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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Museum Work

Museum 2.0

While many American museums require 37.5 The whole issue of wages gets at the heart of the faulty systems of capitalism, the culture of women’s work, and museums as privilege-concentrating institutions. Museums might earn their philanthropy partly through commercial enterprises, but for a very long time, their workplaces were run very differently. They had the committee decision-making structures from universities and the collections-authority systems of libraries.

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Self Care in the Museum Workplace

Connection Cafe

The following post was originally published on the Center for the Future of Museums blog. On Wednesday, August 8, over 300 museum professionals joined CFM director Elizabeth Merritt and Seema Rao, principal of Brilliant Idea Studio , to explore self-care in the museum workplace. Seema) In some museum work places, the culture of stress is tied to perceived effort, as you mention. Q: Do you know any museums that have implemented telecommuting successfully?

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Injustice In Science [Museums]

Museum 2.0

Nina Simon, Lauren Bentua, and many others would host us in the halls of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art. Is it the hierarchical structure of organizations? When we think about mapping these ideas onto an organization I think about how museum leadership can take these on personally as individuals (CEO, COO) and as departments (Human Resources, Education) and so on. Acknowledging your role in structural racism is a good start but not enough, what are you going to do about it?

Personal Mission and Renewed Motivation: Thoughts from the South Carolina Federation of Museums Conference

Connection Cafe

I recently had the pleasure of attending the South Carolina Federation of Museums Conference in Florence, SC. Here’s what I learned: At the core of each museum is a personal mission. I wasn’t familiar with many of the museums who were in attendance at SCFM, even though I’ve lived and worked here for 40 years now! And that’s the core of a successful museum – personal mission. Being at the conference made me so proud to say I work in the arts and cultural industry.

Worst of Museums for this Decade

Museum 2.0

These two adages were both in my mind last week when I asked people for the worst museum trends. In this decade museums worst trends were in labor and tech: 1. Suse Anderson spoke about the drawbacks of professionalization: Moves to “professionalise” the sector that make an MA entry level + cost of grad school + systemic under compensation —> further embedding class stasis of who can work in museums, whilst making public arguments for DEAI that contradict institutional actions.

Audience Engagement Conversation at Western Museums Association

Museum 2.0

The Western Museum Association was kind enough to invite me to speak on a panel about engagement at their annual meeting in Boise. Phillip’s early remark about museums was an invocation for everyone. As an outsider, he immediately saw that museums were operating “under a business model that doesn’t work.” He then went on to note that we run museums with the hopes of being supported by philanthropy, when in fact we could have a product that people want.

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. We talk a lot at our museum about empowering our visitors, collaborators, interns, and staff by making space for them to shine. We work hard to name and build our culture in many ways. Institutional culture is something I never really understood before and I am now completely fascinated by how it can shape work. Naming our goals and our culture.

Top 9 Software to Take Your Museum to the Next Level

Donor Search

Museums house artifacts from the past, but who’s to say your operations have to stay there, too? By implementing museum software, you can get smarter about fundraising, membership management, and collections. Of course, all museum software is not created equal, just like all museums have different missions and operational structures. Art galleries will require different… Arts & Culture

Top 9 Software to Take Your Museum to the Next Level

Donor Search

Museums house artifacts from the past, but who’s to say your operations have to stay there, too? By implementing museum software, you can get smarter about fundraising, membership management, and collections. Of course, all museum software is not created equal, just like all museums have different missions and operational structures. Art galleries will require different… Arts & Culture

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.

Year Five as a Museum Director: Good to Grow

Museum 2.0

Five years ago, I left the consulting world to take the helm at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH) at a time of crisis and change. We have spent the past three years planning and raising money for a project to build a creative town square for our city on the front porch of the museum. Abbott Square will include free outdoor public seating, a public food market, and several areas for free art and cultural activities. I bridle under too much structure.

Reimagining Museums with Latin America Leading the Way

Museum 2.0

El Museo Reimaginado is a collaborative effort of museum professionals in North and South America to explore museums' potential as community catalysts. Here are some of the things that made El Museo Reimaginado so special: It seems that Latin American museums are more vigorously pursuing community-based work than institutions elsewhere in the world. I'm generalizing grossly here, but for the most part, I find European museums to be conservative.

Notes on Structure Lab: Legal and Financial Models for Social Entrepeneurship

Museum 2.0

Last week, I attended Structure Lab , a half-day workshop on legal and financial structures for ventures for social good. The Structure Lab is set up as a "game" in which you explore cards in various categories (values, assets, financing, etc.) The idea is that you specify your values, relationships, and assets, and then match those up with potentially fruitful legal structures, financing models, and growth potential.

