Be a Creative Museum

Museums currently face two main challenges. Firstly, to become significant agents in the local economy as research centres, tourist destinations, places of employment and training. Secondly, to engage with more diverse audiences, emphasising their mission of serving the society with socio-cultural and educational purposes. As some older models of interaction no longer work, museum staff need to step outside their comfort zone and seek innovative ways to collaborate with their communities.

By definition, the word innovation means to implement something new: an approach; a service; an idea or a way of working. However, the term as seen within a museum context is hard to define, even harder to implement, and yet is used freely as a mantra for management bringing about change. As Robert Stein wrote in 2016: ‘Innovation is an elusive elixir. While innovation promises a cure for our ailments, finding it consistently is harder than it might seem. What does it take to instill confidence and experimentation among staff in the museum? How can the museum itself become a living laboratory of innovation?’ The Creative Museum project sees itself as a ‘laboratory for innovation’: it is a project which encourages discussion, reflection, brainstorming and experimentation amongst museum professionals, opening up museums and transforming them into more creative, participatory and lively environments.

Based on the continuous activities of the project, three themes have emerged which have become the main ingredients for the Recommendations for building a creative museum. The themes are:

  • Connecting to Communities
  • [Creating] ‘Spaces for Yes’
  • Strategies for success
Practical advice and tips from The Creative Museum project partners and examples from the field, from across Europe and the USA, support the Recommendations.

Reflecting changing context

One of driving forces behind the development of the project was the need to respond to challenges presented by the economic downturn across Europe. As a partnership, we perceived that this downtown generated a new movement of innovation and ...
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Reflecting changing context
Our changing work

Our changing work

The work of The Creative Museum project reflects and acknowledges – at the Council of Europe level -- the importance of participatory and engaging cultural practices. In its 2014 report, the Council of Europe emphasised the importance of a ...
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Our approach to recommendations

There are four key parts to The Creative Museum project: [1] written outputs for publication and dissemination (for example, the Analysis of Best Practices, these Recommendations and a final Toolkit (Summer 2017)); [2] Maker-in-Residence training programme; [3] Museomix training ...
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Our approach to recommendations

Connecting to communities

Museums have to build sustainable relationships with their communities. In order to do this, they first need to get to know their communities. They need to define a common ground, what they can do together and what they cannot. ...
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Spaces for yes

Complicated museum bureaucracies, with their deliberate pace of top-down decision making, are not always amenable to rapid change or experimentation. However, being public institutions, there are always spaces, physical, virtual, and organisational, where freedom of action can be found. ...
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Strategy for success

Over the years, innovation has become a topic of significant interest for museums. Museums see innovation as a strategic tool to achieve their mission in the. 21st century context where all economic actors are strongly impacted by the ...
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