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Developing a Participatory, Provocative History Project at a Small Museum in Minnesota: Interview with Mary Warner

Museum 2.0

Earlier this year, I was fascinated to read the account of a participatory project at the Morrison County Historical Society in Minnesota, in which community members were invited to write essays about “what’s it like” to have various life experiences in the County. I called Mary to learn more about this brilliant example of a small museum thinking in big and courageous ways about community participation in local history. interview participatory museum inclusion

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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.

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Live Blogging from Museums and the Web

Museum 2.0

For some truly great coverage of the Museums and the Web conference currently taking place in Montreal, check out the New Media Initiatives blog from the Walker. And next week, come here for a guest post by Bryan Kennedy from the Science Museum of Minnesota reflecting on his experiences at the conference. I'm loving my armchair tour from home. You can also follow the Twitter tweets here (and find some good folks to follow).

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Guest Post from Museums and the Web: Bryan Kennedy

Museum 2.0

Thanks to Bryan Kennedy from the Science Museum of Minnesota for providing this overview/reflection on the Museums and the Web conference that recently concluded in Montreal. I was particularly interested in the ECHO project and Bryan's comments about the lack of in-house technical staff in museums and how that affects ability to innovate. Museums and the Web 2008 guest blogger Bryan Kennedy here. If these trends continue museums will need to adapt.

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Anyone Who Says this isn't a Business is Nuts.

Museum 2.0

In the Netherlands, State Secretary for Culture Halbe Zijlstra slashed 200 million euros from the national budget for the arts, leading to the close of the innovative National History Museum project and crippling many superbly inventive and inspiring organizations like Mediamatic and the Waag Society. In Minnesota, the state budget standoff has closed the Minnesota History Center and the many other arms of the MN Historical Society. Museum of Art and History business models

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Sharing Power, Holding Expertise: The Future of Authority Revisited

Museum 2.0

letting museum visitors contribute and collaborate in museums), I now see this as a crucial issue also for more democratic and inclusive practice (i.e. The Future of Authority: Platform Power (first published October 2008) I have a lot of conversations with people that go like this: Other person: "So, you think that museums should let visitors control the museum experience?" Other person: "But doesn't that erode museums' authority?"

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Sustaining Innovation (in Many Different Situations)

Museum 2.0

Last week, I sat on the jury for the first Cultural Innovation International Prize given by the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona , and this week, I'm offering a workshop for museum professionals across Poland participating together in a "Museum Lab" in Warsaw. Paul Light profiled 26 nonprofit and governmental organizations in Minnesota in the 1990s, each of which innovated over time, changes in leadership, and circumstance. The second post , in which Museum 2.0

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Avoiding the Community Manager Superstar

Museum 2.0

Every time a colleague tells me her museum has just hired a "community person," a part of me cringes. When I was at The Tech Museum developing and leading the Tech Virtual community, I tried to involve a wide range of staff members in the online exhibit development community, so that we could spread out the interactions and relationships built between amateurs and experts. One of the community managers I most admire is Beck Tench at the Museum of Life and Science.

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Foot in the Door: A Powerful Participatory Exhibit

Museum 2.0

I spent last week working with staff at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) on ways to make this encyclopedic art museum more open to visitor participation across programs, exhibitions, and events. The rules are clear: anyone who lives in Minnesota and considers her/himself an artist can contribute one piece. All artworks delivered to the museum during the submission period will be accepted and presented; no one is turned away.

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Institutional Blogs: Different Voices, Different Value

Museum 2.0

Nik inquired as to how I feel about museum blogs. what's your take on museums that keep blogs? In general, yes, I think that museums maintaining blogs is an effective, cheap way to get changing content out to the public frequently. With a nod to Seventeen magazine, here's a flowquiz to help you figure out what kind of blog might be right for your museum. At the basic level, these are little more than an alternative mouthpiece for the museum's calendar of events.

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Visitors in Focus

Museum 2.0

Visitor (though, really my child) at the Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK As I said, last week, I’ve been to a travelin’ girl for the last couple of years. So, instead, I am offering 3 posts this month about what I learned from visiting more than 300 museums. Last week, I talked about what I learned about museum workers. Most full-time museum staffers are there on the weekdays. Thinking about museum hours, we are most open when other people work.

