Reflections on the Future of Museum Storytelling

How can we amplify the voices of the unrecognized?

David Eng at the Tenement Museum has a really unique approach to this problem. The mission of this museum is so linked to the physical space of the museum, but creating such an intentional digital space was able to effectively expand the impact of the museum. It’s interesting that they chose to expand their audience in the Your Story, Our Story project from those interested in stories of New York City immigrants to those of the entire country, and I’m interested in knowing more about the reasoning behind this choice.

How can we design community first exhibits?

I’m curious to learn more about the logistics of designing an exhibit with over 800 collaborators. The exhibit definitely had a positive impact on the museum and community, and I’m wondering how such a large scale project was coordinated and what it means to have been one of 800 collaborators on such a project.

How can a small museum, with a limited staff and budget, implement such grand efforts?

Small museums may be even better suited to telling stories. They are often already more community oriented than larger institutions and storytelling is an accessible and effective way to engage with local communities. I’m wondering if the “Me Time Mondays” project by the Philbrook Museum of Art is run by a museum staff or a member of the local community - maybe the project could be most effective if both worked together.

Transmedia Storytelling

The article emphasizes that museums don’t need to create new stories, but tell existing ones, and tell them in an engaging way. Such engagement is best created through transmedia storytelling in which mini components of the larger story are told through different mediums. In terms of designing an exhibit to present inFORM, multiple means of communication would definitely be effective in telling the larger story of how inFORM was created, how it is used, and its significance. A large portion of the story we are telling about inFORm will be understood through experiencing it - going through the motions of interacting with the machine, interacting with others, and watching the machine itself. However, text and video explanations and interactions will be implemented to augment the experience of learning about inFORM, how it works, and its impact.