Apr 11, 2022
In General Discussion
Attached to this post is an article titled, "Understanding Museum Visitors’ Experience: a comparative study" by Juan Gabriel Brida, Marta Meleddu, and Manuela Pulina. It was first published in 2016 in the Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development. Although the article is slightly dated (as most anything before 2020 may now be considered dated), it does address the importance of having a digital social presence online and using your audience to help create this identity. In the concluding paragraphs it breaks down the three key moments to focus on with your visitors interactions. "younger generations [visitors] expect to connect and interact with our museums and institutions before the visit, to gather information on why they may visit it." "During the visit, when they actively participate in the exhibition, through a wide range of activities....with photos and tweets." "After their visit....sharing their experience via social networks....but also leading to new ways of participation by the implementation of ideas that can enhance over time the identity of the visited site, as a cultural asset that enriches the wider digital community." I like this idea of looking at how your visitors are interacting with your site through social media platforms and thinking about that as a possible new 'identity' for your museum. At my own museum there was a huge exhibition of our founders sculptures about 10 years ago. One of these sculptures was a 30 foot replica of Marilyn Monroe and is something we have become known for. Since then the larger version of her has moved on, but a life-size replica of the sculpture is still onsite in a gallery that presents the history of our museum, its founder, and his work. Although the photos people took of Marilyn hasn't become the full 'identity' of our museum.....and the amount of times visitors ask "Where's Marilyn?" has decreased over the years....the impact that sculpture had on our social media sites did make it a permanent piece in his gallery. Are there any trends or things you notice in your museums social media pics that can help enhance the Visitor Experience of your organization? Have there been any changes to the 'identity' of your museum based on the online story that has been created from your visitors? Mention them in the comments if there is anything you see!
Mar 17, 2022
In General Discussion
The Inclusive Museum Leader is a collection of essays and insights from leaders in the field who are looking to improve the diverse and inclusive nature of their organizations. One thing I appreciate about this book is it does more than tell us why museums need to be more inclusive but does give practical examples on how. The chapters are a combination of traditionally written essays and conversations between the editors of the book. Here’s some of my favorite lines from the book that I either learned from or reflect my managerial stylings: “Even when things are going well, we don’t always take time to get to know each other. Because different personalities and work styles can clash, especially in stressful and uncertain situations, it’s important to make connections. The best leaders take responsibility for meeting people where they are and try to communicate with them in ways they understand. That means understanding different work styles, preferences, and attitudes.” (Robert Davis 282) “1.-Respectfully and proactively seek to better understand the experiences of BIPOC and other people who do not look or act like me. 2.- Listen and hold space for the voices and perspectives or BIPOC and others who have been traditionally excluded from the corridors of power in my professional and personal spheres. 3.-Carry and advocate for the experience of BIPOC and other marginalized communities of people in my job, civic life, and within my family (immediate and extended).” (Bob Beatty 270) “Many leaders start with good intentions. There is a desire to lead in a way that moves forward DEAI, decolonization, and antiracism. However, good intentions aren’t enough. And, even with the best of intentions, the impact can still be harmful. That acknowledgment often leads to fear. The fear often leads to spinning…and spinning can lead to anger, frustration, sadness, and uncertainty.” (Dina A. Bailey 92) Probably one of the main takeaways I took from the book and how to deal with DEIA issues at an organization is continual self-reflection. Have a monthly or quarterly meeting consisting of staff at all levels who are interested and passionate about these issues. My museum recently did an 8 week evaluation with a company called Tangible Development with workshops, lectures, and immersive conversations about our current regard to DEI and future goals to help improve it. The Inclusive Museum Leader went hand in hand with this training and all the current conversations about DEIA. Is your organization having conversations about DEIA issues? Are there any practices that you are doing to improve this aspect of your museum? Post any comments about those topics or favorite parts of this book if you have had a chance to read it! The Inclusive Museum Leader Edited by Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko and Chris Taylor, Rowman & Littlefield, 2021.