The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Nov 19, 2012

Museum 2.0's Nina Simon explores the participatory museum experience

Posted by Valerie Nahmad

How do you make your local museum better?  Nina Simon explores the participatory museum experience in a recent Museum 2.0 blog post. Click here to read the entire piece and see below for an excerpt:

Reprinted from Museum 2.0:

I like to ask myself this question periodically, challenging myself to find substantive ways for visitors to contribute to our museum. Yes, we have the standard ways--volunteer programs, board service, and community partnerships--but I strongly believe that if we are doing our jobs right, every visitor who walks through our doors should be able to make a meaningful impact.

To that end, our exhibitions are full of participatory elements. Visitors can comment on how we can improve or what they would like to see. They can contribute their own stories, objects, and creative work to exhibitions. We actively seek participation and develop structured opportunities for visitors to collaborate with us.

That's all fabulous, but it's also all by design. And when I think back on the past year, some of the most magical things that have happened at the museum have NOT been designed by us. Instead, they've been driven by community members who see the museum as a platform for their own creative pursuits.

Here are just four surprises that have invigorated the museum in the past few weeks

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