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.
Be a Creative Museum
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