Great Ideas from the Museum Field


Renegade Tours

We love reading news and opinions from the museum field.  As an avid subscriber to museum industry blogs and journals, we see these communities discussing great ideas and putting them into practice.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite recent articles that have practical ideas on creating more engaging, inviting museum experiences.  Read on to find out how you can put these ideas into practice in your organization.

Book with pages shaped like a heart.

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words: Tips for Telling Stories about Art

In mid-February, The Guardian featured an article by filmmaker Phil Grabsky about how concepts from film can help give audiences increased access to and engagement with collections.  What’s his main point? Storytelling is everything – and we couldn’t agree more!

As Grabsky discusses, well-told stories are what make films successful.  And a well-told story relies primarily on itself – with the actors/objects, technology, and special effects being supplements to help tell that story, not supercede it.  Why can’t the same be done in museums?  Audiences want to be entertained and informed – and stories give us the power to meet their needs.  Read the full article here.

9 Things Museums Can Do to Improve the Way We Experience Art

“What will an art museum look like in 10 years? How about 100 years?” As we continue to discuss the 2016 edition of TrendsWatch, questions like these are being asked by lots of arts and culture writers. 

Katherine Brooks recently looked at 9 ways that we can improve how audiences experience art (and, we think, museums in general).  Her suggestions harken to many ideas we’ve seen discussed before, including:

  • Reimagine signage and labels to be more inclusive,
  • Become sites for community building and coworking,
  • Increase access by revising hours and event times, and
  • Use “hidden histories” as an access point to delve into the juicy gossip of objects and reveal the stories of marginalized groups. 

These are all great ideas, but her last one is perhaps our favorite: “Make the overall case that museums are ‘worthy partners in the quest for wellbeing.’”  As Hackers, we know this firsthand: museums aren’t just where we work – they are where we discover, celebrate, and rejuvenate.  Museums have the power to transform not just communities or collections – but people, and how those people live. Read the full article here.

Lightbulbs are great ideas

A New Kind of Museum Guard: Know-It-Alls in the Best Way

As part of our research, we engage with a variety of museum staff to learn the untold stories of objects and spaces.  But by far, one of our favorite sources of information are the museum guards.  As Robin Pogrebin explores in her discussions with the Broad Museum, museum guards are not just “guardians” of culture – they are a key element in engaging with visitors and providing a fun, educational museum experience. 

Why?  Because museum guards know everything.  They come into their profession with an existing professional engagement or strong interest in art — and their passion shines.  Redefining a guard’s role to include “visitor service” can fundamentally change how visitors perceive your museum, like it did for the Broad Museum in Los Angeles. Read the full article here.

More Great Reads

Looking for more awesome articles that can help you reimagine your museum or learn about upcoming trends?  Check out more of our favorites from the past few weeks:

European Museums Adapt to the American Way of Giving” by Geraldine Fabrikant explores how government cutbacks are transforming the way European museums will be funded.

Want to make your museum’s labels and texts more accessible?  Check out Cleartext.  As Thorin Klosowki explains, Cleartext highlights any word that isn’t in the top 1,000 most commonly used words to help you simplify what you’re saying. 

How to Deliver Meaning on a Shoestring Budget” by Nicholas J. Hoffman explores how collaboration, color, and communication can help small museums develop high quality exhibitions.

Want help implementing these ideas? Contact us to learn how we can help re-imagine your museum with accessible, engaging stories in your current and future programming to bring in new audiences and re-energize existing ones.

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