The Museum

The River Cube Project is exploring innovations at the gap between what is and what could be a museum. The Project is designed and positioned to be a center of gravity, a magnetic and organizing force, that pulls and attracts the information, artifacts, and people necessary to create the Project’s collection and then explore and experiment with the idea of “building” a museum that is fit for purpose, whatever purpose.

The content of the collection is dependent upon and produced by the people who come into contact with the museum, helping to explore, navigate, and influence. The relationships between those people and the content they contribute to the collection will provide the information for making determinations about what is “in” and “out” of the “walls” of the museum. Hence, The River Cube museum is designed and curated in part by the people for whom the museum is “built” – updating and shaping itself in the continual present moment.

In this way, the museum, which historically, at times, has been remote and separate, will be accessible and relevant because it is adaptively generated by content it references and organized according to the values of those who created it.

The Collection

The Project’s collection will include:

  • Systematic monitoring of water, soil and air quality; hydrology; noise; climate and weather; fish, invertebrate, mammal, and bird species
  • Photography, film, drawings and sculpture
  • Conversation, stories and memories shared along the Neuse
  • Recordings of the audible space, e.g. sounds of life on the river
  • Collections of physical objects, nature- and human-made, representing the diversity of the Neuse systems
  • Assessments of system complexity and of personal ability to navigate complexity
  • Interviews with residents, other community members (e.g. non-profits, corporations, academic institutions) and experts in the fields of limnology, geology, ecology, history, art and sociology
  • Existing research on the geological, anthropological, and natural history of the Neuse
  • GIS maps offering visualizations of Neuse related information

The Methodology

Throughout the project, we will be developing and testing a methodology for the design of fit-for-purpose museums. The methodology will facilitate the curation of the Project’s large and diverse collection and will be participatory, replicable and transparent.

It will be based on proven tools and methods from fields of evaluation, complexity, systems thinking and other fields of research and practice that will be useful in integrating objective, subjective, normative  and complex truths into the establishment of museum boundaries and judgments as to what items from the collection are “in” or “out”.