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SEMC Presentation (11/8/2012)

SEMC Presentation (11/8/2012)



presented by Philip M. Katz, American Alliance of Museums

presented by Philip M. Katz, American Alliance of Museums



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  • Some background on CFM. Note that museums typically plan with a 3-year horizon – while they expect to take care of their collections for all eternity. We want to encourage them to focus on the trough between three years and eternity – maybe 10 or 20 years into the future!
  • Scanning for different types of trends: STEEP = Society, Technology, Economic, Environmental, Political. “The combination of STEEP trends paint a picture of the direction and the expectations of the future.” This is the raw material for developing scenarios about the future, some of which are more plausible, some less plausible, more desirable and less desirable. The sweet spot is a combination of plausible and desirable, and the goal is to help prepare for that future.
  • Overview of big secular trends in the American population, which needs to be the backdrop for discussing any significant social institution (like museums). Note that some time between 2040 and 2050, the United States is likely to become a majority-minority country. That’s already the case for 4 states (Hawaii, Texas, California, New Mexico) and 13 of the 40 largest cities in the country (including DC, which I should have counted as a state!).
  • There is a clear mismatch between the people who visit museums today and the people who are most likely to be living in the country in 25 years. Museums need to do something about that if they want to thrive in the future.
  • Data come from the 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, which tracks cultural participation in the United States. In 2008, 25.7% of adults age 35-44 visited an art museum vs. 19.9% aged 65-74 and 10.5% of those 75+
  • “ Museum workers” includes ALL people employed by museums, not just professional staff (from 2009 American Community Survey). Recent grads data from IPEDS (Department of Education). Of course, the diversity of workers and audiences are interrelated and reinforcing.
  • TrendsWatch was our effort to give museums a manageable slice of the future while bringing together CFM’s weekly efforts to identify and compile external trends, new developments and innovations, and emerging challenges and opportunities for museums in the field. The raw material for this report was “scanning hits” from 2011 (mostly), so some of the trends may already sound commonplace!
  • For each trend, we laid out a description and examples, but also some targeted questions and action steps. I’m going to focus on just the three that are highlighted here in red.
  • Harnessing : Starts with the marvels of distributed labor. Who knows how many hours have gone into Wikipedia (much less Facebook, which is a lot less like “real work”). Q: How can we harness that engagement to do our work? It’s a matter of tapping existing audiences, making new audiences, and bringing existing communities to the museum field. There are wonderful opportunities here to mobilize expertise, tap new pools of volunteers (and potential donors), attract attention, and even train the next generation of scientists, curators, and interpreters. But there are also serious challenges of coordination, reliability, and ceding authority. A shorthand version of the authority question is “CAN 5000 Strangers = ONE CURATOR.” For history museums, this has been discussed in a very good book called Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World (Pew Center for Arts and Heritage). Takin’ It to the Streets : Two favorite examples: a) the National Portrait Gallery of Canada, which lost its physical home in 2009 (the museum compensated with an on-going initiative, “Portraits in the Streets,” “Portraits on Ice” to get reproductions out in the community). b) the crochet museum in Joshua Tree, California (old Fotomat booth; so portable it got blown over in a windstorm) At its best, the “pop-up museum” allows for experimentation – a way for museums to engage audiences with low barriers of institutional investment.
  • ALT FUNDING : Old funding models are increasingly being called into question as the “traditional” mix of funding sources established in the generation before the 2008-9 economic crash no longer seem to hold sway. One solution is crowdfunding (which is, of course, a spin on the long tradition of small donations). The founder of Kickstarter claims that, this year, the site will raise more money for creative projects ($150 million) than the entire NEA budget (~$146 million). And Kickstarter is just one crowdsourcing site. The most successful piece of crowdfunding for a museum has probably been the campaign to support a Tesla Museum on Long Island, generating more than $1.2 million on Indiegogo under the prodding of cartoonist Matthew Inman. This shows what can happen when existing communities of interest are engaged and mobilized in ways that tap their enthusiasms AND their pockets. EDUCATION: 1) Signs that the U.S. is nearing the end of an era in formal learning characterized by teachers, physical classrooms, age-cohorts and a core curriculum—what some people call the industrialized era of learning .* But it’s still not clear what will replace this cluster of technologies. 2) Two possible trends: a) preschool integrated into the DeCordova Museum in Massachusetts; b) museums awarding badges for lifelong learning, replacing both traditional secondary education.
