Monday, November 22, 2010

Museums and the Future of Health

A few forecasts about the future:
By 2050 40% of Americans will be obese

By 2034 over 44 million people in the U.S. will be living with diabetes (compared with under 24 million in 2009.)

On a more upbeat note, according to a recent article in Wired Magazine we may be on the cusp of a revolution in tissue engineering (the use of stems cells to repair and rebuild damaged organs, from breasts to hearts.

Society is already starting to struggle with the practical and ethical implications of techno-medical advances such as cloning, genomics, gene therapy, novel means of imaging and testing, and new (and expensive) forms of treatment. Over the next few decades, we will be faced with choices that have massive implications for the health and well-being of individuals and their communities.

What role can museums play in this dialogue? I think this is an enormously important topic to explore, so I am delighted that Left Coast Press has issued a call for papers for a volume of Museums & Social Issues that will be devoted to “Health and Wellness.”

The editors want to examine questions such as: What is "wellness" in the 21st century? What is a healthy lifestyle today? How are ideas, knowledge, attitudes and personal choices changing towards the question of 'what is health'? How does the concept of wellness fit with the mission of museums?

Take a look at this call and see if your work is a natural fit. If so, I hope you will drop a note to Kris Morrissey ( or
by December 6, letting them know of your intent to submit a paper.

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