Through individual expertise and collective wisdom, THE MUSEUM GROUP members enhance the field with innovative solutions and dynamic strategies .

A not for profit consortium of independent consultants. 

Museums Step Up

On March 16 a group of TMG colleagues had a Zoom call to explore ways museums might tackle the challenges of citizenship and democracy in our increasingly fractured and contentious world. That was the day that San Francisco issued a public health order requiring residents to stay at home. Three days later, Governor Newsom issued a shelter-in-place order for all Californians. Other states soon followed, shifting our concerns to the immediate challenges and opportunities for museums to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We created a channel on our Slack network where members could post examples of museums' responses. The diverse examples we continue to gather fall into six types of actions, three of which will be reported on in this post and three in a follow-up post in two weeks.

1) Taking direct actions to offer their physical resources to help their communities.
2) Using collections and programming to provide those who must stay at home with virtual access to art, science projects, and well being.
  • With support from the Kennedy Center, Mo Willems, children's book author extraordinaire, presented three weeks of daily lunch doodles for children and their grownups. 
  • The Merwin Conservancy's "virtual dojo", a meditation video got 3600 views in its first 10 days!
  • Art museums and cultural institutions around the globe are sending each other virtual bouquets, picked up on Twitter and Instagram.
  • A PBS NewsHour story featured quarantine tableaus, in which household items are turned into art history props by creatives who can't visit art museums in person.
  • The California Science Center offers live "Welcome to Stuck at Home Science!" with activities for all ages to explore and investigate using common household supplies.
  • The Smithsonian American Art Museum invites virtual visitors to "re-create" and post their own works of art based on objects in the collection. 
3) Official museum associations and informal professional networks are serving their members with a variety of webinars, Twitter chats and issuing statements focused on equity issues in museums' layoff plans and the impact on DEAI efforts.
Cross-Pollination and Collective Impact: Museums and Environmental Literacy
April 22, 2020 at 2:30pm EST / 11:30am PST

Join Matt Kirchman and Bob Beatty on Earthday 2020 to explore the intersection of museums and the environment. From tree-hugging to tracking climate change, what can (and dare we say should) museums be doing to foster a more aware and empowered citizenship? And who can we trust?

RSVP to: info@museumgroup.com for this special Zoom presentation.
Leadership Matters

Anne Ackerson and Joan Baldwin's blog Leadership Matters covers thoughts on 21st century museum leadership. Check out the April 6 post to hear from several TMGers about the impact of COVID-19 on Museum Consulting.
NEMA Study

An article on the NEMA study Assessing Museum Impact: From Theory to Practice conducted by David Ellis, Laura Roberts, John Jacobsen, George Hein and Lynn Baum is published in The Informal Learning Review no. 161, January-February 2020, pp. 19-22. Copies may be requested from the authors.