Q&A with sgLEADERS: H. Beecher Hicks, III, National Museum of African American Music

Connection Cafe

Beecher Hicks III, President & CEO of the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) in Nashville, TN. NMAAM is the only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans.

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Q&A with sgLEADERS: H. Beecher Hicks, III, National Museum of African American Music


Beecher Hicks III, President & CEO of the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) in Nashville, TN. NMAAM is the only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans.

Music 59

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Why do we keep working in museums?

Museum 2.0

TL;DR A lot of really shitty people hate museums and hate that museums would even attempt social justice therefore museums are okay, maybe. It is well documented that most jobs in museums pay poorly. Many museums perpetuate violence against marginalized people everyday.

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Open Thread: How Do You Feel About Music in Museums?

Museum 2.0

Should museums play music - in public spaces and or in galleries? So I thought I'd open it up to the Museum 2.0 Pros for music: Music helps designers frame the atmosphere for the intended experience at the museum. You can pick music that helps people get into a reflective, active, or social mood--whatever you are trying to achieve. Cons for music: While silence can be oppressive, music can be distracting.

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This is What the Participatory Museum Sounds Like

Museum 2.0

95% of our piano users play music, beautifully. It invites visitors to make the museum better. When visitors share their brilliance, it brings the museum to life. I believe that every person who walks into our museum has something valuable to share. This is the participatory museum, played out loud. creative placemaking Museum of Art and History participatory museum usercontent visitorsIt's late in the afternoon.

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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.

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One-Man Bands and Museum Labor as an Access Barrier

Museum 2.0

He wandered around the big top playing music with his jiggered musical contraption attached to his body. I tell the story of the one-man band because I think many museum professionals feel like him. But, most importantly, few museum professionals have a free hand or moment. Museums rarely have the funding to replicate positions. Museums are for people, after all. But patrons are only a portion of the people in museums.

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.

Digital Museums Reconsidered: Exploring the Walker Art Center Website Redesign

Museum 2.0

I have a confession to make: I've never cared much about museums on the Web. When smart people talk about digital museums and virtual experiences, I nod and compartmentalize it as someone else's bailiwick. But I've never really understood what it could mean for a museum to create a website that has a complementary function to the physical institution--an entity in its own right that expands beyond the scope of the physical institution, programs, and collection.

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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? But for museum and art wonks, it could be. The Machine Project and the Hammer Museum have just released an incredible ebook documenting Machine's year-long residency at the Hammer in 2010.

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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. Music videos.

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.

The Art of Relevance Sneak Peek: How the London Science Museum Became More Relevant to Deaf Families

Museum 2.0

Here's one of my favorite stories about the London Science Museum and their work to make their science shows relevant to families with deaf or hearing-impaired family members. Remember New World Symphony, the Miami orchestra that used night club marketing techniques to attract young urbanites to classical music? That’s what happened at the London Science Museum as they worked to make their science shows relevant to deaf audiences.

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How Does Participation Work in Multi-Lingual Museums?

Museum 2.0

In the most extreme cases, I've talked to folks from museums that are government-mandated to provide all content in multiple languages who say they are unable to invite visitors to make comments because they'd have to translate all of them and simply can't dedicate the resources to do so. This certainly could work well in an art museum, where visitors can make art, or science museums, where they could participate in citizen science projects, without sharing a language.

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. Projects design participatory museum

Museums and Relevance: What I Learned from Michael Jackson

Museum 2.0

By a strange and lucky coincidence, I was at the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum (EMPSFM) in Seattle for a two-day workshop. EMPSFM is one of a handful of museums worldwide for which the death of the King of Pop is a very big deal. They staffed talk-back tables where visitors could write on butcher paper, and outside the museum, they put out boxes of sidewalk chalk to invite people to share their thoughts. Where were you when Michael Jackson died?

