Transforming the Museum Experience Requires More than a Light Bulb and Groupthink

Workshop - register now

Tuesday, April 06, 2021: 4:00pm - 7:00pm - - Workshop

Shanita Brackett, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture, USA, Carolyn Royston, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, United States, Rachel Ginsberg, ,

There have been more times than not when a lightbulb moment of inspiration spreads like wildfire, is picked up by a conscientious group of change makers, then flops like a pancake. Is it because these well-intentioned group of change makers fell into the abyss of groupthink? Or is it because the creative juices were halted by soured thoughts of past efforts?
During this workshop, designed for both in-person and remote participants, a small group of change makers will describe a new path to success that they recently chartered when they reimagined the museum visitor experience and considered engagement within a variety of audiences and platforms. Convened in a virtual environment, from September to December 2020, these change makers shared ideas about redesigning museum experiences that reflect the truth and demands of the current times in which we work within the cultural and museum sectors.
The group met every other week in a series of meetings to 1) interrogate how museums interact with audiences (pre- and post-COVID), 2) determine the concerns and challenges of interacting with audiences in the future, 3) develop design questions and testing methods to help bridge the gaps and 4) share best practices from each participant’s viewpoint and experience. Their areas of expertise include curation, exhibition design, accessibility, visitor engagement, education, public program and information technology. Ultimately, their efforts led to the production of the Transforming the Museum Experience Toolkit.
This workshop is not designed to be a show and tell, but rather an introduction and hands-on practice to lead transformation across large and small organizations, using this same framework. Workshop participants also will experience the concepts and collaborative tools, such as Miro, used to support an exchange of ideas, brainstorming and permission to speak freely and respectfully in order to yield a tangible product, much like the toolkit.

Co-Authors and Workshop Designers:

Rachel Ginsberg, Interaction Lab Director, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Carolyn Royston, Chief Experience Officer, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Isabella Bruno, Exhibition/Experiential Designer, National Museum of American History
Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, Head of Public Programs, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery
Alexandra Cunningham-Cameron, Curator of Contemporary Design and Hintz Secretarial Scholar, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
Silvia Filippini Fantoni, Deputy Director, Learning and Engagement, Newark Museum of Art
Marie Foulston, Freelance Curator and Creative Director
Hannah Goodwin, Accessibility Manager, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Samantha Heywood, Freelance Consultant, Visitor Experience/Exhibition Design, Curatorial
Andrea Jones, Director of Education, Anacostia Community Museum
Adam Martin, Chief Digital Officer, National Museum of African American History and Culture
Katherine Miller, Senior Visitor Experience Associate, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
Liz Neely, Curator of Digital Experience, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Casey Scott-Songin, Senior Manager Data and Insight, The National Gallery, London
Dr. Lauren Vargas, Independent Researcher and Consultant