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.

4 Important Membership Trends Every Museum Needs to Consider

Connection Cafe

It’s 2019, and a whole lot is changing in the museum and nonprofit world. That’s not to mention how strained museums already are in terms of resources. According to the American Alliance of Museums, the average museum has 6 volunteers for every paid staff member , a ratio which s oars to 18:1 in museums with budgets under $250,000. Adding to this equation, more museums are starting to unionize.


Sign Up for our Newsletter

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

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?

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. I''ve never worked in such a supportive, energized, active environment. A donor walked into the museum a few weeks ago, someone who supported me from day one, and she asked me, "why is this lobby still so cold and uninviting?"

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.

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.

What Does a Great Distributed Digital Museum Experience Look Like?

Museum 2.0

Museum technology nerds: this post is for you. I've been thinking recently about distributed content experiences--ways for people to interact with museum content (art, history, science, etc.) as they make their way through the world outside the museum. At the museum? While museums may cultivate curiosity, they rarely offer sufficiently clear, urgent use cases to encourage you to go through the drudgery of downloading an app.

What Does Audience-Centered Look Like? It Looks like Glasgow Museums.

Museum 2.0

When we say we want our museum to be "audience-centered," what do we mean? My career first got moving at a brilliant example of the customer-centered museum: the International Spy Museum. Many of my favorite museums, libraries, and zoos are customer-centered places. To be clear: I'm not a fan of all aspects of customer-centered museums. I believe that Dana's department store museum is best exemplified in the customer-centered museum.

The One-Look Virus and Immersive Environments for Teaching and Learning

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

SL will take longer to gel into a cohesive environment that has a purpose and a following than the explosive growth experienced by WOW. ve found the environment elaborately constructed but humanly forbidding. In reading Nesson's post, I was fascinated with the description of Harvard Law School's virtual court project: my sense is that second life is an ideal environment for mock trials. Where, if it all, might immersive environments be of value?

Techniques for Identifying and Amplifying Social Objects in Museums

Museum 2.0

I spent last week in the glorious country of Taiwan, hiking, eating, and working with museum professionals and graduate students at a conference hosted at the Taiwan National Museum of Fine Arts. It's not topic-specific; I've done these exercises with art, history, science, and children's museums to useful effect. When you're done, go on a tour of the "redesigned" vision for the museum with your colleagues, sharing your new creative ideas.

Querying the Environment: A Smart Model for Pull Content

Museum 2.0

In my continuing quest to find elegant ways to integrate technology into the museum experience, we come to interpretative material and the simple question, "How can you create natural ways for visitors to retrieve the information of most interest to them relative to an artifact or exhibit?" Pull techniques invite visitors to actively retrieve content of interest, rather than consuming content "pushed" indiscriminately by the museum.

Data in the Museum: Experimenting on People or Improving Their Experience?

Museum 2.0

Every few months, a major news outlet does an "expose" about data collection on museum visitors. These articles tend to portray museums as Big Brother, aggressively tracking visitors'' actions and interests across their visit. Even as the reporters acknowledge that museums are trying to better understand and serve their visitors, there''s a hint of menace in headlines like " The Art is Watching You. " Facebook is a completely socially-engineered environment.

Guest Post by Debra Askanase: Fill the Gap Campaign Crowdsourcing for Citizen Museum Curators

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

Photo by American Art Museum Note from Beth: This week I'm trying to understand crowdsourcing and nonprofits, hopefully with a crowd of other folks. The Luce Foundation Center occupies 20,400 square feet of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s space. It is an open study/storage facility displaying about thirty-three hundred objects from the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In essence, it is visible storage for the museum.

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.

Open Letter to Arianna Huffington, Edward Rothstein, and Many Other Museum Critics

Museum 2.0

Note: This post is written in response to recent articles about museums by Arianna Huffington (on museums and new media) and Ed Rothstein (on museums and ethnic identity). I appreciate that you write about museums, and by doing so, publicize their work and efforts. But I'm a bit frustrated by the short-sightedness of your vision with regard to the role that museums serve in society. Myth #1: Museums are about contemplation.

Children's Museums and Web 2.0

Museum 2.0

Last week, I received an inquiry from Mary Maher, editor of Hand to Hand, a magazine put out by the Association of Children's Museums , about Museum 2.0. Why, Mary asked, were there no posts about children's museums on this site? I did a quick mental scan, and she's right; with the exception of a few mentions of the Exploratorium and the City Museum (both of which are much more than children's museums), Museum 2.0 But children's museums are another story.