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Quick Hit: Art of Relevance Video, Podcast, and a Google Hangout this week

Museum 2.0

The Minnesota Historical Society made a video of my recent talk there. AUDIO - PRATFALLS PODCAST Immediately after leaving the Minnesota Historical Society, I sat down with Levi Weinhagen as a guest on his Pratfalls podcast. Levi is an excellent interviewer, and he got me talking about lots of things I don't usually talk about: living off the grid, finding my path, learning from my parents, being a mom and museum director, dreaming of being a ninja warrior.

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Into the Deep End: What's Keeping Museums from Telling Meaty, In-Depth Stories?

Museum 2.0

All this delightful non-fiction makes me wonder: why aren't museums great at telling these same kinds of deep, intense stories? This seems strange given that museums are organized around objects. When we experience intense depth, as in the Minnesota History Center's Open House , which explores the stories of residents of one St. One of the most surprising versions of this I have ever experienced was in a very small museum in Texas, the Brazos Valley African American Museum.

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Six Steps to Making Risky Projects Possible

Museum 2.0

Unsurprisingly, some of my favorite museums are small, funky places run by iconoclasts—but that’s not useful to most professionals who work for organizations in which they have little control over size or leadership matters. I used the example of two very different exhibitions that solicited visitor-contributed content: Playing with Science at the London Science Museum, and MN150 at the Minnesota History Center. Projects Core Museum 2.0

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Launching the First Wave of the OF/BY/FOR ALL Change Network

Museum 2.0

The First Wave includes 6 museums, 5 performing arts organizations, 3 public libraries, 3 parks, and 3 community centers. How do you build a movement for institutional change? That's the question we've been grappling with as we start the OF/BY/FOR ALL initiative. Our goal is to help civic and cultural institutions become more representative OF, co-created BY, and welcoming FOR their diverse communities.

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Coming to Your Town, The Art of Relevance in Hand

Museum 2.0

Paul, MN at the Minnesota History Center, 8-10am - Free! Register Now October 2, 2016: Brooklyn, NY for a workshop and book signing in partnership with Museum Hack, 11am-12:30pm - Ticketed! Co-pilot sadly not attending these events. One of the basic criteria for relevance has to do with effort. The more effort it takes to attain an experience, the less relevant it will feel--even if you know it will be meaningful.

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State Fairs and Visitor Co-Creation: An Interview about MN150

Museum 2.0

Traditional exhibition design, in which the museum has a specific story or message to tell, doesn't easily accommodate visitor co-creation. This realization--that a single museum voice was not the best way to tell a particular story--formed the basis for MN150 , the exhibition explored in this post. On the web, via the MN150 wiki, you can view the winning (and non-winning) nominations and additional historical content provided by the museum.

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Pointing at Exhibits, Part 2: No-Tech Social Networks

Museum 2.0

This can be an incredibly technical topic, as it focuses on the ways that platforms (online, exhibits, museums) can harness the individual activities of many visitors and create meaningful experiential outputs that connect people to each other. And it's brought me back to a blog post I wrote a year ago about the Science Museum of Minnesota's Race: Are We So Different? But designing an entire museum that functions this way probably isn't your goal.

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The #1 Skill Nonprofit Professionals Should Focus on in 2021

DipJar

Others are looking at no demand at all, and with it, no revenue, because their mission involved gathering large groups of people in places like theaters, galleries, and museums. Mary’s University of Minnesota.

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ASTC Recap: Questions, Colors, and Reflective Research

Museum 2.0

Exhibit labels in science centers ask more questions than any other kinds of museums, and yet the questions are often awful--teacherly, overly rhetorical, and totally meaningless. asked by a cop or mother, garners the full attention of asker and askee alike, museum questions like "what is nanotechnology?," IMLS also wanted to help museums and libraries improve their skills, both for audiences and for their own professional communities.

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How Do You Define "Community?"

