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?

17 Ways We Made our Exhibition Participatory

Museum 2.0

It made me think in ways that I haven't before about the relation of art--as expressive culture--to democracy. It is multi-disciplinary, incorporates diverse voices from our community, and provides interactive and participatory opportunities for visitor involvement. This post focuses on one aspect of the exhibition: its participatory and interactive elements. Pull up an armchair for a tour of our participatory hits, misses, and related discoveries.

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Great Participatory Processes are Open, Discoverable, and Unequal

Museum 2.0

He casts the whole idea of a great jazz jam in the context of the tragedy of the commons--like a poetry open mic, the jazz club is a community whose experience is fabulous or awful depending on the extent to the culture cultivates and enforces a healthy participatory process. When I think about what makes for great participatory experiences in both poetry open mics and jazz jams, it comes down to three basic things: The process is open.

Making Participatory Processes Visible to Visitors

Museum 2.0

In many cases, once the final project is launched, it's hard to detect the participatory touch. Not every participatory process has to scream "look at me!" But it's a shame when visitors can't experience the energy that went into the making of a participatory project--when the product of a living process is a dead thing. Last week I saw a powerful example of this at the Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg in their exhibition for children under five.

One Simple Question to Make Your Work More Participatory

Museum 2.0

This is the question I ask myself anytime I'm working on something with a participatory intent. But even developing that open call was a participatory process: Wes worked with other staff to think through how the residencies could work. This open call project may sound like one that is uniquely suited for participatory input. It's part of a culture of learning and curiosity--something I hope that museums can embody. Ideas participatory museum

Balancing Engagement: Adventures in Participatory Exhibit Labels

Museum 2.0

In our quest to make the public areas of the museum more reflective of Santa Cruz culture, we moved these boards from a comprehensive display in the history gallery into a main stairwell, prominently visible from the lobby and throughout the building. We decided to approach the label-writing for these boards in a participatory way. exhibition participatory museum interactivesWe’ve been doing a little experiment at our museum with labels.

Enabling a Participatory Culture using Creative Commons Licenses

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

Enabling a Participatory Culture using Creative Commons Licenses by Gautam John. In a sense, our mission has two parts, one is to create more reading matter such that there is more available for children to read and the second really is a corollary – that we need to be inclusive in our reach; to get books to those children and geographies that need it the most and that the books need to be culturally and linguistically relevant as well.

Participatory Moment of Zen: Diverse Visitor Contributions Add Up to Empathy

Museum 2.0

This person is writing about a participatory element (the "pastport") that we included in the exhibition Crossing Cultures. Crossing Cultures features paintings by Belle Yang that relate to her family''s immigration experiences. design exhibition Museum of Art and History participatory museum usercontent Whoever wrote this comment card: thank you. You made my month.

Fundraising as Participatory Practice: Myths, Realities, Possibilities

Museum 2.0

As a designer, I'm always trying to ensure that participatory activities, however casual, impact both the participant and the organization. If fundraisers are so keen on relationships, why weren't they the first into social media and participatory projects on behalf of their organizations? Interestingly, in the participatory design model I'm more familiar with on the Web and in collaborative project design, the fundamental issues are different.

Foot in the Door: A Powerful Participatory Exhibit

Museum 2.0

While there, I was lucky to get to experience a highly participatory exhibition that the MIA mounts once a decade: Foot in the Door. This makes it harder for new modes of visitor engagement or content presentation to gain traction, as projects are judged by their institutional culture fit rather than their ability to yield great visitor outcomes. Tags: exhibition design participatory museum usercontent

What Could Kill an Elegant, High-Value Participatory Project?

Museum 2.0

It's my "artistic rendering" of one of the most inspirational participatory projects I know of--the Bibliotheek Haarlem Oost book drops. Too often, cultural institutions design participatory projects that require visitors to learn new tools or make sacrifices to contribute. After I got over my shock (and the urge to delete the email), I realized that this depressing coda is a great illustration of the challenges of sustaining participatory projects.

Participatory Internships in Santa Cruz this School Year

Museum 2.0

I'm particularly excited about two internships that relate to participatory exhibition design. First, there is the Participatory Exhibit Design Internship. These interns work with our curatorial team to develop interactive and participatory components for upcoming exhibitions. We are always looking for interns with strong graphic/3D design skills; the best interns can help us plan exhibits, design labels, AND learn to develop terrific participatory experiences for visitors.

Trainer’s Notebook: The Digital Nonprofit: A Participatory Workshop

Beth Kanter

There are different ways to design a participatory workshop. A more participatory approach, and one that Allen Gunn uses, is to crowdsource provocative questions from participants. Culture and mindset (governance): We have digital expertise within the senior leadership team and board of trustees. If you are looking for some simple participatory exercises to make your workshop more interactive, I recommend Thiagi’s book, Training Games.

Book Announcement: The Participatory Museum is now available!

Museum 2.0

The Participatory Museum is a practical guide to visitor participation. The Participatory Museum is an attempt at providing such a resource. I hope it opens up a broader conversation about the nuts and bolts of successful participatory projects. The second half focuses on participation in practice, looking in detail at ways that institutions can involve visitors while staying true to their mission and staff culture. Tags: participatory museum Quick Hits Hey kid!

