We love TED Talks. The ideas and passions that shine through them inspire us. So many of these talks are relevant to our everyday lives – including the work that we do with museums.
We recently came across filmmaker Andrew Stanton’s talk at TED2012 on “The Clues to a Great Story.” Andrew doesn’t just tell us the clues. He also shows us why storytelling is so powerful: stories help us connect with others across time and space.
We see this in our work on every tour. Our responsibility as museum guides is to help audiences make connections – with the objects and spaces they encounter, and more importantly, the people and cultures that those objects represent. Why? Because our guests come to us looking for meaning. They want to discover a museum that makes them feel and care for something while learning and having fun. And storytelling is the best tool we have to accomplish this. As Andrew states in his talk,
The children’s television host Mr. Rogers always carried in his wallet a quote from a social worker that said, “Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.” And the way I like to interpret that is probably the greatest story commandment, which is “Make me care” — please, emotionally, intellectually, aesthetically, just make me care. We all know what it’s like to not care. You’ve gone through hundreds of TV channels, just switching channel after channel, and then suddenly you actually stop on one. It’s already halfway over, but something’s caught you and you’re drawn in and you care. That’s not by chance, that’s by design.
On every tour, that’s what we aim to do: make people care about museums. Andrew goes on to discuss how his journey as a filmmaker has helped him uncover the elements of a great story. His discoveries are elements with which we wholeheartedly agree.
Watch the entire talk in the video below: