Learnings From The Artist’s Way + How They Can Apply to Your Creative Team

Media Cause

I first learned of Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity during a creatively difficult time in my life. She called her time in Boston “an elongated artist date.” An artist date? Like when you go on a date with an artist?

Turning Visitors into Customers: Maximising Retail Potential for Museums


Museum shops can and should be more than just walls of collection postcards and bins of branded pencils. This article will introduce a few ways to think differently about your existing museum shop or mind-map for the future if you intend to open one. The museum sector is a friendly one.


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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.

Who is an Artist? On Naming and Expertise

Museum 2.0

I noticed this conversation because it happened during a break at a two-day meeting where people heatedly debated the question of who is an artist. What does it mean when someone says she is a hiker, or a scientist, or an artist? Last week, I heard a curator advocate strongly for the "everyone is an artist" frame of thinking. When you tell a child or an outsider that he is an artist, you empower that person to join a community of art-making.

How Hello Museum Builds Intimate Community in one of the Biggest Cities in the World

Museum 2.0

We connect with people both professionally and personally, at the museum and on the street. This weekend, I got my answer in Seoul--the 18th biggest city in the world--at Hello Museum. Nestled in a forest of high-rise apartment buildings, this small museum connects children and families with contemporary art. Like the New Children's Museum in San Diego, Hello Museum creates building-wide interactive exhibitions with artists, on themes like nature and #NoWar.

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. Carey Cahoon is the Database Administrator and Strategist at the Currier Museum of Art, overseeing and providing staff support for Altru.

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.

Our Museum: Extraordinary Resources on How Museums and Galleries Become Participatory Places

Museum 2.0

They wanted to help museums and galleries across the UK make significant, sustained changes in the ways they engage community partners and visitors as participants in their work. The result, Our Museum , is an extraordinary funding program with a focus on community participation. In its first five years, Our Museum yielded real change at twelve diverse UK organizations. You could spend a day getting lost in the meaty, thoughtful writing and videos on the Our Museum site.

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.

The Event-Driven Museum, One Year Later

Museum 2.0

A year ago, I wrote a post speculating about whether events (institutionally-produced programs) might be a primary driver for people to attend museums, with exhibitions being secondary. Now, a year later, I've seen the beginnings of how that question has borne out at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH) , as well as hearing from folks around the museum industry about the interplay of exhibitions and events at their own institutions.

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.

ASKing about Art at the Brooklyn Museum: Interview with Shelley Bernstein and Sara Devine

Museum 2.0

I’ve always been inspired by the creative ways the Brooklyn Museum uses technology to connect visitors to museum content. Now, the Brooklyn Museum is doing a major overhaul of their visitor experience--from lobby to galleries to mobile apps--in an effort to “ create a dynamic and responsive museum that fosters dialogue and sparks conversation between staff and all Museum visitors.” ASK is part of an overall effort to rethink the museum visitor experience.

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. Across the museum field, the questions about visitor participation have gone from "what?"

Ze Frank Takes Over (My) Museum

Museum 2.0

I get excited about a lot of things in my work at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. That's how I felt when artist Ze Frank got in touch to talk about a potential museum exhibition to explore a physical site/substantiation for his current online video project, A Show (s ee minute 2:20, above). Ze Frank is a participatory artist who creates digital projects that are explicitly about creating and enhancing authentic interpersonal connections.

8 Museum Apps Doing Good


This week we’ve found apps from museums. Mobile apps are an interesting way for museums to advance their educational missions beyond people’s expectations. ArtClix from the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. iOS/Android: ArtClix enhances uses mobile to enhance the museum experience. This app is heavily informed by its content and can adapt with each new exhibition installed at the museum. Louis apps by Missouri History Museum.

Favianna Rodriguez: Political Digital Artist and Printmaker

Have Fun - Do Good

I think about how hesitant I was to become an artist, because I didn't see role models, and even to this day how hard it is for me sometimes to find peers who are women of color, because of how systematically they are pushed out. I'm an artist and an institution builder. As an artist, I feel like I'm breaking boundaries, I feel I'm not the traditional artist that just works in their studio. What does that do to a young woman who wants to be an artist?

Pranksters in the Museum

Museum 2.0

Two recent events have got me thinking about pranks and unauthorized activities in museums. Improv Everywhere staged an event at the Metropolitan Museum in which an actor posing as King Philip IV of Spain signed autographs in front of his portrait, as painted by Diego Velazquez in the 1620s. In both cases, outsiders co-opted the museum for their own devices. Neither harmed the museums in question, though they both had questionable qualities.

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.

Is it OK to Smash That? The Complications of Living Art Museums

Museum 2.0

Every day for the past two months, a man has entered the largest gallery in my museum. The man is artist Rocky Lewycky , whose work is part of a group show of visual artists who have won a prestigious regional fellowship. It also complicates the question of what is acceptable in a museum. If an artist can come into a museum and smash stuff, what does that tell visitors? It is not acceptable to walk into a museum and destroy another artist''s work of art.

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

Museums, Divided Attention, and Really Bad Commercials

Museum 2.0

Check out this inane AT&T commercial about a woman whose absorption in her smartphone is so great that Facebook updates become substantiated as pieces of art in the museum through which she strolls. It also suggests that for young people, masterpieces in museums are not nearly as interesting as a good friend''s new haircut. But I feel that they are societal issues, not issues specific to museums or art institutions. Ready for something ridiculous?

