How to Create RAWR-some Adult Museum Experiences (Case Study: Field Museum)

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It’s the height of summer – and that means it’s summer program season in museums!  During this busy time of the year, many museums run camps, overnight sessions, and programs dedicated to engaging children with fun, educational activities while school is out. 

Yet, summer shouldn’t be just for kids.  What about the adults?  What programs can museums create to attract and engage adults that are educational and fun?

The Field Museum was looking to think more deeply about exactly what great adult engagement means.  As one of the world’s greatest natural history museum, The Field Museum has a renowned scientific staff, collections of more than 20 million specimens, and an engaging YouTube show that has skyrocketed this institution into millennial fame.  Yet they were struggling with how to define and develop amazing programs to further engage adult audiences and turn their online fans into museum visitors.

The solution? The Field Museum called Museum Hack to help them reimagine the adult visitor experience.

Zak and Dustin with SUE the T. Rex.
Zak and Dustin with SUE the T. Rex.

Hatching Cross-Institution Collaboration

Our team traveled to the Windy City to engage Field Museum staff in a participatory workshop on audience engagement.  This workshop brought together staff from disparate departments to share ideas and best practices.  We led staff through discussions of our high-level engagement techniques and participatory activities to help them reimagine how to incorporate stories, technology, and personal passion into every part of the visitor experience.  

Field Museum team gathers with Museum Hack
“Learning how to @MuseumHack today. Super fun. Reminds me of my days at #natronbaxter.” Image courtesy Brad Dunn.

We also customized the workshop to feature cross-museum team building, enabling staff to share their ideas while making meaningful connections with each other and fostering a more collaborative work culture.

“I only wish we could have had more people from across the museum participate!” – Dustin Growick

We also met with department heads at The Field Museum in a customized Hack Chat.  During this chat, we dived deeper into questions about our methods and ways that The Field Museum could combine the tools we demonstrated with their own programming to reimagine what a great adult experience truly is.

A RAWR-some Success!

“I can’t rave enough about Dustin and Zak. The workshop was a huge success and it couldn’t have been easier and more fun working with them. Quite simply… it was F***ING AWESOME.” – Jaclyn J. of The Field Museum

Dustin Growick with dinosaur head recreation.
Dustin with his “Bae”.

We absolutely loved working with The Field Museum.  Our visit was more than just professional development – it was an adventure into one of the greatest natural history collections on earth.  And it also afforded us an amazing opportunity to collaborate with SUE the T. Rex on our wildly successful #NaturallyPunny Twitter takeover!

“The Field Museum is truly one of the most amazing institutions with which we’ve had the chance to collaborate. We felt like pinching ourselves all week just to check if this was real life!” — Dustin

Dustin Growick, Emily Graslie, and Zak Martellucci
Dustin and Zak with SUE and Emily Graslie, host of The Field Museum’s popular The Brain Scoop series on YouTube.

Ready to reimagine the adult experience at your museum? Contact us to find out more about how we can help your institution develop fun activities and new audience engagement strategies.

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