The Indiana State Museum hired Museum Hack to lead an audience development and training workshop with their fantastic staff. Three of our hackers, Ethan Angelica, Kate Downey and Michelle Yee, flew out to Indianapolis to hack the ISM. We wanted to share some fun photos and commentary from our experience with you.
“It was great, it was a fun day of playing around in the museum. We got to see our museum with different and fresh eyes, and that was awesome.” -Rebecca Smith, Public Programs Developer for the Indiana State Museum
MH: What did you teach at the museum that is going to revolutionize the way members of the staff interact with their audience? Ethan Angelica:I think we reminded the staff that it is absolutely OK to impart opinion and make personal connections with the objects on display. I worry that sometimes a museum environment demands an overly-reverential view of the objects, which detracts from the human qualities we all share with the incredible treasures in museum spaces. The staff took to our passion-based storytelling like gangbusters, and I’m already hearing that they have started implementing some of our suggestions.
MH: Can you tell us the one takeaway you hope you imparted on the museum? Ethan: I hope we helped the staff at Indiana State Museum to see their collection in a whole new light, and to think about different ways to tell the stories they are already imparting. The museum is a spectacular place, filled with strange and “hackable” treasures, but even the most experienced staff members need a good shake-up once in a while to keep fresh. I think we did that.
MH: What was your favorite part of the trip? (museum related please!) Ethan: Michelle Yee and Kate Downey created a segment for this workshop called “Drunks vs. Docents: A Comparative Analysis” and discussed the importance of the Giant Beaver to explain how we use language in a museum staff. It was epic and hilarious, and totally made the point.
MH: What idea did you offer them that other museums will want to steal? Ethan: HAVE FUN!! Museums are awesome, and the more passionate we are about them, the more awesome they become. It’s worthwhile shaking up your routine once in a while to ensure that the material stays relevant and exciting to you.
We had such a great time with the folks at Indiana State Museum. They were enthusiastic, dedicated, passionate and just f***ing awesome! Do you work for a museum? Would you love to work with us on audience engagement? Send us an email or read more about our workshops, presentations, and museum consulting work. Subscribe to our mailing list to get articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.