“An incredible experience!”: Full Report from Our July 2016 Boot Camp


Renegade Tours

Museum Hack specializes in professional development that helps museum professionals not only better engage with visitors, but also re-discover the joy and adventure that they are surrounded by every single day in their museums.  We help museum professionals develop skills that foster new, deeper relationships with visitors and celebrate the true heart of every museum: its staff and stories.

As crafters of unforgettable museum experiences, we know that people come first.  Our Boot Camps invite museum professionals to not only discover what visitors will love, but also what they as guides and curators love.  We empower professionals with the skills they need to turn their favorite objects and spaces into awesome stories that showcase their personal passion and their museum’s unique collections.  By encouraging professionals to embrace passion and fun, we open the doors for staff to become fully invested in their institutions and connect with their audience in truly human ways.

Diana Montano during Audience Engagement Boot Camp 2016
Fearless facilitator, Diana Montano, is clearly very ready for our new crop of Boot Campers!

In July, our latest cohort of Boot Campers descended on the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a fun-filled weekend of learning modern techniques for audience development and engagement!  These passionate individuals were ready to re-imagine their museums and upgrade their careers with new skills on engaging audiences – while exploring some of the greatest museums on earth.

Step One: Experience

Our July 2016 Boot Camp kicked off with an introduction to Museum Hack from the visitor perspective.  After quick introductions, we whisked Boot Camp participants on a whirlwind tour of the American Museum of Natural History.  Approaching the museum from the visitor perspective first, and viewing the museum as outsiders, empowered our campers to experience our methods in the same way that our guests do.  This “outside-in” approach has informed all we do at Museum Hack, and enables museum professionals to refresh their view on museums and their possibilities.

Next, we split attendees into squads.  Led by our VIP Guides, these squads received one-on-one interaction and the chance to develop their skills while bonding with fellow museum professionals.  Each squad was given a task: by the end of the weekend, they were to develop and present their very own Museum Hack tour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

Boot Camp attendees at the Met
Day 1 of Boot Camp! Our newest crop of museum professionals diving deep into our 5 Elements of a Hack.

Step Two: Learn

Our Boot Campers spent the next two days learning our methods for engaging audiences and creating dynamic, fun-filled museum adventures.  We began by discussing our signature 5 Elements of a Hack method for creating and telling amazing stories about museum objects and spaces.  After a brief interlude for dinner, participants saw the elements in action during their VIP Night Tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“The Museum Hack boot camp was an incredible experience! The intensity of it was welcome, and the pacing was planned well so that even the two long days didn’t feel all that bad. The chance to witness two different, full, Museum Hack tours was really fantastic, and gave a point of context for those of us who actually hadn’t seen more than a keynote, video, or heard a good story about Museum Hack. While there were some lectures, they were structured more as discussions and ultimately the goal was to learn by doing. It was a thrill to actually give a beta test tour for an audience!” – Heather C.

Boot Camp participants discussing potential tour routes.
Boot Camp participants discussing potential tour routes.

On Saturday, Boot Camp participants were back in action!  We led participants through workshops that delved deep into our Hack methodology for creating dynamic tours, including:

  • Using activities, pacing, and varied types of pieces to engage audiences;
  • How language and scaffolding of tour elements can help fight “museum fatigue” and invite visitors to share their feelings; and
  • Developing exploratory games and activities that give visitors fun missions while integrating technology and social exchanges into the tour experience.

After a full day of training, it was time to set the squads loose!  Accompanied by their VIP Guide leaders, participants spent the evening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to brainstorm and create their very own Museum Hack tour based on their personal passions.

Boot Camp participants learning VIP sensibilities and showcasing their unique finds.
Boot Camp participants learning VIP sensibilities and showcasing their unique finds.

Step Three: Hack!

Sunday morning dawned, and it was time for our Boot Campers to showcase their new tour style!  After a practice round of tours with fellow campers and Museum Hack staff, each squad led their own public tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for an audience of actual Museum Hack guests.  The attendees presented their freshly-crafted hacks and activities to our beta testers, who provided feedback to help our campers continue to refine their skills.

Afterwards, our newly minted guides gathered for feedback with their squad and had celebratory coffee with our senior staff members.  We also discussed takeaways, giving each professional tips and tricks that they could immediately turnkey at their museums to address their unique challenges.

“I had a fantastic time and returned to my job re-energized and ready to bring Museum Hack techniques into our little museum!” – Abby M.

Boot Camp participant at the Met, exhausted
“Our intensive 3-day museum professional Boot Camp is almost over. We’re inspired. We’re motivated. We’re exhausted.”

We had an amazing time hosting the July cohort of our Boot Camp!  We loved meeting museum professionals from around the world and helping advance the vision of the museum of the future as an engaging, educational, and entertaining space for all visitors. 

Best of all? We’re hosting more Boot Camps in 2017!  Tickets are limited – reserve yours now:

Eventbrite - Museum Hack Boot Camps in NYC 2016 & 2017

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