How the Currier Museum of Art Prepared for Its Reopening

Connection Cafe

After our complete closure on March 16, 2020 due to COVID-19 , our museum staff was busier than ever preparing to navigate these uncharted times. Download the free eBook from Blackbaud and Cuseum: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving & Thriving As A Cultural Organization.

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4 Clever Ways to Recruit and Retain More Members at Arts & Cultural Organizations

Connection Cafe

These clever names for membership tiers — which can easily be adapted to work for a zoo or any other organization — got me thinking about how arts and cultural organizations are getting creative with their memberships. When I went to the Museum of Modern Art in New York with my mom to see it, we saw two lines: one for the general public with an estimated wait time of more than three hours, and one for members with an estimated wait time of about 20 minutes.

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Adventures in Artist-Driven Public Engagement: Machine Project at the Hammer Museum

Museum 2.0

What happens when a formal art museum invites a group of collaborative, participatory artists to be in residence for a year? Will the artists ruin the museum with their plant vacations and coatroom concerts? Will the bureaucracy of the institution drown the artists in red tape? But for museum and art wonks, it could be. Artists and administrators grapple with the shifting roles of institutions as hosts and incubators for creative work.

The Event-Driven Museum?

Museum 2.0

This is the casual attendance data from my first full month as the Executive Director of The Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz. This graph is making me change the way I think about what our museum is for and how we should market it. First Friday is not just a Museum event; it happens all over Santa Cruz and has grown tremendously over the past few years. More people come to the event who don't casually visit the museum than the other way around.

Brooklyn Museum: Community: bloggers@brooklynmuseum ? Join us at #table17

AFP Blog

Brooklyn Museum: Community: bloggers@brooklynmuseum  Join us at #table17 : Starting Friday, Brooklyn-based artist Man Bartlett will take over these two feeds and create a project that speaks to how everyone can bring something to the table. It is meant to act as a reminder of the multitude of ways that people attribute value to objects and ideas in culture, while simultaneously offering access without regard to significant financial or societal limitations.

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On White Privilege and Museums

Museum 2.0

I write this piece in good faith about the organizations I know best: museums. The vast majority of American museums are institutions of white privilege. They present masterpieces by white male artists and innovations by white male scientists. The popular reference point for what a museum is--a temple for contemplation--is based on a Euro-centric set of myths and implies a white set of behaviors. Not as humans, or artists, or scientists, or dancers.

Year Three as a Museum Director. Thrived.

Museum 2.0

I''ve now been the executive director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History for three years. Over the past three years, we''ve tripled our attendance, doubled our budget, and, most importantly, established deep and diverse relationships with community members, artists, and organizations across Santa Cruz County. We talk a lot at our museum about empowering our visitors, collaborators, interns, and staff by making space for them to shine.

Guest Post: Community and Civic Engagement in Museum Programs

Museum 2.0

Writing my masters thesis for Gothenburg University’s International Museum Studies program while also working four days a week as the Director of Community Programs at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History this spring was certainly a challenge but also an incredible opportunity. I chose to focus my thesis on Community and Civic Engagement in Museum Programs. This can be accomplished through a variety of feedback methods conducted both inside and outside the museum.

Games and Cultural Spaces: Live Blog Notes from Games for Change

Amy Sample Ward

Ruth Cohen – American Museum of natural History. Jason Eppink – Museum of the Moving Image. Ruth Cohen – American Museum of natural History. We are trying to change the visitors’ experience at the museum as well as ownership of what is in the museum, break down the walls between the public and the museum. Jason Eppink – Museum of the Moving Image. The museum was founded in 1981, opened in 1989.

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The Participatory Museum, Five Years Later

Museum 2.0

This week marks five years since the book The Participatory Museum was first released. I wrote The Participatory Museum for two reasons: to explore the "how" of participatory design in museums, cultural centers, libraries, and science centers to create a version of this blog that was more "shareable" with organizational leaders and trustees By many measures, the book has been a success. I''m curious to know: has The Participatory Museum played a role in your work?

Dreaming of Perpetual Beta: Making Museums More Incremental

Museum 2.0

When I started this blog in 2006, I made a multi-media introduction to the concept of "museum 2.0" Venue as content platform instead of content provider: the museum becomes a stage on which professionals and amateurs can curate, interpret, and remix artifacts and information. Visitors' interactions allow them both to personalize their museum experiences and to engage with other visitors through their shared interests. The museum gets better the more people use it.

Goodbye Consulting, Hello Museum of Art & History!

