Friday, August 01, 2008

What museums should be doing

On a recent visit to the National Gallery of Art, I had the good fortune of visiting a traveling exhibition called Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul. The exhibition was beautiful, informative, and surprising. Because of Afghanistan's key position along the Silk Route, traders from all over the world passed through this country and bought, sold, or left behind incredible objects - I saw jewelry, coins, earthenware, and other items from China, Egypt, India, and more.

It struck me that this is exactly what museums, and other organizations in the not-for-profit world, should be doing - helping us understand each other. Here's an exhibition about a country that I (like a lot of Americans) knew so little about, and yet our soldiers are fighting a brutal war there, with no end in sight.

The exhibition is at the National Gallery through September 7th - if you are in DC, I encourage you to check it out. And while you are there, visit the National Gallery's many other treasures... it's FREE! Unbelievable! You can grab lunch in the museum's cafe - why not spend some money that ultimately will benefit the museum?

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