What I Learned from Beck (the rock star) about Participatory Arts

Museum 2.0

Beck''s project is unusual because he deliberately resurrected a mostly-defunct participatory platform: sheet music for popular songs. In his thoughtful preface to this project, I reconnected with five lessons I''ve learned from participatory projects in museums and cultural sites. In my experience, the best participatory experiences are as constrained and clear as possible in the invitation offered, and as open-ended as possible in the outcome generated.

Thoughts on 3six5, a Successful Participatory Project

Museum 2.0

Yesterday, I had the delightful opportunity to participate in the 3six5 project , a yearlong participatory project in which 365 people write 365 journal entries for every day of 2010. 3six5 has all the hallmarks of a good participatory project: It offers an enjoyable activity that is scaffolded by simple specifications without prescribing any particular result.

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. Tags: Book: The Participatory Museum

The Participatory Nonprofit?

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

Another point of intersection here for me is Henry Jenkins recently published 72-page white paper " Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century." A participatory culture is also one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection to one another. Some argue that young people acquire these key skills by interacting with popular culture.

Why Are So Many Participatory Experiences Focused on Teens?

Museum 2.0

Over the past year, I've noticed a strange trend in the calls I receive about upcoming participatory museum projects: the majority of them are being planned for teen audiences. And while I enjoy working with youth and consuming their creations as a museum visitor, I'd like to call into question the idea that they are or should be the primary audience for participatory experiences. Why are teens over-represented in participatory projects?

What Do You Need to Make the Argument for Participatory Design?

Museum 2.0

As many of you know, I’m writing a book about participatory design for museums. The book is intended to be a practical guide to participatory museum experiences focused on design strategies, case studies, and activities. I believe that demystifying participatory design and encouraging professionals to try it is the most important step towards its evolution as a museum practice. The WHY of participatory design is really important.

Get on the Bus: How Mass Transit Design Affects Participatory Potential

Museum 2.0

Specifically, we analyze the relative social behavior of people on buses versus those on trains, and look for clues as to what design elements contribute to different kinds of participatory behavior. Even I, who never rode a school bus, can identify with that cultural experience. Buses don't employ drivers or operate on city streets to improve the comfort and participatory experience of riding. Tags: participatory museum Unusual Projects and Influences comfort

Henry Jenkins discusses participatory media in Second Life

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

I just received my copy of Henry Jenkin's Convergence Culture which has been on my list ever since I heard him speak at the launch of the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Learning and Media Initiative. ve created something that has some impact in the culture. I'm hoping to get a chance to finish during some much needed down time.

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

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. Here are four surprising things Oldenburg describes about third places—characteristics I think would be quite difficult for cultural institutions to assume: The primary attraction of a third place is the patrons, not the décor, the hosts, or the activities provided by management.

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Case Study: A Participatory Road Trip takes the SJMA on a Wild Ride

Museum 2.0

Reason #258 I'm glad to live in California: Cultural Connections. Cultural Connections is a group of museum professionals who meet up a few times a year and host excellent programs on a variety of topics. I was captivated by Chris Alexander 's story about participatory online/onsite efforts at the San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA). After all, as naysayers of participatory design often remind me, the museum is not a popularity contest.

Community Science Workshops and Shared Authorship of Space: Interview with Emilyn Green

Museum 2.0

Do you think there is also a cultural/ethnic aspect to the kind of access and design you use? I feel very careful talking about the ways that the particular populations who we choose to work with for social justice reasons are also the people who make our work possible because of cultural expectations. For example, the Exploratorium is an extraordinarily participatory museum, but it''s not nearly as participatory as a Community Science Workshop.

Platform Power: Scaling Impact

Museum 2.0

This argument became one of the foundations of The Participatory Museum. Traditionally, museums and cultural organizations offer programs. This is the participatory platform model. Now that we've opened Abbott Square , we have a goal to offer free cultural programming almost every day of the week. design exhibition inclusion institutional change Museum of Art and History participatory museum programs relationships

The 2016 - 2017 Best Nonprofit Conferences Calendar

EveryAction

The Digital Media and Learning Conference is meant to be an inclusive, international and annual gathering of scholars and practitioners in the field, focused on fostering interdisciplinary and participatory dialogue and linking theory, empirical study, policy, and practice. Transformative keynote speakers, compelling educational sessions and unbeatable networking opportunities will leave your Y awash in experiences to inspire and strengthen the philanthropic culture of your YMCA.

Where's the Community in the Crowd? Framing and the Wall Street Journal's "Everybody's a Curator"

Museum 2.0

I meet them doing research in the archives, collaborating on cultural festivals, and contributing stories to exhibitions. The whole process of being interviewed for the story made me question the stories we tell and words we use to describe participatory work. What is the metaphor for participatory arts? Phrases like “community engagement” or “participatory” or “social practice” are not strong enough. Projects participatory museum

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

Museum 2.0

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. I had just started at the MAH as the new executive director. The museum was in huge financial trouble.