  • Triple threat of PILOTs, challenges to deductibility, and a disturbing disdain for public charities. Most striking example of PILOTS: The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which already made a voluntary payment of $66,000 in 2011, was asked to pay more than $250,000 in 2012 and more than $1 million a year by 2016. Other threats: imposition of new fees (like utility charges in Chicago or New York) and taxes (like ticket taxes in Tacoma and elsewhere); challenges to tax deductibility of donations (from President Obama, among others); and ideological attacks on public support for nonprofits (and museums in particular) – e.g., from Sen. Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.). There is also the general issue of whether there are too many nonprofits. ERODING benefits of traditional nonprofit structures plus new OPPORTUNITIES : L3C = Low-Profit Limited Liability Company (also known as a benefit corporation). So far, we know about only one museums that has opted to take the L3C path: The Sackrider Museum of Handbags, a virtual museum (so far) in Chicago.
  • The picture comes from this summer’s uproar in SC, where the governor attempted to veto the entire state arts budget.
  • AGING: Today, 1 in 8 Americans are older than 65. In 2034, the ratio will jump to 1 in 5. A 50% jump in the post-retirement population – except, they may not retire! Another way to slice the numbers: at some point in the past few weeks, the population of “older Americans” in the United States (aged 50 and older) broke the 100-million mark. Also, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to more than double by 2040. Two potential futures (and not necessarily complementary): Aging in Place (exemplified by granny pod at http://www.medcottage.com/) vs. Museums as Places to Age (SFMOMA) For museums, the aging population represents a range of challenges, from accessibility (text size? ramps?) to attracting volunteers to the geographic relocation of facilities (as old people both come back to the cities and built new multigenerational households in the suburbs, whether or not they plan to reside in a granny pod). Also represents a great opportunity in addressing the issue of cognitive impairment . A great local example is the SPARK! Program around Milwaukee (based on MoMA model): “Several museums serving Wisconsin residents are extending their cultural and historical collections to create meaningful experiences for older adults with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers. The SPARK! project connects the museums with local partners in healthy aging to bring the model to the Midwest. The Alzheimer’s Association is assisting with training and support.” One museum involved is the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin, which specializes in birds and other wildlife in art; they found a way to serve a community imperative while staying true to their mission to interpret wildlife art.
  • Augmented Reality as a technology phenomenon. Some are simple triggers (QR codes), some create new interactions with artifacts or graphics (like the Owney stamp from the National Postal Museum), some interact with objects in the gallery space and essentially augment that space (this example comes from the national art museum in Krakow, Poland), and some provide augmented versions of historical reality “in the wild” (as in this example from the Museum of London). But does it represent a liberation of objects or another opportunity for technology overload ? Additional challenges: digital divide , a distraction from traditional museum spaces and activities, devaluing authentic objects.
  • People want their leisure and educational activities to be seamless extensions of how they conduct the rest of their lives – which increasingly involves mobile technology. 57% of the U.S. internet population, ages 8-64, are expected to own a smartphone by early 2013; a third of adults say they would give up sex than give up their phones (at least for a week); and an incredible 68% of smartphone users say they “couldn’t live” without the devices (OPA) SO HOW FAR CAN THIS GO? One ingenious example: the WiFi-enabled ass from K’far Kedem, “an Israeli theme park specializing in historical reenactments of Talmudic-era Galilee, will make one concession to the present day by attaching Internet routers to several donkeys that rove around the grounds, providing Internet access to parkgoers.” (via Times of Israel report). Intended to allow people to tweet and update their various social media statuses while in the park, in the middle of the desert. (Recognizing that people want to integrate their leisure activities more fully into their digital lives.) But there are also counter-trends, as people seek ways to UNPLUG. A challenge for museums (especially well phrased by an archaeologist at Fort William Henry, a small historic site in upstate NY): “Once one museum [introduces cutting-edge digital media], others don’t want to be far behind. When kids come, a lot of them have seen the fancy stuff. We don’t want to look dated. For the younger generation, they don’t necessarily know how to relate to some of the older presentations.”