Museum 2.0

Dear Museum 2.0 As of May 2, I will be the executive director of the Museum of Art & History at McPherson Center in Santa Cruz, CA (here's the press release ). I am closing down my consulting business at the end of April, but the Museum 2.0 Because of the increased workload I expect in the months to come, as well as the likely possibility that we will start a Museum of Art & History blog, I'm lowering my Museum 2.0 Museum of Art and History

How Different Types of Museums Approach Participation

Museum 2.0

Recently, I was giving a presentation about participatory techniques at an art museum, when a staff member raised her hand and asked, "Did you have to look really hard to find examples from art museums? Aren't art museums less open to participation than other kinds of museums?" In my travels and research, I've seen all kinds of museums be incredibly successful--and incredibly uncomfortable--with visitor participation. Projects participatory museum

Joint Statement from Museum Bloggers and Colleagues on Ferguson and Related Events

Museum 2.0

When basketball players are offering more cogent commentary on racial issues than cultural institutions, you know we have a cultural relevance problem. Gretchen Jennings convened a group of bloggers and colleagues online to develop a statement about museums'' responsibilities and opportunities in response to the events in Ferguson, Cleveland and Staten Island. Museums are a part of this educational and cultural network. Where do museums fit in?

What Hours Should Museums Be Open?

Museum 2.0

An exhibiting artist approached me recently at an evening event at the museum. But it's a question that many museums seem to address inadequately. It's interesting to me that so many museums debate admission fees but don't get comparably riled up about open hours. Some of the most innovative, community-focused museums I know of are trapped in the 11-5 game, and it's frankly a little bizarre--especially from visitors' perspective.

A Different Story of Thanksgiving: The Repatriation Journey of Glenbow Museum and the Blackfoot Nations

Museum 2.0

One of the most powerful books I read while doing research was We are Coming Home: Repatriation and the Restoration of Blackfoot Cultural Confidence ( read it free here , great appreciation to Bob Janes for sharing it with us). The book is a deep account of repatriation of spiritual objects from museums to native people, written by museum people and Blackfoot people together. The Blackfoot mostly live in what is now the province of Alberta, where the Glenbow Museum resides.

Guest Post: A New Role for Science Museums--Playground for Scientists

Museum 2.0

One of the greatest gifts of my babymoon is the opportunity to share the Museum 2.0 First up is Beck Tench, a "simplifier, illustrator, story teller, and technologist" working at the Museum of Life & Science in Durham, NC. As a person who works for a science museum, I work in an environment that supports play. But at my museum , the support doesn''t stop at our visitors. And my museum, and this new model, as a space for them to do so.

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Hack the Museum Camp Part 2: Making Magic, Reality TV, and Risk as a Red Herring

Museum 2.0

Last week, my museum hosted Hack the Museum Camp , a 2.5 day adventure in which teams of adults--75 people, of whom about half are museum professionals, half creative folks of various stripes--developed an experimental exhibition around our permanent collection in our largest gallery. Here''s what I got out of Hack the Museum Camp. I was surprised by the extent to which reality TV culture imprinted on the experience. We did it.

An Open Letter to Museums on Twitter

Museum 2.0

Dear Museums on Twitter, Thanks for experimenting in a new and largely uncharted online environment. So here is a list of suggestions that hopefully will improve the way your museum thinks about using Twitter. Or it's rainy so you suggest I visit the museum? But you have the potential to reach a whole new world of followers--their friends--if your content is witty, useful, or appealing to those who have never visited your museum. Haiku about museum work.

Six Alternative (U.S.) Cultural Venues to Keep an Eye On

Museum 2.0

I've been spending time recently interviewing people who run unusual cultural and learning venues. From a museum perspective, I think there's a lot to learn from these venues' business models, approach to collecting and exhibiting work, and connection with their audiences. In the past, I've highlighted a few--like 826 Valencia and the Denver Community Museum --that I think have already influenced the way many traditional cultural organization do business.

Hack the Museum Camp: Making Space for Creative, Generous Risk-Taking

Museum 2.0

Here in Santa Cruz, we''re brushing off our tents and lining up the counselor whistles for Hack the Museum Camp , a 2.5 We have 75 campers here from around the world who will be working in teams to develop exhibits based on artifacts from our permanent collection that challenge museum conventions and traditional exhibit design practice. The campers are about half museum professionals, half artists, architects, and designers of all stripes.

Which New Audiences? A Great Washington Post Article and its Implications about Age, Income, and Race

Museum 2.0

The Washington Post covered the MAH's transformation as part of an article about museums engaging new audiences. The whole second half of the article was dedicated to our work: Smaller museums can be especially scrappy in finding ways to connect with the community. One that has found remarkable success is California’s Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. Museum attendance was at about 17,000 a year, and primarily made up of retirees and schoolchildren.