Supporting Museum Tribes & Fans through Shared Ritual

Museum 2.0

Many people ( Paul Orselli , Linda Norris , Pete Newcurator ) in the museum field have written about the question of museum "tribes"--based partly on Seth Godin's book , partly on the longstanding fan culture that pervades our lives through sport , celebrity, and shared experience of mass events. The question is usually, "How can museums cultivate fandom among visitors?" or "What would a museum look like that embraced and supported tribal followings?".

Guest Post: One Museum's Experiment with Threaded Comment Stations

Museum 2.0

Jasper Visser and his colleagues at the not-yet-physically-open National Historisch Museum of the Netherlands have impressed me with their innovative, thoughtful approach to developing a dynamic national museum. Last weekend my museum presented itself at the Uitmarkt in Amsterdam. The Uitmarkt is an annual festival that opens the new cultural year. I thought it was a perfect chance to put one of the ideas in Nina Simon’s book The Participatory Museum to the test.

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.

Should Museums Be Happiness Engines?

Museum 2.0

What role does “promoting human happiness” play in the mission statements and actions of museums? That’s the question I’m pondering thanks to Jane McGonigal and the Center for the Future of Museums (CFM). Earlier today, the CFM offered a free webcast of Jane McGonigal’s talk on gaming, happiness, and museums. Non-game social platforms like museums should use game design techniques to make these institutions more successful at supporting user happiness.

The Participatory Museum Process Part 3: My Experience

Museum 2.0

This is the third in a four-part series about writing The Participatory Museum. When I decided to write a book about visitor participation in cultural institutions, I knew I'd do it in a way that reflected the values behind the book itself--transparency, inclusion, and meaningful community participation. This post covers my personal process of encouraging--and harnessing--participation in the creation of The Participatory Museum. I structured the copy editing very tightly.

The Great Good Place Book Discussion Part 1: Can Cultural Institutions Be Third Places?

Museum 2.0

You can join the conversation in the blog comments, or on the Museum 2.0 Like many museum and library professionals, I am enamored of the idea of cultural institutions as “third places” – public venues for informal, peaceable, social engagement outside of home or work. But now, after a careful read of Ray Oldenburg’s book in which he defines and describes third places, I am uncertain of whether it is possible for museums and libraries to be such venues.

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Museum 2.0 Book Club: The Great Good Place

Museum 2.0

While it hasn't happened here in awhile, a new Museum 2.0 Many museum and library professionals use the concept of the third place to describe the idealized vision of a cultural institution as a place for community use and civic engagement. Oldenburg celebrates places that are less structured, less designed, less facilitated, and less content-rich than most museums want to be. For four weeks starting June 1, each Tuesday there will be a Museum 2.0

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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?

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.

Participation, Contemplation, and the Complexity of "And"

Museum 2.0

"The words we use in attempting to change museum directions matter. We need translators within each cultural context. And a good thing, too." --Elaine Heumann Gurian, The Importance of "And" Recently, I''ve been embroiled in local and national conversations about the relationship between active participation and quiet contemplation in museums. Our museum in Santa Cruz has been slammed by those who believe participatory experiences have gone too far. Core Museum 2.0

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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Becoming Generous Thieves: Notes from the Museums in Conversation Keynote

Museum 2.0

On Monday, I gave the keynote at the Museums in Conversation conference in Tarrytown, NY. Greed, because creative greediness motivates us to hunt down and steal the best design techniques the world has to offer, and generosity, because giving those great ideas and applications away is the only way to change the larger cultural landscape. What amazing thing is this designer or author or game creator doing that I can take a slice of and stick into my museum?

Why Your Museum Needs a Bar

Museum 2.0

I got my copy of the fall issue of Museums and Social Issues this week. The theme is "Civic Dialogue," and the journal includes articles on the historical, cultural, media, and museum practice of getting people talking to each other (including one by me about such endeavors on the web). The journal includes articles about two thriving adult science programs, one at the Dana Centre at the London Science Museum, the other Cafe Scientifique , at a pub in Denver.

How to Stare Down Organizational Change and Win

Connection Cafe

In early 2019, Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh’s Engagement team, one arm of the Advancement and Community Engagement department, lost nearly every mid-level manager. Instead of just plugging the holes and bailing water, maybe what you need to be more effective is some structural reorganization. Want to l earn more about how Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh applied the above three principles to their annual fund challenge ? Focus on the things you can control.

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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.

Museum Skunkworks: Carving Out a Place for Risk-Taking

Museum 2.0

I once asked Elaine Gurian how museums can change. Here's the problem with both of these ways: they require circumstances that are outside of most museum employees' control. Where's the opportunity for risk in museums that are too big to avoid the media microscope? But again, the "from the top" model requires something that few museum staff have: authority. The manager affirms the crazy-greatness of it--and its non-viability within the corporate structure.

