Here's for you a summery of the beautiful report ‘TrendsWatch 2012' from the Centre for the Future of Museums. I give you the seven highlights trends that the Centre believe are highly significant to museums and their communities.
1. Harnessing the Crowd
Crowdsourcing is more than just interactivity or public feedback. Input from the crowd ranges from a simple sharing of opinions—for example, inviting the public to help select exhibit content or pick a new logo to reflect the museum’s identity—to learning new skills and engaging in real work. The expertise contributed by participants can be personal (e.g., identifying friends or family members in historic photographs) or highly skilled and specialized (e.g., identifying species of plants or animals). In many fields there are already “crowds” of skilled workers (genealogists, birders, backyard astronomers, costume buffs, graphics geeks) ready and eager to contribute their time.
2. Now with taxes!
Museums have traditionally been tax exempt, reaping, in effect, tax support in return for operating in the public interest. Now, with government at all levels desperately seeking new income sources, and museums being cast as “luxuries” or “amenities” rather than essential public goods, that deal is increasingly being called into question.
3. Takin’ It to the Streets
Community encounters can take place beyond the walls of museums. From pop-up retail spaces and wandering food trucks to mobile museums and outdoor exhibits in unexpected places, all sorts of purveyors are finding new ways to meet their patrons—or encounter new ones—outside the confines of their traditional physical locations.
What does this mean for society?
Takin’ It to the Streets represents the confluence of several different social and economic trends: a weakened economy that makes it more difficult to attract paying customers yet easier to set up temporary, low-cost, low-risk experiential sites; a general loosening of cultural authority (“I don’t need a high-end store, a gourmet restaurant or a museum to tell me where to consume my culture”); and a revival of localisms (“I like experiences that take place in my own neighbourhood—or even my own backyard”).Exemple: The Guggenheimlab, a mobile laboratory traveling around the world to inspire innovative ideas for urban life.
|The BMW Guggenheim Lab|
4. Alternative Funding
New forms of philanthropy exploit the potential of social networking tools and distributed technology. The ongoing financial crisis means that museums (and other nonprofits) are scrambling for funds. Some museums are deploying the traditional tactics: increasing ticket prices, turning to their own collections for exhibits and (when stressed) even selling items from their collections to cover operating expenses. Other museums are becoming more entrepreneurial, experimenting with pop-up retail, partnering with for-profits to market their goods or starting for-profit ventures of their own.
5. Creative Aging
An aging population presents museums with both challenges (of retention and access) and opportunities (for enhancing visitors’ health, well-being and lifelong learning).
6. More Than Real
Augmented Reality offers new ways for museums to enhance experiences for visitors and non-visitors alike. As Augmented Reality becomes a mainstream technology, museums have a chance to take the lead in developing AR applications that provide unique experiences.
7. A New Educational Era
As formal learning methods are cast in doubt, the learning landscape is reinvented. Educators, employers and government need to rethink and rebuild the educational infrastructure, and parents, community groups and a wide range of civic organizations, including museums, need to be involved.