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Book Club Part 3: Museums Seeking Definition

Museum 2.0

This week, we look at Chapter 5 of Elaine Gurian's book Civilizing Museums , Choosing Among the Options: An opinion about museum definitions in two parts. First published in Curator magazine in 2002, this essay presents five different museum "types" and their distinct opportunities and challenges. Elaine believes that "know thyself" isn't just for self-help manuals--it's an adage museums need to remember as they move forward to make decisions intelligently.

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.

City Museum Video Contest: Cool Idea. What Happened?

Museum 2.0

Louis City Museum's amateur video contest. And therein lies an essential problem with this and other similar museum forays into Web 2.0: For those who haven't visited, the City Museum is part obstacle course, part art city, part shoelace factory. They have a two-headed snake and a bar , Beatnik Bob's, where you can drink a beer in the museum. They have a MySpace page , complete with music from the Talking Heads, and a blog (though it's not RSS-friendly).

ISO Understanding: Rethinking Art Museum Labels

Museum 2.0

But I’d been scribbling notes for an art museum label post for awhile, and then yesterday, the NY Times had a review of a new show at MOMA, Comic Abstraction. MOMA has standard art museum labels. When I asked an art museum educator about this (“How should I look at art?”), she said that I had to start a conversation with the piece. There are surely other tools and methods beyond labels that could improve my art museum experience.

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Book Club Part 5: Museums as Mixed-Used Spaces

Museum 2.0

This week, we consider Chapter 11 of Elaine Gurian's Civilizing the Museum , "Function Follows Form: How mixed-used spaces in museums build community," but first, a short and relevant note about my writing process. Specifically, Elaine advocates that museums stimulate and support "informal public life" through concious construction for diverse applications. Museums are naturally tuned to some of these but not all.

Is "Museum" a 4-Letter Word (for visitors)?

Museum 2.0

There have been some fun semantic jousting matches recently on the ASTC listserv about the difference between science museums and science centers. And earlier last month, the Museum of Television and Radio announced a name change to the Paley Center for Media. Despite the herculean efforts many museums take to offer accessible, cool, inviting experiences to the public, the word museum is still laden with the ghost of "don't touch" past.

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. The music was loud and angry. Tattoo parlors may not need museums.

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Museums and Libraries in the 21st Century in 714 Words (or less)

Museum 2.0

Dear Museum 2.0-ers, Next week, I'll be going to DC for a meeting convened by the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Museum and Library Services on "Museums and Libraries in the 21st Century." Over the last 50 years, public-facing museums and libraries in the U.S. While museums and libraries may be trusted sources of information, people increasingly prefer sources that are immediately and widely accessible for use and reuse.

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. There was funky music. And on the walls, my friend explained, was art from the museum itself.

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. To be eligible for the prize, your exhibit must be on the theme of "Art, Film, Music & Technology." But this is not just for The Tech; our grant mandates that this project be a service to the museum community at large.

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.

Personal Stories – Arts Orgs Need Not Apply?

Connection Cafe

million likes surely someone touting the effect of music and art on their lives can get just as many. Another idea – create an exit survey at your museum that asks simple questions like “what’s your favorite exhibit” or “how many times have you visited the museum.”. 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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Relativism, Multiculturalism, and Myth: New Stories about Modern Museums

Museum 2.0

What if witty cultural commentators reviewed museums the way they do music and restaurants? If Anthony Lane turned his cutting tongue from movies to museums? If Stephen Colbert "reported" on museums at times other than during the TV writer's strike? Political satirist PJ O'Rourke has written a maddeningly fascinating article on the Field Museum's new exhibition on Ancient Americas in the conservative publication The Weekly Standard.

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. 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. Instead, they've been driven by community members who see the museum as a platform for their own creative pursuits. We don't have to convince them that it's their museum.

Celebrating Women Leaders in the Arts & Cultural Sector for International Women’s Day 2020

Connection Cafe

Next is another role model of ours : Aubrey Bergauer , the Executive Director of the Center for Innovative Leadership & VP of Strategic Communications at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Observations from The Tech Virtual Museum Workshop, Month 3

Museum 2.0

It's been awhile since I've shared the progress of The Tech Virtual , the web and Second Life-based virtual exhibit workshop that The Tech Museum of Innovation opened in December of 2007. We'll be "closing shop" on the June exhibit submissions at the end of March, but we then plan to open up to the virtual community a much broader set of exhibition themes--both from The Tech and other museums--for experimentation and creative exhibit development.

