We read museum blogs, articles, and journals — a lot. There are so many great ideas being discussed by museum and cultural industry professionals focused on how we can better interpret our cultural heritage and foster audience engagement.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite recent articles whose ideas and insights are helping to shape a brighter future for museums. With the holiday weekend upon us, we think these are great museum reads to refresh and inspire you for summer:
What Do Museum Audiences Need Most? More Time for Play
Taking the lead from TrendsWatch 2016, Philip Kennicott dives into one societal change affecting museums: leisure time. The increase in “work-life blending” is affecting the workforce – both in terms of when they are able to visit museums as well as what they want and need from their visit. Kennicott explores why this is happening, and puts forth a call to action for museums to not only provide leisure, but to be leisure’s leading advocate. Read more here.
Should Museums Be More Like Constables?
We’ve previously summarized whether museums should be more like therapists, but this month we heard another interesting question: Should museums be constables? While investigating Newfoundland’s history for an upcoming exhibition, Linda Norris uncovered a time when the constable was responsible for keeping tabs on the social and economic health of the community.
As museums struggle to engage new audiences, Linda poses an interesting question: What if museums showed more interest in their visitors, rather than trying to foster visitor interest in the museum? Read more here.
Year Five as a Museum Director: Good to Grow
We love following Nina Simon’s blog, Museum 2.0. Simon just reached a milestone anniversary: five years as Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. This incredible institution has been at the forefront of change, leading the way for museums across the country. Nina’s reflections on her past five years – including lingering questions and insights into her success – inspire us and remind us that it’s not about the journey’s end, but about the growth during the journey itself that makes it all worthwhile. Read more here.
On Museums and Contact Zones
Following up on his previous discussion on museums as sets of opposing ideals, Ed Rodley reconsiders James Clifford’s essay on “Museums as Contact Zones.” With the increasing need for museums to be flexible, adaptable institutions finely tuned into the needs of their communities, are “contact zones” a way forward? Rodley thinks that Clifford’s model holds a key to the museum of the future, and we couldn’t agree more. Read more here.
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