Museum 2.0 Rerun: Answers to the Ten Questions I Am Most Commonly Asked

Museum 2.0

This August/September, I am "rerunning" popular Museum 2.0 Originally posted in April of 2011, just before I hung up my consulting hat for my current job at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. I''ve spent much of the past three years on the road giving workshops and talks about audience participation in museums. The Museum 2.0 For more on the differences among different types of museums (with examples), check out this post. culture.

Another Exclusivity Paradox: Secret Gardens, Hidden Museums

Museum 2.0

When you find a bar with your favorite song on the jukebox, or a museum room that feels like your grandmother's living room, you suddenly feel a strong affinity and are able to see yourself reflected in the space. In his identity work , John Falk determined that people use cultural institutions to reflect their personal self-concept as learners, social leaders, spiritual pilgrims, hobbyists, and experience seekers.

1stfans: An Audience-Specific Membership Program at the Brooklyn Museum

Museum 2.0

The conventional wisdom on museum memberships is that they are "one size fits many" programs whose primary benefits are free entrance to the museum and insider access to exhibition openings. The main audiences for memberships are value members, who think of it as a good deal, lifelong learners, who want to come to as many programs and exhibits as possible, and donors, who support the museum. But what about all the other people who love your museum?

Building Community: Who / How / Why

Museum 2.0

These are the slides and notes for the talk I gave at the American Alliance of Museums conference on Monday, April 27 about the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. When I became the director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History four years ago, I took this work with me. We invited community members in, to be active contributors, collaborators, and co-creators in our museum space. culturally curious but maybe not inclined to walk into a museum.

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Self-Censorship for Museum Professionals

Museum 2.0

There are lots of things visitors can’t do in museums. But what about the things that museum professionals can’t (or feel they can’t) do? This week at the ASTC conference, Kathy McLean, Tom Rockwell, Eric Siegel and I presented a session called “You Can’t Do That in Museums!” in which we explored the peculiarities of self-censorship in the creation of museum exhibitions. Science is political, and science museums have a hard time grappling with that fact.

Why Click! is My Hero (What Museum Innovation Looks Like)

Museum 2.0

We’re not accustomed to the idea that they are enfranchised in the cultural process. No, these are neither the words of a self-important curator nor a well-spoken museum director. the crowd-curated photo exhibition now open at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It is a substantive research contribution by the museum to the social technology field at large. To the museum world, it’s a new attempt to merge people, the web, and a physical exhibition.

Quick Hit: My Work with the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History

Museum 2.0

I've now been the Director of The Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz for two months. The Museum of Art & History is now in the hands of internationally known innovator Nina Simon, while the community eagerly awaits what happens next By WALLACE BAINE Posted: 06/30/2011 01:30:40 AM PDT Click photo to enlarge Museum of Art & History Director Nina Simon. Simon is a remarkable "get" for the museum. where she worked at the International Spy Museum. "We

Interview with My Dad, Tom Aageson, Co-Founder, Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship

Have Fun - Do Good

"If we start losing cultural diversity, we begin to lose our whole sense of community because community is defined by culture. We want to give people an opportunity to really develop, innovate, and preserve their own culture." -- Tom Aageson, co-founder, Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship A week, or so ago I interviewed my Dad, Tom Aageson, for a special Father's Day show on the Big Vision Podcast. That's cultural entrepreneurship."

Tattoo Parlors and Art Museums: Comparative Comfort

Museum 2.0

I'd love to see a museum offer temporary tattoos instead of stickers at entry. I expected it to be both physically and culturally uncomfortable, something like going to a dentist in a Harley garage. I spent about 5 hours in a busy tattoo studio (interesting how they are rebranding away from "parlor"), both times on Sundays, and my highly uninformed impression is that most of the people who walked in the door are not museum-goers. It's worth the cultural trip.

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Guest Post: Restoration Artwork

Museum 2.0

George Scheer is the director and co-founder of Elsewhere Collective, a fascinating "living museum" in a former thrift store in Greensboro, NC. In this post, George grapples with the challenges of balancing the care for a museum collection with that of contemporary artists-in-residence who are constantly reinterpreting it. Every Saturday, the curatorial team at Elsewhere , a living museum in downtown Greensboro, NC, reviews the project proposals of its artists-in-residence.

