The essay, written in the form of a note to Linett's yet-to-be-named successor as the journal's books editor, asks why the museum-related titles that were published during that period were often inward-looking and uninspiring. It was written to mark two occasions: first, Linett's promotion to Associate Editor—Theory & Practice, a new position at the journal; and second, Curator's new publishing relationship with Wiley-Blackwell, one of the largest academic journal publishers in the world.
The current issue of Curator (January 2010, Volume 53 issue 1) is the first published by Wiley-Blackwell, and also features wide-lens thought-pieces by the other review editors, Tom Hennes on exhibitions and Nancy Proctor on museums' use of digital media.
Linett recalls that the journal's editor, Zahava Doering (a senior social scientist at the Smithsonian Institution), invited all three review editors to take the opportunity of the first Wiley-Blackwell issue to reflect broadly on the state of their respective areas. "I had been feeling for years that the museum literature that came across my desk was lacking something, some intellectual spark and breadth. So this was an opportunity to try to put my finger on the problem," he says.
The essay, "A Note to My Successor—Some Thoughts on the Problems and Possibilities of Museum Books," is available online at the Wiley Blackwell site for those with individual or institutional subscriptions or university access.
You are also invited to join the conversation about this and other articles at the journal's community website, www.curatorjournal.org.