Breaking Out of the Norm with the Brown County Federation of History Museums

Julia Kennedy - Marketing & Aud Dev Associate

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Established in 2006, the Brown County Federation of History Organizations is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting greater awareness of the Brown County Wisconsin area history museums and building lasting cooperation among member institutions.

With everything from the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame to the National Railroad Hall of Fame in the area, there is a wide variety of types of museums to choose from.

As an organization that encompasses many other organizations, it’s important to work off a common language and provide quality professional development to all team members. Brown County called us for help and we sent SF team members Kate and Julian to share our toolkit.

Kate and Julian from our San Francisco team head to the National Railroad Museum to meet up with representatives of Brown County Federation of History Museums.

Kate and Julian focused on sharing storytelling techniques and activity design.

In this workshop, which included members from multiple museums, we showed the group exactly how to weave stories that will captivate and engage their audience. With some simple tools to hone the skill of storytelling the group then got them the opportunity to try out their storytelling skills with the host site — the National Railroad Museum’s collection.

Giving this group of museums our storytelling method gave them tools to shape stories in their own museum, but it also a common language to use to create larger experiences and a strategy for coming up with new ideas. Storytelling is one tool that can be used to talk to the audience about a collection’s significance in an impactful and memorable way.

Kate and the Brown County workshop attendees!

While everyone is talking and telling stories, another thing tends to happen in workshops – team building! Even though most of these people have met before, they didn’t really know each other or interact outside of meetings, so our workshop was a great way to show attendees the potential of their own network.

Workshop participants from museums and sites all over Brown County practice storytelling.

So how did it go?

“They totally loved it! We got so many compliments and people stayed behind to chat us up. A lot of them were talking to each other about ideas and how they can collaborate on projects together.” – Kate

“This was a really unique experience to talk to a large variety of different organizations each with different subject matters and educational goals. Each organization took something different away from it but each of them thought that getting together with each other and playing around with new content was really inspiring and that they wanted to continue to have workshops like this on their own. It really seemed to cement them as a community of museum professionals that all have each other as a shared resource, and if they continue to build off of what we taught them as a group, then I consider the workshop a success.” – Julian

Do you want to create a common language and breathe new life into your network? Check out what our Audience Development Team can do for your association or group!

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