Museum 2.0

Maybe you want to work with Hmong immigrants to Minnesota. Close your eyes and imagine your organization's "community." Is it a mist of good feeling? A fellowship of uncertainty? Does it have a human face? Communities are made of people, not rhetoric. You can define a community by the shared attributes of the people in it, and/or by the strength of the connections among them.

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How False Conviction Could Help Science Centers Be More Human

Museum 2.0

I cut out from the meeting by myself to check out an exhibition called Open House, if These Walls Could Talk at the Minnesota History Center. Contrasting that rich human narrative with the kind of gleamy tweaky technology narrative that was emerging from the NISE-NET meeting made me realize that generally speaking, science museums ignore many of the aspects of life that are the most resonant--mortality, sex, humor, tragedy, pity, joy.

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Design for Social Engagement: Pointing at Exhibits

Museum 2.0

Today, we look inward for a how-to on one type of participatory design as applied to museum exhibits. The photos above were provided by Paul Martin of the Science Museum of Minnesota from their award-winning exhibition RACE. But in the museum, the distribution method is more personal. Tags: design participatory museum What makes an exhibit “social?” How do you design an object experience that encourages participation among visitors?

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Quick Hit: Nina on the Road

Museum 2.0

Many of the talks are related to The Participatory Museum and I will have books for sale on all of these forays. Here's the list for the next two months: April 14-17 - Denver for Museums and the Web conference. I'm giving a free talk at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on the evening of the 22nd, and then a free workshop on the 23rd at the National Postal Museum on designing better mechanisms for visitor feedback and response. Hi folks.

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Juneteenth Resources

Media Cause

Various series on the National Museum for African American History and Culture Website —Explore African American history through digital activities on the Smithsonian Learning Lab platform.

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Leading the Participant

Museum 2.0

That said, I sympathize with the challenges involved in designing something like this--challenges we faced again and again when I was working on the Operation Spy immersive experience at the International Spy Museum. Remember the last time someone said to you, "this is entirely your choice?" Maybe it was your family saying you could pick the restaurant, or your boss offering you one of two paths forward.

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How Much Time Does Web 2.0 Take?

Museum 2.0

On Monday, David Klevan (from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum) and I spoke at the MAAM Creating Exhibitions conference about Web 2.0 and museums. framework, and David shared lessons learned from the huge range of projects the Holocaust Museum has initiated. When David explained that each of the Holocaust Museum’s myriad comment boards, blogs, and online forums is moderated by a staff member, the audience turned a little green.

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Sustaining Innovation Book Discussion Part 1: What Does it Take Innovate Naturally and Frequently?

Museum 2.0

The longer I consult with museums and cultural institutions, the more time I spend peering into people's eyes, wondering: do folks here feel able to innovate? To write the book, Light selected and studied 26 innovative non-profits and government agencies across Minnesota during the mid-90s. This is the first in a series of posts about Paul Light's book Sustaining Innovation: Creating Nonprofit and Government Organizations that Innovate Naturally. This post is my review of the book.

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ExhibitFiles: Interviews with Initiators Jim Spadaccini and Wendy Pollock

Museum 2.0

The whole process of developing an exhibition tends to get stuck behind a museum's doors. In the past two decades, science centers have been in the lead in the exhibits arena, and we think we have a lot to share--and learn--with other museums. Then there was the additional realization: if we're going to build a true community on ExhibitFiles, we need to have a critical mass, so we need to open this up to all museum exhibit designers. What happens to an exhibit when it closes?

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AAM 2010 Recap: Slides, Surprises, and a Banjo

Museum 2.0

This year, the American Association of Museums annual conference was in Los Angeles (my hometown). I hosted two sessions, one on design for participation and the other on mission-driven museum technology development. He started with museums as a "place to go"--to see things, consume experiences. Then, he moved to museums as a "thing to do"--to touch things, play with interactives. Finally, museums as "facilitators" of visitors' own experiences and interests.

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Two Years Later

Museum 2.0

Today, Museum 2.0 I started the Museum 2.0 blog in 2006 as a personal learning exercise about "the ways that museums do and can evolve from 1.0 I had heard some influential museum leaders raise the question of what a wiki museum might look like, and I wanted to explore that and related concepts. Two years later, things have changed for the blog--and more importantly, for the museum field. and watched the Museum 2.0 As the audience for the Museum 2.0

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What's a Virtual Visitor Worth?

