Crash Course in Creativity Assignment 2

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What I learned from applying Tina Seelig's Observation Lab to three museums

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Crash Course in Creativity Assignment 2

  1. 1. + Paying Attention @ Museums Rainey Tisdale, Crash Course in Creativity Assignment 2 I’m a museum curator, so I adapted this assignment and observed museums, not stores. Here’s what I learned:
  2. 2. + Nelson Museum of Art and History • This is a great building in a great location but it looks so closed from the outside--it’s hard to tell what’s in there. • Once you walk in, the gift shop dominates your view. Instead, there should be big, interesting objects in the foyer to convey “museum.”
  3. 3. + Nelson Museum of Art and History The art is on the first floor, in two temporary exhibition galleries. The history is on the second floor, in a permanent exhibition. The art and history need to be integrated to give people a reason to see both.
  4. 4. + University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology This museum has a stunning, world-class collection, with a series of enormous totem poles you can see as you walk in. The collection sells itself.
  5. 5. + University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology This museum has absolutely no street presence—it relies on the reputation of its collection to draw people in. A large, interesting piece of public art would really make a statement on the street.
  6. 6. + Museum of Vancouver This museum is tucked away in a public park, off the main thoroughfare. People have to want to go there. Although once you make your way into the park, the building is so weird that you want to investigate it.
  7. 7. + Museum of Vancouver Like the Nelson Museum, MOV needs big, interesting objects in the atrium. It has the room for them. This is a museum in transition. There are some really great spaces, with interesting exhibitions, and then there are dead spaces like this hallway, that look a little forgotten. The museum needs to find cheap, creative ways to add visual interest in the dead areas—murals or blown up photographs.
  8. 8. + In General: • Museum lighting is bad—the ceiling is covered in infrastructure, and the lights blind you if you look up—it’s like peeking behind the curtain of the exhibition. This is an area begging for innovation. • Maybe these museums should consider playing interesting music in the atrium that contributes to the tone of the museum? • These museums were filled with women—both staff and visitors. • Although it’s practical, institutional carpeting is not much fun.

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