Museums and associations, they’re more alike than you think.
- Nonprofit mission-driven membership institutions governed by member boards
- Engaging audiences through education
- Traditional and hierarchic cultures
- Professional staff siloed in departments
- Risk-averse and slow-moving
- Striving to remain meaningful to a growing younger market
While volunteering in two different museums, I overheard many staff conversations: they worry about the same things we do. When I read the blogs of museum professionals, I’m struck by how much we’re wrestling with some of the same issues.
Many museums are experimenting with new ways to engage with visitors and the public — fun short-term initiatives, like the New Museum’s visitor tweet reviews, and bold long-term steps, like the Walker Art Center’s new website.
The online museum community has been raving about the Walker’s new site, calling it “a game-changer” and “a potential paradigm shift for institutional websites.” What’s the big deal? And what can associations borrow from their approach?
Like most museums, the Walker’s website was focused primarily on providing information about their collections, exhibits and membership. It was all about the Walker. Now the site is, in their words, “an online hub for ideas about contemporary art and culture, both inside the Walker and beyond.” They busted through their physical walls to start a conversation in the online world, where they engage not only those who might visit the museum in Minneapolis, but anyone interested in contemporary art and culture.
Please read the rest of this post about websites as industry hubs at the Avectra blog.