impact of museums.
But curiosity isn't limited to museums, and can be hard to sustain through adulthood. By sharing some of my curious paths through reading, I'm hoping to reinforce how important wide-ranging curiosity is to our practice and spark new conversations that may seem unrelated to museums, but deeply matter to how we do our work. After all, as museums we cover a variety of topics. Our curiosity should also be as omnivorous!
To that end, from time to time I'll share some of my wide-ranging reads, mostly non-fiction, and hope to hear recommendations from you.
King Sequoia: The Tree That Inspired a Nation, Created Our National Park System, and Changed the Way We Think About Nature, by William C. Tweed.
While the title is a bit over the top, this was a quick and interesting read about how one type of tree has figured in our cultural history and ecological thinking. After all, majestic is an understatement when it comes to this tree. Depressing fact: way too many Sequoias were felled by timber companies, and when they fall, they shatter … making much of their wood largely useless for much besides things like grapevine stakes. Also, Sequoia the tree has nothing to do with Sequoyah the Cherokee.
The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh, by Kathryn Aalto.
If you love Pooh (or, in my case, Eeyore), grounding the antics of Piglet and company in the physical landscape and natural environment of the very-much-real Ashdown Forest brings even more meaning to the stories. I loved this book and how it juxtaposes the stories with the actual place.
On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes, by Alexandra Horowitz.
My friend Rainey Tisdale uses this book in her work, and so I picked it up at her recommendation. The author takes eleven walks with experts in various disciplines, and then explores how much we miss (and how complex our environment is). From geology to bugs to dogs, it is a fascinating read that is relevant to anyone creating environments for people to experience ... or for those who are simply curious.
I respectfully acknowledge that I live and work on the traditional lands of the Duwamish people. I thank them for the care of this land, and I endeavor to help museums bring forward a more complete and inclusive history and culture in their work.