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Traveling Couches and other Emergent Surprises Courtesy of an Open Platform

Museum 2.0

I like to ask myself this question periodically, challenging myself to find substantive ways for visitors to contribute to our museum. We actively seek participation and develop structured opportunities for visitors to collaborate with us. And when I think back on the past year, some of the most magical things that have happened at the museum have NOT been designed by us. Last month, a couple came in and asked if they could stage a pop up tea ceremony at the museum.

The Art of Gathering: A Fabulous Book to Help You Host Better Meetings and Events

Museum 2.0

The museum was in huge financial trouble. My expertise was on inviting strangers to participate in public settings like museums. Creating event-specific rules can level the playing field, make the implicit explicit, and create a specific culture for the event. The Art of Gathering expanded my understanding of what it means to build a powerful culture of participation. design participatory museum programsI remember the first staff meeting I ever ran.

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.

The International Museum of Women Wants Your Story (Men Too!)

Have Fun - Do Good

After including Imagining Ourselves: Global Voices from a New Generation of Women in my post about Giving Circle Book Groups , someone from the International Museum of Women asked me if I would post the submission guidelines for Imagining Ourselves , "an online global exhibit featuring art, photographs, essays and film by young women in their 20s and 30s answering the questions, "What defines your generation?" Clothes can express a part of who we are or the culture we represent.

A Community-Driven Approach to Program Design

Museum 2.0

At the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH), we've started experimenting with a "community first" approach to program development. We asked the whole group to brainstorm communities/constituencies who they thought could make a stronger connection with art, history, and culture. Here are a few things that I think helped make this experience valuable: We started from communities' needs, not the museum's. Museum of Art and History programs participatory museum

Introducing Abbott Square Part 6: Two Prioritization Techniques We Used to Negotiate a Great Lease

Museum 2.0

This is the sixth in a series of posts on the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History ( MAH )'s development of Abbott Square , a new creative community plaza in downtown Santa Cruz. John would run Abbott Square Market , a multi-vendor food and drink business, adjacent to the plaza, adjacent to the museum. John would manage the food, the MAH would manage the museum, and we would co-manage the plaza. How much would John pay for rent and how should we structure it?

Answers to the Ten Questions I am Most Often Asked

Museum 2.0

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 I've seen this line of questioning almost completely disappear in the past two years due to many research studies and reports on the value and rise of participation, but in 2006-7, social media and participatory culture was still seen as nascent (and possibly a passing fad). culture. why not museums? Core Museum 2.0

Growing Bigger, Staying Collaborative - 5 Tools for Building Non-Bureaucratic Organizations

Museum 2.0

We believe that partnerships build a stronger museum and a stronger community. We were seven people in a room, laser-focused on making the MAH a community gathering place and cultural center. Like most museums and nonprofits, we have a donor database. Instead of each staff member tracking their own community partners, we're building a shared database of all the partners who contribute time, money, and talent to the museum. I resisted building better structures.

Ancient Greece 2.0: Arts Participation before the Industrial Age

Museum 2.0

When we talk about making museums or performing arts organizations more participatory and dynamic, those changes are often seen as threatening to the traditional arts experience. They had the freedom--and in some cases, the obligation--to make their own meaning and share their interpretations of art with each other in structured and informal ways. Museums no longer showed human horns alongside historic documents; theaters made differentiations among types of live entertainment.

Summer Internships at the MAH: Come Do Something Exciting

Museum 2.0

We've gotten a little more organized at The Museum of Art & History , and we've now released opportunities for summer internships. These are unpaid part-time and full-time opportunities to help design public programs, develop new uses for the museum, perform visitor research, and pursue unusual projects. Our internships have generally gotten more structured. Museum of Art and History professional development

Participatory Internships in Santa Cruz this School Year

Museum 2.0

At the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, we take our interns seriously, give them real responsibility, creative challenges, and meaningful work opportunities. Second, and highly experimental, is the Museum Camp Internship. In other words, people who participate in Museum Camp will get to test all kinds of wild ideas for visitor engagement with a real live exhibition. And of course, much more to come about Museum Camp in the months to come.)

Kids, Coercion, and Co-Design

Museum 2.0

I've written about different structures for participatory processes (especially in museums), and recently, I've been interested in how we can apply these structures to the design of public space. Here in Santa Cruz, my museum has embarked on a major project to redevelop the plaza outside our doors into a vibrant, cultural hub for downtown, and we are trying to make the development process as open and useful as possible. youth design participatory museum

Spring Internship Opportunities - and Thoughts about Internships

Museum 2.0

And that's what this post is about--how we advertise the culture at our organizations (or not) when we offer new positions. I had a bit of a wakeup call about internships last month at an "emerging leaders" lunch event at the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums conference. At our museum, we don't provide a lot of structured mentorship for interns. At this time, we're not ready to offer people highly structured internships. Museum of Art and History