Reflections on the Future of Museum Storytelling Question 3: How can we best reach underserved communities? This question captures a key step to welcoming underserved communities into museums, and it makes me wonder how museums measure their reach into various communities. I thought the two projects funded by The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage were great examples of how stories of underserved communities can be highlighted, although I wish the author or the speakers had elaborated on who the audience of those projects were or how they were received. I can think of several different aspects of reaching underserved communities, and I wonder how museum professionals interpret this idea. Is there more of a focus on empowering specific communities through partnering with them, inviting people of underserved communities into museums, or educating people who are not in underserved communities on these communities’ stories? Or something else?
Question 5: How can we design community first exhibits? The community first exhibit at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History reminded me of Nina Simon’s participatory museum, and I wonder if it’s the same museum. I find it interesting that the goal of the museum is to tackle a community issue, which differentiates it from traditional museums, which may be established to showcase objects or educate the general public that visits. While a community first exhibit may be much harder to plan logistically with people outside of the museum being involved, that tradeoff seems to have a lot of value as I’m sure active participation in planning leaves a much more significant impact on those communities.
Question 6: How can a small museum, with a limited staff and budget, implement such grand efforts? Like the author points out, social media seems to be a great way for smaller museums to test out or implement initiatives. While staff numbers may be limited and renting out space or organizing physical initiatives all involve a larger budget, the space created through social media and an internet presence is much more low cost to operate in. If executed effectively, an online initiative could attract even more visitors, and if an online initiative turns out to be unsuccessful, the cost to the museum is also much lower.
Transmedia Storytelling I think the inFORM lends itself to several different platforms through which its story can be told. The main thread of the story is the machine itself and user interaction with it. Another way of expanding the narrative is to include video or audio representation of the ideas behind the technology from the Tangible Media Group. A big part of transmedia storytelling can be how museum visitors construct or continue the narrative, so in addition to encouraging visitors to interact with the exhibit, pictures or videos of their experiences that they can share online can also be part of transmedia storytelling.