Museum 2.0

Every museum has a number for its operating cost per visitor. Most museums don't strategically set this number--too many operating costs are fixed by building needs--but they can use it to assess how expensive each visitor interaction is and evaluate the efficacy of programs. Many museums are trying to think strategically about how to maximize value online in serving visitors. Many museums run outreach programs at a variety of levels of local to global reach. $5.33.

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Quick Hit: Meet Me in Philadelphia!

Museum 2.0

On Saturday, Bryan Kennedy (Science Museum of Minnesota), Jim Spadaccini (Ideum), Kevin Von Appen (Ontario Science Centre), and I will be reprising our annual Web 2.0 sessions come from all walks of museum/technology, this year we're taking a new approach. On Sunday, I'll be hosting You Can't Do That in Museums! Tom will be creating a live mind-map of the session and it should be an energetic creative delving into the negative space of museum practice.

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Groundswell Book Club Part 4: Customer Support

Museum 2.0

Why should museums care about customer support? While I’ve never heard of a museum with such a heavy call volume that they’ve outsourced their front desk to Bangalore, many museums, small and large, suffer at the phones. The reason museums resist peer-to-peer visitor support is fear of erroneous and unvetted information. Most museums don't have high enough online participation to sustain a major support effort. In the museum world, the questions are less clear.

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Visitor Voices Book Club Part 4: Starting to Listen

Museum 2.0

This is the final installment of Museum 2.0’s s book club on Visitor Voices in Museum Exhibitions , a collection of essays edited by Wendy Pollock and Kathy McLean. Ultimately, the arguments against including visitor voices come down to a lack of respect for visitors as meaning-makers in museums. But maybe that’s the sequel—moving from Visitor Voices in Museum Exhibitions to Designing for Visitor Voices in Museums.

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AAM Recap: Slides, Observations, and Object Fetishism

Museum 2.0

I just returned from the American Association of Museums (AAM) annual meeting in Philadelphia. I led two sessions, one on visitor co-created museum experiences, and the other on design inspirations from outside museums. Visitor Co-Created Museum Experiences This session was a dream for me, one that brought together instigators of three participatory exhibit projects: MN150 (Kate Roberts), Click! We already know that museums are afraid to be funny.

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Groundswell Book Club Part 2: Talking

Museum 2.0

Many museums have jumped into the middle level—producing their own content—without starting with commenting. Consider the path of the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Jennifer Caleshu, their director of communication, is a museum talker extraordinaire. What does it look like when a museum goes all the way to the top level and creates its own community for discussion? Both are museum-run forums for visitors to post their own content and opinions.

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Game Friday: Bigger is Better

Museum 2.0

What museum hasn't benefited from a giant blow-up dinosaur on its front lawn? Flying into San Jose yesterday, I laughed out loud when I looked out the window and saw Clifford the Big Red Dog below me, a cheerful addition to the skyline (thanks to the Children's Discovery Museum). For example, the image above is from a game called BUG (Big Urban Game), developed with the University of Minnesota, in which three teams of players in St.

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Visitor Voices Book Club: Loving the Love Tapes

Museum 2.0

Robert Garfinkle of the Science Museum of Minnesota commented at ASTC that the cacophony of voices from videos in the exhibition RACE make people feel more comfortable talking about the issues the exhibition raises, since they are in the environment of other people's words. The Pratt Museum in AK should be extremely proud of the fact that they created something their visitors thought was so valuable it had to be seen by others.

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Crowdsourcing: Measuring the Impact of the Crowd in Funding and Doing

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

Public Insight Network in Minnesota is a network of 75,000 people who help make Minnesota Public Radio News by sharing their observations, insights, and experiences with reporters and editors who may share these insights through a story or on the web site. Brooklyn Museum implemented a crowdsourced photography exhibit experiment called “ Click! Crowdsourcing 101. View more presentations from Beth Kanter.

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