New Approach, Historic Mission: Remaking a Factory Museum via Community Co-Production

Museum 2.0

But not enough people care about it anymore, and the museum is fading into disrepair. The Silk Mill is part of the Derby Museums , a public institution of art, history, and natural history. Many people would look at the world''s oldest mechanized silk mill and say that the core content of the museum is silk. In the fall of 2013, they launched Re:Make , an ambitious project to redevelop the museum, live, on the floor, with a mix of staff, guest artists, and community members.

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.

Making Museum Tours Participatory: A Model from the Wing Luke Asian Museum

Museum 2.0

Last week, I visited the Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle. I've long admired this museum for its all-encompassing commitment to community co-creation , and the visit was a kind of pilgrimage to their new site (opened in 2008). I'm always a bit nervous when I visit a museum I love from afar. It incorporates work by local artists, old and new construction, and is completely gorgeous. I am not typically a fan of museum tours.

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

Museum 2.0

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. Artists and arts organizations are contributing their spaces and their creative energies. Where do museums fit in? We believe that strong connections should exist between museums and their communities.

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.

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. People talked about the camp as Project Runway for museums. Those are risky decisions in the broader museum context.

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

Guest Post: Using Participation to Solve a Design Problem at the Carnegie Museum of Art

Museum 2.0

I'm thrilled to share this brilliant guest post by Marilyn Russell, Curator of Education at the Carnegie Museum of Art. This is a perfect example of a museum using participation as a design solution. A friendly museum educator stood near the table to greet curious visitors; offer them one of five prompt sheets, a clip board, and colored pencils; and invite them into the gallery to begin their exploration. It is great to feel more of a part of the museum!" "All

Guest Post: Weaving Community Collaborations into Permanent Installations at the Denver Art Museum

Museum 2.0

Earlier in 2013, I was amazed to visit one of the new “Studio” spaces at the Denver Art Museum. The DAM is one of several large art museums that is embracing making in a big way—first, through their event-based programming and open art studios tied to temporary exhibitions, and now, through a 1,200 square foot studio in which visitors can do art projects tied to the permanent collection. Some community artists even helped install the space.

Press Here: Breaking the Fourth Wall in Children's Books. and Museums?

Museum 2.0

They recall other artistic work that breaks fourth walls--classically in theater, and more recently in new media projects. This makes me wonder: how do we break the fourth wall in museums? How do we use the essential tools of museum-ness to disrupt, surprise, and delight people? Museums already engage people with multiple senses, in multiple dimensions. You open a children''s book. You see a yellow dot. The text says "Press the yellow dot and turn the page."

Press 37

Guest Post: The Denver Community Museum

Museum 2.0

This post was written by Jaime Kopke , the founder/director of the Denver Community Museum , a pop-up community-generated institution that ran from Oct 2008-April 2009. The Denver Community Museum (DCM) was a grassroots operation in almost every sense. The DCM was a temporary, pop-up museum which ran from October 2008 - April 2009 in an unused storefront in downtown Denver. Projects design participatory museum guestpost usercontent

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

Museum 2.0

The book is a deep account of repatriation of spiritual objects from museums to native people, written by museum people and Blackfoot people together. That’s what happened when the Blackfoot people and the Glenbow Museum worked together over the course of twenty years to repatriate sacred medicine bundles from the museum to the Blackfoot. The Blackfoot mostly live in what is now the province of Alberta, where the Glenbow Museum resides. The museums were not.

Want to Work at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History? Now's Your Chance.

Museum 2.0

This week, I''m celebrating three years on the job as the executive director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. This spring marked a big conceptual shift for me and the museum. Our Curator will lead the way in bringing together professional artists and non-artist participants in the development of powerful exhibitions. We are now squarely out of turnaround and into growth mode.

Have Fun Do Good Link Love: Artists and Social Media, Be Bold Podcast, Miss Do-Gooder T-shirts and More!

Have Fun - Do Good

NEWS I'm speaking about how artists can use social media to market their business next week, August 8th, at Artists Building their Business in Santa Fe, NM. The event is free, but limited to 250 artists. The project is a collaboration of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation Shops and the City of Santa Fe Economic Development Division. Hi Have Fun * Do Gooders!

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.

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.

Month at the Museum, Part 1: A Video Contest that Delivers

Museum 2.0

On October 20, a young woman named Kate will move into Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry and live there for a month. This post is not about the Month at the Museum concept or implementation. Instead, this post focuses on a fascinating aspect of Month at the Museum: the video applications. It's hard to make a video, and even big, popular museums have struggled to entice visitors to make their own videos related to exhibition and visit experiences.

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.

Build 43

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.

Making Alternative Meaning out of Museum Artifacts

Museum 2.0

Seb Chan has a lovely, long interview up at Fresh+New with Helen Whitty about the Powerhouse Museum's new mini-exhibition, the Odditoreum. The Odditoreum is another wrinkle in the study of visitors' understanding and interpretation of authenticity in museums. Last month, I met an artist who was part of a group that created a renegade podcast tour for the Portland Art Museum. I enjoyed listening to it (virtually, not at the museum).

Guest Post: A Tale of Two University Museums

Museum 2.0

Margaret shared these thoughts about "museums for use" on her blog , and I asked her to adapt a version for the Museum 2.0 Should a museum be a destination or a place for everyday use? Nina Simon posed this provocative question at a recent presentation , and it got me thinking about the differences between museum "users" and "visitors." The Rhode Island School of Design was established in 1877 alongside its Museum of Art, an important resource for RISD students.