Don’t let ReDS make you uncultured Visit your Local Museums!

This is one section of a report from the Center for the Future of Museums. See Museums and Society 2019 for the executive summary and links to the other sections.


With the rapid spread of ReDS and the rising cost of transportation, museum visitation has decreased, resulting in a generation of children who are missing the museum field trip experience. Visitation has also decreased as the result of restricted and irregular hours due to power shortages. We need to create a new way to bring museums to the public.

Help us face this challenge! Add your solutions to the following questions, and pose new questions.

How can museums maintain an internet presence during a time concerned with griefing?Edit

How do museums maintain relevancy?Edit

In his 2006 Museum News (AAM) article “[The Relevant Museum: A Reflection on Sustainability][1]”, Emlyn Koster suggested that museum’s ability to be places where the public could find meaning about their world were greatly lacking, and simply “laudable aspirations”. Koster stated that “a museum’s pursuit of relevancy correlates with its eligibility for funding”. His thesis that “the desire to be popular must responsibly be equaled by a determination to be useful” became prophetic in 2011 after a second collapse of world markets. By 2013, it took hold as organizations (and the public) realized they needed to focus on the common good vs. internal dialog. The dispersal and incorporation of this message by many in the museum world, along with advances in electronic social networks created a sea change in how museums engaged with the world. This new approach to making relevancy a standard in all museum content meant that museums did not necessarily have to acquire new collections or objects, but rather, explore and expose connections and context of their collections.

Thanks to the efforts of many museum professionals who embraced the social web as a tool for outreach and meaning-making, museums began change from the inside out. Many museums also became makeshift “[sites of conscience][2]” for displaced institutions and communities.

On a practical level, the [satellite site model][3] of bringing the museum to the community, coupled with the ability to tag and share collections meant that institutions were more closely reflecting the communities they served. Through outreach programs (such as science cafés mentioned [here][4]) and technology, the localvore perspective became a key component of any museum experience. This dialog meant that the institutions were constantly re-evaluated and reflective of the community. Thus, the geographical location and local connection served to reinforce relevancy on a regular basis, in addition to the new model of outlook.

Finally, given that institutions which “exist for the common good” are hard to find and struggling to survive, they have become by default more precious to the public.

What are creative ways to get people to museums, or museums to people, that help reduce energy costEdit

Starting around 2006, museums began to incorporate internet outreach as a [part of their programs][5]. As articulated [here][6], large museums and institutions began to create satellite sites, designed to serve and reflect local communities. Where acquiring new spaces was not possible, they partnered with local libraries. This decreased size reduced operating costs and allowed the larger institutions to use space for housing refugees when needed. Also, many museums took the model of the “science café” and applied it to all disciplines. This ability to go out into the community forged connections with new audiences and reduced the pressure for the large institutions to remain open for long hours.

How can museums provide a safe, healthy environment in a period of epidemic disease?Edit

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