ISO Brilliant, Business-Oriented Professional Who Wants a Job in a Museum

Museum 2.0

want to move to Santa Cruz and work at my museum? We are looking for an obsessively detail-oriented, highly resourceful, financially savvy, culture-loving individual to be the Administrative Manager of The Museum of Art & History. You will work as the direct assistant to the Executive Director and manage the finances for the museum. Museum of Art and HistoryOr do you know someone who might be perfect for this job?

Doc 27

Guest Post: Top 40 Countdown at the Worcester City Museum

Museum 2.0

This guest post, written by Philippa Tinsley, Collections Manager for the Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum (UK), describes the innovative Top 40 exhibition they mounted in the summer of 2009. In my experience, museum professionals aren’t big reality TV viewers. This is, of course, the same reason why many non-visitors don’t come to museums. Each Monday morning we counted up the votes cast during the previous week and on Wednesday, the museum released a new Top 40 chart.

Museum 2.0 Rerun: What Does it Really Mean to Serve "Underserved" Audiences?

Museum 2.0

This August/September, I am "rerunning" popular Museum 2.0 Diane is both visionary and no-nonsense about deconstructing the barriers that many low-income and non-white teenagers and families face when entering a museum. Most large American museums are reflections of white culture. At one point in the discussion last week, someone from the audience asked a question about whether "nontraditional" audiences really need a different kind of mediation than other museum visitors.

Should Museum Exhibitions Be More Linear? Exploring the Power of the Forced March in Digital and Physical Environments

Museum 2.0

A cult of linearity has dominated content on the web, with implications about how we think about effective storytelling both online and in museums. There are real positives to linearity in storytelling, even in an online environment freed from the page. This makes me wonder: does this preference for linearity impact people when visiting museums? But maybe my disdain is based on the diverse and long experience I've had in museums.

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.

New Models for Children's Museums: Wired Classrooms?

Museum 2.0

I was fascinated by our discussion, and Bob came to mind last month, when I was asked to write an article for the Association of Children's Museums quarterly journal, Hand to Hand , about children's museums and Web 2.0. There’s a thriving debate about the role computers should play in children’s museums, with many professionals sounding the alarm about the negative impact of exchanging screen time for tactile environments. in her book, Civilizing the Museum.

3 Steps Nonprofits Can Take to be More Energy Efficient


Case in point: Having completed a number of energy efficiency measures, Shedd Aquarium took on a bigger project: installing a microgrid on Chicago’s Museum Campus, home to Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium. energy efficiency environmentAs New York’s leading personalized board matching service, BoardAssist is approached daily by New Yorkers who want to join a board where they can be a real agent of change.

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. I know I feel that way about the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles; I feel a bit of pride every time I usher a skeptical friend through the non-descript storefront and into a world of strange wonder.

Quick Hit: 2010 Horizon Report on New Technologies and Museums

Museum 2.0

The folks at the New Media Consortium have released their annual Horizon Report , a roundup of up-and-coming technologies relevant to museums, archives, and libraries. 2010 is the first year that the NMC has released a museum-specific report, but previous reports have been informed by museum professionals (as well as other educational technologists).

Take a Side Trip to the Denver Art Museum

Museum 2.0

This week, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) opened a new temporary exhibition called The Psychedelic Experience , featuring rock posters from San Francisco in the heyday of Bill Graham and electric kool-aid. Side Trip is an immersive environment full of interactive experiences that let visitors share their own stories of the 1960s, make their own rock posters, and explore the music and vibe of the time. It is an incredible museum experience. First, the environment.

Warning: Museum Graduate Programs Spawn Legions of Zombies!

Museum 2.0

and with it flocks of museum studies / education / exhibit planning graduate interns. I’m always curious when I meet these folks, who are about my age, choosing a different entry path into the museum world. The value proposition of museum grad programs is cloudy in my mind. Sure, it’s great to learn museum theory and history. But I have some big concerns about museums studies programs, namely: Standardizing the field limits the potential for radical change.

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. I learned to cultivate creative greed while working on Operation Spy at the International Spy Museum, where I was lucky to be working on a project that was so new to us that we didn't have any pre-established models or structures for doing it. What amazing thing is this designer or author or game creator doing that I can take a slice of and stick into my museum? I want that for museums.

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

The Tech Awards - Technology Benefiting Humanity

Beneblog: Technology Meets Society

Awards were presented in five areas: Environment, Economic Development, Education, Equality and Health. Tags: TechAwards Santa Clara Tech Museum Tech Awards A Guest Beneblog by Teresa Throckmorton, Benetech's CFO Walking into the Santa Clara Convention Center last night looked very much like so many other black tie events – but that’s where the similarity ended. I just attended the 2010 Tech Awards Gala Even.

