Friday, November 30, 2012

Making Museums Matter

Nina Simon has a well earned and hard won reputation as a passionate and unabashed "museum activist" on the international stage – and a rather successful one. Primarily, Nina Simon has been an advocate for community participation in museum programming in a 21st Century context.

Recently she presented a talk at a TEDx Conference [TEDx link] where she shared her experiences at Santa Cruz's Museum of Art & History and the story of how the MAH transformed the institution into a thriving cultural center by opening it up to its community

Furthermore, by collaborating with diverse groups, celebrating the uniqueness and 'placedness' of Santa Cruz, the museum both invited and honoured the participation of all its visitors. Accordingly, MAH has been able to increase its visitor numbers in a spectacular way through more dynamic participatory programing. It now offers a reference model for museums wishing to improve their standing in their community.

What's more to the point, MAH is now financially sustainable, and consequently more successful by any measure. The link to the 15 minute video below is well worth the time to watch it as Nina talks about the ways her museum members managed to turn the institution around (financially & culturally) and what worked. Clearly, what Nina Simon has to say has a wider application in other institutions beyond her own that are seeking to succeed in a 21st Century context.
A graph from the video that demonstrates MAH's current success

Nina Simon is the Executive Director of The Museum of Art & History @ McPherson Center in Santa Cruz, California. Prior to joining the MAH, 2008-2011, Nina ran a design firm called Museum 2.0 that worked with cultural institutions worldwide on audience participation. She also maintains the Museum 2.0 blogfocusing on ways that museums can integrate social networks, user-focused design, and etc. into our institutions ... click here to read more on Nina

Nina is also the author of "The Participatory Museum" a book that is gaining international currency a standard text of a kind in 'musueology'. Nina also presented "Discourse in the Blogosphere: What Museums Can Learn from Web 2.0." Museums and Social Issues 

NOTE: The 2010 United States Census reported that Santa Cruz had a population of 59,946 ... click here for to read more about Santa Cruz

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