For the first time ever MuseumNext moved from Europe to the states with wonderful host the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I always knew this was going to be something special but both MuseumNext and IMA outdid even my expectations! A very special thank you to Scott Stulen, Silvia Filippini Fantoni from IMA and Jim Richardson and Kala Preston for managing to pull off the best conference to date!
As always, MuseumNext is more than ‘just a conference’. The fringe, networking and fun around the one (but really two days…) conference. Am I bias about MuseumNext? Of course! But it’s like a family to me – even though the delegates change there is always a warmth and familiarness with MuseumNext.
The theme for IMA was ‘Building Inclusive Museums’. My one large takeaway was this: inclusive is a very diverse word. It has many meanings to many people in many cultures in different ways.
I was thrilled and honoured to run MuseumCamp as part of the fringe at The Children’s Museum thanks to Lori Phillips and her wonderful team. The setting was amazing – Ruby Bridges classroom. For those who don’t know who she is or why this mattered see here.
I have to admit – the museum was too enticing for us and after a very in-depth first half of discussions including empathy, we played a bit of hookie and went exploring in the museum. We left MuseumCamp not with actions or answers but that is never the point – starting discussions and building relationships is the key. The actions can come afterwards.
Test It Lab
IMA set up a Test It Lab for us to see the prototyping process. The idea was to take us (the visitor) through the evaluation, testing process that IMA uses. This prototyping helps the museum test interpretations and more to ensure they take visitor feedback and do something with it – usually on the same exhibition as it’s live!
The line-up for IMA MuseumNext was incredible – the balance of Europeans, Canadian and US speakers really allowed for assorted conversations. From LGBT, community blogging, audience development, membership, storytelling and more – each speaker shared a way for museums and galleries to be more inclusive. Some more tactile than other but all rather clever with scalable ideas.
I could try to share the messages from each of the speakers but really it’s best if you see their videos (see all videos here):
The following are the tweets from me (not the whole hashtag):