Award 130

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.

Game 127

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 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. They are the kind of people we can't even get to the museum door, let alone through it. And thus this gets back to museum comfort in a more global sense.

Game Friday: Can Your Museum Afford to Play?

Museum 2.0

Yesterday, I turned in my keys and said goodbye to the Spy Museum and to Operation Spy, the narrative, immersive game experience I've been developing/building over the last two years. Adventure is also an interactive Indiana Jones-style experience; however, instead of sending visitors on timed missions, the Adventure environment and challenges are more free-form, offering a flexible visitor experience. Both offer unique, highly themed environments. Can museums afford to play?

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.

Creature Comfort: Where are the Couches in Museums?

Museum 2.0

In the final installment of Museum 2.0’s s four part series on comfort in museums, we get down to the basics: creature comfort. So for this last piece, we look at going the other way: making museums more physically comfortable. I visited a friend last weekend who works at a coffee shop in downtown Santa Cruz, right next to the Museum of Art and History. And on the walls, my friend explained, was art from the museum itself. Why are museums so darn uncomfortable?

Take a Seat: Beautiful, Casual Areas at the Taiwan National Museum of Fine Arts

Museum 2.0

When I was in Taiwan, I heard again and again from museum professionals: "We are very conservative in Taiwanese museums. This post is a photo essay focusing on an area at the Taiwan National Museum of Fine Arts called the Digiark. I was told that media-based art is fairly new to Taiwanese people and that the museum wanted to introduce visitors to it in a relaxed, friendly setting. I would love to explore traditional artworks in this kind of environment as well.

A Simple Argument for Why Museums and Cultural Institutions Should Care about Social Media

Museum 2.0

I spend a lot of time talking to people about social media--how it can be a model for real-life content venue interactions and how it can connect museums and cultural institutions to users in new ways. But the Web is changing into a socially contextualized information environment, and as that change happens, it becomes more important that people can "find you" via their personal social networks.

Museum 2.0 at ASTC: Come Tour the Best Tech Museum in LA!

Museum 2.0

The ASTC (the Association of Science and Technology Centers) annual meeting is coming up in LA (home of my childhood), and Museum 2.0 The fine folks at ASTC must have made a teensy oversight when they neglected to include my favorite tech museum in the conference proceedings, so I'm remedying the situation by sponsoring a conference alternative on Sunday afternoon, October 14: lunch and a visit to the Museum of Jurassic Technology. And if you want a more traditional Museum 2.0

Does Your Museum Need its Own Social Network? Case Study and Discussion

Museum 2.0

The presumed answer is "yes" your museum needs a blog, a pony, or a set of comfy couches. Does your museum need a custom online social network? Many museums have been experimenting in these spaces by creating institutional profiles, museum affinity groups, and connecting with visitors and other museum professionals individually. The Brooklyn Museum of Art is a great example of a museum really embracing these environments for community-building purposes.

Guest Post: Oh Snap! Experimenting with Open Authority in the Gallery

Museum 2.0

Visitor-contributed photos surround a collection piece in Carnegie Museum of Art's Oh Snap! so I was intrigued when I heard about a recent success from Jeffrey Inscho, Web and Digital Media Manager at Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. The museum selected and is featuring 13 works recently added to our photography collection. Each day, the museum prints out new submitted photographs and hangs them alongside their inspirations in the gallery.

The Tech Virtual Museum Workshop launches today!

Museum 2.0

This is not an analytical post (primarily); it's an announcement and invitation to join the new project I've been working on with The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA. But this is not just for The Tech; our grant mandates that this project be a service to the museum community at large. Second Life is just one tool we're using as a community space for museum folks to discuss and share mockups with each other.

Self-Identification and Status Updates: Personal Entrypoints to Museum Experiences

Museum 2.0

I've become convinced that successful paths to participation in museums start with self-identification. The easiest way to do that is to acknowledge their uniqueness and validate their ability to connect with the museum on their own terms. Who is the "me" in the museum experience? Museums are surprisingly poor at allowing visitors--even members--to self-identify and relating to them based on their unique identities. Not so at museums.

Missed Connections and Matchmaking: A Case for the Desire to Socialize in Museums

Museum 2.0

I've been thinking recently about the "why" behind encouraging social interactions among strangers in museums. After all, people visit museums in their own pods for a reason. This question has bubbled to the surface both because of some of your comments (advocating for the personal, contemplative museum experience) and the words of Cynthia Sharpe, an exhibit designer who has brought the message "It's not about you" powerfully to the table here at ASTC.