Monday, December 09, 2019

Best of the Decade for Museums

Written by Seema Rao

Last month, I shared some of my thoughts about the best of museums over the last decades. (I admit some of my best included a big of the worst side of the best). This week, I'm summarizing everyone else's ideas about the best trends of the decade. I'll mention now, Kate Livingston, listed Museum Twitter as one of the best things, and I definitely thought this as I read people's responses.

Many respondents talked about a fundamental shift in museums from them to us. We transformed from transmit to recieve. This changed attitude manifested in many different ways. For example, this change included sharing our collections online. As Aron mentioned, this shift required a fundamental intellectual shift.

And, when you make that kind of shift to shared ownership you're willing to share in an open, trusting manner, as Heidi mentioned.
This shift to a more open mindset also created fundamental shifts in operations and programming. As Jeremy mentioned, many museums wanted to be social spaces and made changes to create that culture, and as Andrea mentioned, they created amenities to support this social use.

Our physical transformation was also obvious in our galleries:

Museums also looked for people where they are and how they are, rather than asking people to just receive what the museum wanted to offer. The programs and interpretation changed as a result. Rather than unidirectional from museums out, museums began co-creating with other people, transforming the traditional means of production and seat of power.
It also meant holding programs that were different from our usual MO. Rather than creating all for one content, museums starting looking at the particular needs for specific audiences. (Also, to know more about how you can be more inclusive listen to Beth's #MCNIgnite).
We admitted that our existing programs and hours don't work from most adults, who have full-time jobs and might not want to leave the office to sit in a dark lecture hall. After hours events, for example, required changing the way we did things. The transformation was worth it, as Molly mentioned.
But, these changes above required museums doing a better job of understanding their audiences and listening to them. As Matt mentioned:

Overall, museums allowed ourselves to be vulnerable. Our openness was rewarded each time someone liked our tweets, someone mentioned our interesting programs at a dinner party, and someone brought a friend to our events. We, however, have plenty of room to grow. Next week, we'll discuss the worst trends from the decade. The worker, technology, and money will feature large next week.

(Please consider passing your ideas about big trends for the decade. Tag me so I can add your thoughts to this month’s summary post @artlust on twitter, @_art_lust_ on IG, & @brilliantideastudiollc on FB). 
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