One Simple Question to Make Your Work More Participatory

Museum 2.0

Photo by CLoé Zarifian, MAH Photo Intern We're working with a guest curator, Wes Modes , on an upcoming experimental project at our museum. Wes is an artist, and this is his first time running a museum exhibition development process. In the case of the exhibition process that Wes is leading, we talked about how others could be involved in an experimental exhibition/residency in which artists work with visitors in the gallery. Core Museum 2.0

Crossing the Professional-Amateur Line

Museum 2.0

I''m not sure how well this is working for us in museum-land. As our culture explodes in embracing creativity across the professional/amateur spectrum, museums have two choices: we can sharpen the line. If done poorly (uncritically), it turns the museum into yet another place to watch cat videos. I''ve been grappling with this question as we enter the final month of a massively crowd-sourced exhibition at my museum called Everybody''s Ocean.

Father's Day Show: My Dad, Tom Aageson, Co-Founder, Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship

Have Fun - Do Good

Tom Aageson, the co-Founder of the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship. In addition to being the co-Founder of the Global Center, he is also the Executive Director of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation. Since moving to Santa Fe, he has developed New Mexico Creates , an economic development initiative that creates market links for New Mexico artists and artisans. This month's Big Vision Podcast interview is a special one with. my Dad (!)

Kid-Tested, Hipster-Approved: How Austin’s Thinkery Curated a Whole New Audience.

Connection Cafe

” How is this influx of new people influencing Austin’s Arts & Cultural community? The team at Thinkery has done an excellent job in getting the word out in all the right publications (Austin’s Culture Map, Austin’s Social Planner, among others) since they launched this innovative idea in December 2013. How can you explore doing something similar at your museum? Comment on ideas you’ve put into play at your museum, or other ideas you’ve seen and liked.

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Crowd Fundraising for the Arts: No Running, Walking, or Freezing Plunges Required

Connection Cafe

Museums, zoos, and aquariums are finding that crowdfundraising can be a strategic tool to add to their fundraising playbook. Here are 3 arts and cultural organizations that have given crowd fundraising a go for compelling causes: National Air & Space Museum. The National Air and Space Museum raised nearly $720,000 in 30 days to conserve the spacesuit Neil Armstrong wore on the moon, far surpassing their goal of $500,000.

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Museums and Libraries in the 21st Century in 714 Words (or less)

Museum 2.0

Dear Museum 2.0-ers, Next week, I'll be going to DC for a meeting convened by the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Museum and Library Services on "Museums and Libraries in the 21st Century." Over the last 50 years, public-facing museums and libraries in the U.S. While museums and libraries may be trusted sources of information, people increasingly prefer sources that are immediately and widely accessible for use and reuse.

Your Official #NN18 Local's Guide to New Orleans


Anyone briefly strolling through this park will likely hear the sound of a brass band and see local artists scattered along the sidewalk. Voodoo Museum. Peaches Records (Uptown on Magazine Street) - Family-owned since 1975 and a cultural staple in the New Orleans community. We're just a few weeks away from one of the most highly anticipated nonprofit conferences of the year , and we're so excited to be headed down South to the Big Easy!

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Goodbye, Game Friday. Hello Open Source Museum.

Museum 2.0

My interest in gaming in museums was ignited by working on Operation Spy, an immersive, narrative, live-action game experience at the International Spy Museum, and fueled by the CSI:NY virtual experience. But last week, I took a new job with The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, working on a very different kind of project involving collaborative distributed exhibit design. The Open Source Museum project at The Tech is a grant-funded grand experiment.

The Great Good Place Book Discussion Part 2: Small Rural Museums as Third Places

Museum 2.0

This guest post was written by Rebecca Lawrence, Museum Educator, Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center in Pennsylvania. You can join the conversation in the blog comments, or on the Museum 2.0 The Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center (SLHC) is a small museum located in Pennsburg, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Our museum is in small town America. How can a local history museum connect with third places in the community?

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Memo from the Revolution: Six Things I've Learned from our Institutional Transformation

Museum 2.0

TCG is the industry association for non-profit theaters, the way AAM is for museums. Given TCG''s multi-year Audience (R)evolution initiative, I took the opportunity to write a new talk about what revolution has looked like at our small museum in Santa Cruz. Over the past two years, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History has undergone a significant transformation of program, audience, and resources. We heard again and again that the museum was cold and uncomfortable.

Four Unusual Professional Development Events in 2013

Museum 2.0

Three of them are being hosted at my museum , and one at a mystery location. You Can't Do That in Museums Camp - July 10-12, 2013. In July of 2013, the MAH will host our first You Can't Do That in Museums Camp (or better name to be suggested by you), inviting 80 creative people to collaborate on an experimental exhibition. Yes you can sleepover at the museum to heighten the insanity and reduce the cost. No you don't have to be a museum professional to participate.