As a younger professional, it is worthwhile to keep up on the latest and greatest ideas in the ever-evolving world of museums. There are a number of great, free resources online that we here at Philly EMP use ourselves and would like to share with you. One such resource is Nina Simon’s blog Museum 2.0.
My first exposure to this blog came by accident as a friend had recommended another article to me, which in turn linked to the article I’ll be sharing with you today. Since then, I have come to appreciate Simon’s passion for innovation in museums and try to keep up with her blog.
The Big Idea
This particular article, titled Put Down the Clipboard: Visitor Feedback as Participatory Activity, touched on two issues I was having at the Museum of Elfreth’s Alley. Our first issue was that we lacked a hands-on, participatory experience in our very small house museum. The second issue was that I was struggling with obtaining feedback from our visitors. This article led to an opportunity for me to remedy both of those issues in time for our Spring open house. When all was said and done, I was able to take the idea presented in the article, apply it directly to my museum, and see if it worked.
While the reality of volunteer shortage affected my ability to properly implement the photo booth idea, I still view this method as successful. Our open house event, which typically caters to an older crowd, finally had something younger visitors could get their hands on. Several visitors participated in an activity instead of just observing, I was able to gain some feedback, and I even scored new names for our mailing list! Mission accomplished.
A few weeks ago, the MAH Director of Community Programs, Stacey Garcia, came to me with an idea. Stacey has been collaborating with local artists to produce a series of content-rich events that invite visitors to participate in a range of hands-on activities. The events are informal, personal, and fun, but our feedback mechanism–onsite and post-event surveys–not so much. Instead, Stacey thought, why not make the feedback experience an activity unto itself? (Continue)