SEMC Presentation (11/8/2012) SEMC Presentation (11/8/2012) Presentation Transcript

  • Museums and the Pulse of the FuturePhilip M. Katz American Alliance of Museums November 8, 2012
  • Center for the Future of Museums text styles Click to edit MasterDesigned to ...• Prod museums to look to the future with a longer time frame.• Find, interpret, digest and deliver trends data.• Help museums collaborate with communities/society to address needs.• Cultivate connections between museums and all sectors.• Encourage risk-taking and innovation. www.aam-us.org @futureofmuseums
  • World’s quickest intro to futurism text styles Click to edit Master
  • Demographic realities (population)text styles Click to edit Mastersource: Julie Ajinkya, Toward 2050 in California (Center for American Progress, March 2012).
  • Demographic realities (museum visitors) Click to edit Master text styles Courtesy of Reach Advisors
  • Click to edit Master text stylesDecliningartsparticipationwith ageand cohortSource: Mark Stern, “Age and Arts Participation ...” (NEA, 2011)
  • Demographic realities (staffing)Master text styles Click to edit 79.0% white 68.1% white, 10.1% Hispanic non-Hispanic = menU.S. (2010) = 49.2% men & 63.7% white, non-Hispanic
  • “TrendsWatch 2012” Click to edit Master text styles • 7 Trends • Examples • What does this mean for society? • What does this mean for museums? • Museums might want to consider • Further reading
  • “TrendsWatch 2012” Click to edit Master text styles •Harnessing the Crowd •NPO No Mo’ •Takin’ It to the Streets •Alt Funding •Creative Aging •More than Real •New Educational Era
  • The Other Trends from 2012to edit Master text styles Click  Harnessing the CrowdTakin’ It tothe Streets 
  • The Other Trends from 2012to edit Master text styles Click  Alt FundingNew Educational Era 
  • NPO No Mo’ (Threats to Nonprofit Master text styles Click to edit Status) Now Inclu de s Taxe s! PILOTS = Payments in Lieu of Taxes = one alternative?
  • NPO No Mo’ (Threats to Nonprofit Master text styles Click to edit Status) Other ways this is relevant to museums:1. The same budgetary 2. It’s tied to a general forces are drying up the devaluing of the public direct funding for sphere. federal, state and local cultural facilities. 3. But is it feeding a search for creative new funding and management structures?
  • Creative Aging Click to edit Master text styles
  • More than Real Click to edit Master text styles
  • Can you be too connected? to edit Master text styles Click57% of the U.S. internetpopulation (age 8-64) will own asmartphone by early 201333% of Americans would rathergive up sex than cellphones(at least for a week)68% of smartphone owners saythey “Cannot Live Without” thedevices
  • 3 Questions for You to Ponder Master text styles Click to edit1. How are these trends playing out (if at all) in the Southeast?2. What other trends have you noticed, either in SEMC territory, the rest of the museum field, or society at large?3. Where do you see your museum in 25 years? (And the rest of the museum field?)
  • For more trend information to edit Master text styles Clickvisit CFM at www.aam-us.org
  • Contact details Click to edit Master text stylesPhilip M. KatzAssistant Director, ResearchAmerican Alliance of Museumspkatz@aam-us.org202-218-7687www.aam-us.org