The Museum Hack mission is simple; we aim to reimagine the adult museum experience. But we’ve been thinking lately — how can we use our business model to benefit society? How can we spread a little museum love to communities that may not feel museums are a place for them?
This month, we partnered with the New York City branch of Back on My Feet to provide a pro bono tour and scavenger hunt for BoMF members — many of whom had lived in NYC their entire lives and had never been to the museum — at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This national organization uses a running-based model to encourage confidence in its members, inspire a sense of community, and provide support in members’ journeys toward education, employment, and housing opportunities.
The Back on My Feet team was looking for a day at the museum for their members with a focus on teamwork and camaraderie (in keeping with their slogan, “nobody runs alone”) and an upbeat, can-do attitude. We were happy to deliver!
Our tour guides worked with the BoMF team to develop a two-hour tour experience that ticked all the right boxes for their members. Last week, our tour guides met up with a group of 30+ Back on My Feet members, staff members, and volunteers to lead them on this whirlwind romp through the Met — part tour, part scavenger hunt, all adventure.
Our guides shared their favorite stories — including a story about running monks in Japan and Tibet and the story of the first ever marathon! — on the tour and sent guests off on a scavenger hunt, which asked participants to work together with their teammates to interpret clues and find as many items as possible before gathering again with the rest of the group to share their findings.
So how’d it go?
“Everyone who went was buzzing about it this morning, and a few members reached out to me on the phone, including one text that said ‘Thank you so much. The hack was so fun yesterday!’”
“Another member commented […], ‘I can’t believe I’ve lived in New York my entire life and never came here. Thank you for showing me this opportunity.’”
“You guys helped us not only learn and have fun, but create memories and inspired us to dig deeper and continue exploring what this wonderful city has to offer.” – Kat Frickleton, Program Associate, Back on My Feet NYC
It was an impactful day for our own team members, too!
“Like museums, organizations like Back on My Feet are critical to a compassionate, well-functioning society. I am thrilled that in this event we could combine the two.” – Tasia, Museum Hack CEO
“The experience of working with Back on My Feet was so rewarding. It was amazing to go around the museum with people with fresh eyes. BoMF is such a great organization doing such good work and I’m looking forward to doing more projects like this within Museum Hack!” – Harry, Renegade Tour Guide with Museum Hack
“It’s always a blast to show people that there’s more than one way to experience museums. It was especially fun to shake up those expectations for this group.” – Kylie, Renegade Tour Guide with Museum Hack
“I loved being able to share my enthusiasm [for] the museum I love with a group that may have never seen it before! When we talked about the history of the Marathon, a subject near and dear to all of us, I felt a spark between us ignite that was the driving energy for the whole tour. Fully delightful, enjoyable and I cannot wait to volunteer with BoMF in the future.” – Scott, Renegade Tour Guide with Museum Hack
“The tour with BoMF is exactly the kind of thing we should be pursuing outside of normal business operations. Finding ways to make museums and the stories within them accessible to as many people as possible should extend outside our paying audience to folks just like the ones we got to work with at BoMF. The guests were eager and excited and totally game, which made our job easy, quite frankly! I’m so excited to see how we can expand our outreach to more communities who feel like the museum isn’t for them.” – Elizabeth, Renegade Tour Guide with Museum Hack
And the adventure continues! This week, several members of the Museum Hack team will be joining Back on My Feet NYC members and volunteers again for a bright-and-early morning run in Midtown.
How, we wondered, can we use our business model to do good for our communities and make museums feel more accessible to all?
The answer, it seems, is just to run with it.