Tuesday, 3 April 2018

VISIONS FOR THE FUTURE: MMSt 2018

MUSEUM INNOVATIONS

BY: HANNAH MONKMAN

Hello and welcome to a special issue of Museum Innovations! As the last installment for the term, I decided to go out into our student community and ask our soon-to-be Museum Studies graduates where they think museums are headed in the future. Asking, "what's next for museums?" I wanted to highlight the fantastic ideas and insights of our grads in all areas of the museum field, from collections management to interpretation, diversity and inclusion strategies, and even museum management.

I'm so excited to see all the passion and ambition coming into the field, and with such drive amongst our graduates, we may... dare I say it? ... change the world. 

Source.
Do you agree with these visions for the future of museums? Let's see what our grads have to say!

Collections Management 

"Collections Managers & Conservationists should be more environmentally aware of their material consumption (plastics, crates, tissue paper, etc.) when protecting, shipping and storing objects. I want to learn how to lead the way in best practices and show our colleagues it is possible to waste less!"
- Jessica Baptista 

"Widespread acceptance of the use of deaccessioning in tailoring our overgrown collections to those that best fit our mandates, allowing us to properly preserve what needs to be preserved for future generations. But, of course, great power comes with great responsibility."
- Emily Welsh 

"Collections that are accessible, not just visibly but physically. Accessibility to fit a variety of communities' needs. There is a tendency to 'hoard' objects but at the same time, we say museum objects are for the public. I think museums will start to move towards using the collection to better fit the needs of the public in different ways."
- Kathleen Vahey 


Interpretation and the Visitor Experience 

"I would love to have more interpretation that immerses the visitor in a given experience to foster empathy. I don't think we need to sideline objects as a thing of the past - let's animate them in new ways and facilitate interaction (digitally, using replicas, etc.) through storytelling. Within this framework, I hope to encounter/create museum content that explores the idea of "place" at the heart of an experience. Can places be artifacts themselves?"
- Serena Ypelaar 

Source.

"I think museums are constantly learning and introducing inclusive practices. This proactive programming is preparing the future of museums to be even more aware of and engaged with different visitors’ needs that have historically been overlooked. Now museums are moving in a direction that acknowledges that there is no “average visitor,” and every person that comes into the museum has different needs - whether they are mental, physical, or emotional."
- Aurora Cacioppo

"Museums need to start to incorporating new technologies to become more inclusive and accessible for a wider demographic. I really think that museums are in a state of change already; it's just up to them if they want to take the blind leap into something new."
- Breanna Stephenson 

"Museums are in a transition in two ways. Firstly, the museum exhibition experience is becoming much more visitor-centric with an emphasis on creating a meaningful and memorable narrative with defined and tangible short- and long-term outcomes. Secondly, and especially in Canada, museums are reorienting themselves to embrace and mobilize the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and continue to build better relations with our Indigenous communities. While it will be a long process, the results of this mobilization will change the face of museological practice in Canada."
- Bretton Weir

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Diversity and Inclusion

"Where are museums headed? As a graduating class we should be asking, where can we take museums? Things I hope for (and these are just a few) include: Increasing interactivity within exhibits and during general programming. (For example, the sold out immersive Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the AGO). Museums that are more inclusive and work with communities to represent their diverse publics. I have every confidence that my graduating class will be able to lead the way in this respect."
- An Eager MMst Grad

"Becoming more relevant to a wider and diverse audience. I’d like to focus on how this can possibly be achieved through programming that is more accessible and applicable to a wider audience. I believe programming is powerful enough to engage, connect and teach a diversity of people."
- Julia Zungri

"I think - or at least I hope! - that we're going to see more concerted and sustained efforts at incorporating diversity and inclusion into museums at all levels. Community-based stories won't just be featured in exhibitions; communities themselves, as partners and staff members, will shape how collections are managed and how the museum operates. For a specific example, I think that we'll be seeing more women in positions of museum leadership in the coming years!"
- Sadie MacDonald 

"It's hard to tell, but I hope to see changes for the better. One thing I want to see is marginalized people (POC, LGBT+, disabled, ...) who are working in the museum field being represented and listened to more, and given more leadership roles."
- Anonymous 

Management and Operations

"More engagement with environmental concerns across the sector, both in programming/exhibitions and on an institutional level: carbon-neutral operations and climate justice programming especially."
- Jennifer Lee

"I believe that we are seeing a greater movement towards specialization in all sizes and facets of cultural institutions. Whereas previously some museums and heritage sites were able to operate with passionate, untrained staff curating and attending collections, developments in curatorial practice and collections management techniques mean that this tradition is no longer sustainable in the competitive cultural market. Small sites, which had previously rolled collections management and curatorial duties into one hybrid position, are moving to separate the two into individual staff members to better handle the rigors of each role and to offer a more appealing product to cultural consumers. Due to the strain this puts on the limited resources these institutions have, I foresee an increase in zero-hour contract labour, allowing these sites to reap the benefits of informed practice while saving money during off-seasons."
- Dan Rose


A sincere thank you to everyone who contributed!

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