First a definition: Museums also including art galleries, national trust, estates, etc. Second a statement: No one has money. Funding, worldwide is an issue.
In the last week I’ve been repeating myself regarding museums, funding, tech, etc. so felt it might be worth a quick post to link to when the discussion is brought up again (probably sooner rather than later … sadly).
Museums, as a global sector, are incredible at sharing. We all know this – whether it’s curators sharing their knowledge or the digital/tech team sharing their know-how – there are articles after articles of fascinating and brilliant case studies.
The sector also loves to share their opinion – and for this I’m talking about admission fees but really the topic could be how to run social media, tech equipment that is best or how to display for maximum response. I even said that most of the wow-factor of sharing at a conference has been removed because everyone blogs/talks/shares about it before the conference (however, the ability to talk to the people one-to-one is a main reason to attend so conferences still do have a place!).
The point: We have to stop assuming we can paint all museums with the same brush. PLEASE.
Each collection, each mission, each town/city/county/state/country is unique. There is no one solution that will match everyone so lets stop with this pedestal mentality of glorifying one case study or report over another. Lets learn from them, lets pick them a part to rebuild to purpose-fit for another museum but lets stop with this train of thought that because X is doing it it has to be the only way.
What the public love about museums is their individuality so why are we trying to put a mass-market approach to solutions? Digital and tech might be great for some museums (see Cooper Hewitt and Museo Prado) but not for all (see John Soane Museum). Admission fees might work for some museums (see Met) but not for all (see most nationals in UK).
We’re a creative industry – lets remember this when striving to make impact with the public. There is an ethos to learning that I’ve always taught my daughter:
a) use the resources around you.
b) take what you need to learn and throw the rest back – it’ll still be there should you need it.
Museums should take the learning from these wonderful case studies but not try to mimic or feel the need to copy. And please, stop comparing. A solution for one does not equate an answer for another.
Lets celebrate our individuality while growing strong as a sector and lets make 2015 the year of positive Museum stories!
PS One last plug about #MuseumSelfie day on January 21 2015. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.