Guest Post by Jasper Visser: Storytelling for Social Cohesion at Story House Belvédère

Museum 2.0

This small, startup cultural project in Rotterdam works directly and intimately with community members to share their stories. It is a platform for social bridging and cultural exchange. In its short existence (it opened in 2013), the place has made a name for itself as a successful community-driven, innovative cultural initiative. I visited Story House Belvédère as part of the new Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museum Projects I am involved in.

Participation, Contemplation, and the Complexity of "And"

Museum 2.0

We need translators within each cultural context. Our museum in Santa Cruz has been slammed by those who believe participatory experiences have gone too far. We always knew that the inclusion of participatory and community-centered practices in arts institutions was controversial. To me, the backlash against participatory and community-centered experiences is not surprising. I''ve always understood that participatory experiences are not for everyone.

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. What if historic arts experiences were actually a lot more participatory? In In and Out of the Dark [pdf] , Colby College professor Lynne Conner argues convincingly that the current refinement of the Western fine arts experience is an aberrant blip in a long history of participatory audience engagement.

Answers to the Ten Questions I am Most Often Asked

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). In 2008 and 2009, there were many conference sessions and and documents presenting participatory case studies, most notably Wendy Pollock and Kathy McLean's book Visitor Voices in Museum Exhibitions.

What is the Turkey and the Bread (or the Sourdough Starter) of the MAH?

Museum 2.0

I attended because I'm seeking new ways to share the MAH's model and support the development of more community-centered cultural institutions around the world. The starter is a living culture of bacteria, yeast, flour, and water. participatory museum Unusual Projects and InfluencesLast month, I went to an amazing training called the Skid Row School for Social Change.

Building Community: Who / How / Why

Museum 2.0

We had incredible success transforming our institution into a vibrant cultural center. We focus on people who are culturally curious, actively creative… but may not see a traditional arts institution as a place for them. culturally curious but maybe not inclined to walk into a museum. Doing this work in partnership with our local community, in partnership with people who have an affinity for active cultural experiences, we’ve been able to grow rapidly and tremendously.

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Does Community Participation Scale to Destination Institutions?

Museum 2.0

We invite diverse locals to share their creative and cultural talents with our greater community at the museum. Does community participation work for big cultural destinations too? The same is true for cultural participation. Here are a few distinctions between participation in cultural institutions by scale. That means offering clear, visible, appealing participatory experiences that enhance the destination experience. participatory museum

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Yes, Audience Participation Can Have Significant Value

Museum 2.0

For years, I'd give talks about community participation in museums and cultural institutions, and I'd always get the inevitable question: "but what value does this really have when it comes to dollars and cents?" I can't say that any one experience--working on a collage with other visitors, swinging on a hammock, discovering a participatory display for pocket artifacts in the bathroom--directly contributed to increased attendance and giving.

Temple Contemporary and the Puzzle of Sharing Powerful Processes

Museum 2.0

Looking closer, I saw that each seat had its own handwritten label, telling the story of the Philadelphia cultural institution from which it originated. design participatory museumThe first thing I noticed about Temple Contemporary were the chairs. Desk chairs and theater seats, sleek modsters and dilapidated stuffed things, a motley crew lined up on hooks around the room. They were charming, but puzzling.

Guest Post: Community and Civic Engagement in Museum Programs

Museum 2.0

Visitors bond and bridge through participatory experiences at MAH. MAH programs are also designed to bond and bridge visitors through creative activities that form participatory dialogical spaces where knowledge is enhanced, widened and deepened through meaningful opportunities for visitors to converse, discuss and collaborate with each other. The value of participatory experiences is epitomized in FIGMENT , a free, creative, participatory, non-profit, community art event.

Kids, Coercion, and Co-Design

Museum 2.0

There's a constant dialogue in participatory work about how to make peoples' contributions meaningful. 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. Thank you, Roger Hart, for reminding me of the range of participatory opportunities and non-opportunities a project can provide. youth design participatory museum

New Power & Social Good: Thoughts from Jeremy Heimans

Connection Cafe

Now, this might seem absurd and on some level it is, but what they succeeded in doing here was creating an experience that was so richly participatory that actually the experience of imagining the game was more important than the game itself. Advocacy Arts & Cultural Companies Faith Communities Foundations Healthcare Higher Education K-12 Schools Nonprofit Social Good Social Media

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Personal Stories – Arts Orgs Need Not Apply?

Connection Cafe

Participatory fundraising often starts with events that allow people to get involved causally with a small time commitment. This blog talks about participatory fundraising ideas and the effect of healthy competition. Annual Fund Fundraising Arts & Cultural museum This is a guest post from Anah McRae, Manager of Customer Support for Altru at Blackbaud.

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Opening Up Museums: My TEDxSantaCruz Talk

Museum 2.0

We can change that by embracing participatory culture and opening up to the active, social ways that people engage with art, history, science, and ideas today. Ideas participatory museum social bridgingI'm just home from a whirlwind of speaking engagements--Oslo, Denver, Charlotte, Roanoke. So it seems fitting to share my TEDx talk this week, one that was filmed here in Santa Cruz and which I have since taken around the world. The theme of TEDxSantaCruz was "Open."