Apples to Apples? Users in Libraries and Museums

Museum 2.0

On Musematic , Holly Witchey has rigorously recorded her recent experience at WebWise, a " IMLS/RLG/OCLC/Getty sponsored conference" on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World that was held March 1-2. Broun talked about SAAM's initiatives both in the museum and on the web to open up their content base for visitors to use in their own ways. To museum ears, this is fairly blasphemous--the idea that people want to use our content, not our exhibits.

Art Brings People Together: Measuring the Power of Social Bridging

Museum 2.0

I eagerly read about a new social psychology research study in which whites, Asians, and Latinos engaged in a simple collaborative activity--making a music video together. When the music video was focused on Mexican culture, the researchers found that the white and Asian participants demonstrated a decrease in prejudice against Latinos, both immediately after the activity and six months later. When the music video was not focused on Mexican culture, no such change occurred.

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Why Museums Need Nike+: Tracking, Gaming, and Architecture of Participation

Museum 2.0

In many ways, it's the IDEAL inspiration for museums seeking to create a pervasive, sticky visitor experience that extends beyond the visit and is not totally screen-bound. You get music, you get covering for your feet. In museums, we're often challenged by the question of how to track and provide a networked social experience without bringing more computers and screens into the galleries. I often get asked what Web 2.0

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Meditations on Relevance Part 5: Relevance is a Bridge

Museum 2.0

This summer, we opened two exhibitions at my museum that are highly relevant to local culture. Before the Princes of Surf exhibition, these boards rested deep in the collection storage of the Bishop Museum in Hawaii. After this "blockbuster" run in Santa Cruz, the boards will go back in storage at the Bishop Museum, where their relevance warrants preservation but little adoration. exhibition Museum of Art and History relevance

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Teenagers, Space-Makers, and Scaling Up to Change the World

Museum 2.0

This week, my colleague Emily Hope Dobkin has a beautiful guest post on the Incluseum blog about the Subjects to Change teen program that Emily runs at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. Subjects to Change is an unusual museum program in that it explicitly focuses on empowering teens as community leaders. We heard from youth program leaders at museums who struggle to keep teens engaged despite a huge amount of committed resources.

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Temple Contemporary and the Puzzle of Sharing Powerful Processes

Museum 2.0

For example, right now, Temple Contemporary's offices are packed floor to ceiling with broken musical instruments from classrooms across the city of Philadelphia. The cuts were so deep that school music rooms are full of unplayable instruments. 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.

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?" stories story museum women international

Your Official #18NTC Local's Guide to New Orleans


Located in the heart of the French Quarter, this acclaimed music venue was founded in 1961 to protect, preserve, and perpetuate traditional New Orleans Jazz. At Preservation Hall , catch nightly acoustic concerts celebrating the city's musical legacy with some of its finest performers. Voodoo Museum. The Spotted Cat Music Club.

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Great Participatory Processes are Open, Discoverable, and Unequal

Museum 2.0

Dan writes about the explicit and implied "rules" of participation for musicians that create great music both onstage and for the crowd. This is an issue we are actively grappling with at our museum. At many museums, the curatorial process is completely closed and undiscoverable --"don''t call us, we''ll call you." participatory museum Unusual Projects and Influences inclusion When I was in college, I spent almost all of my free time in the slam poetry scene.

Your Official #NN18 Local's Guide to New Orleans


Located in the heart of the French Quarter, this acclaimed music venue was founded in 1961 to protect, preserve, and perpetuate traditional New Orleans Jazz. At Preservation Hall , catch nightly acoustic concerts celebrating the city's musical legacy with some of its finest performers. Voodoo Museum. The Spotted Cat Music Club. Live Music.

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