With the museum sector in flux because of huge changes to funding, much of our 2011 museum conference was dedicated to presentations debating how the sector could gain support from their audiences. Fundraising experts from outside the sector who spoke included Rich Mintz, the Vice President of Blue State Digital who was responsible for the Obama 2008 fundraising campaign and Steve Bridger, who has worked for some of the biggest charities in the UK. Both encouraged the museums in our audience to give their own audiences the tools to advocate on their behalf. Martin Barden from TATE shared his organisation’s recent work which aimed to understand visitors better, so that they might be encouraged to move from one-off visits to joining their members programme.
Other presentations focused on how the museum community could work with their own communities in other ways, encouraging people to engage with museums through participatory projects both online and offline.
Nora Semel and Francesca Merlino from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York presented a case study of their YouTube : Play Biennial which brought together innovative, original and surprising videos from around the world and exhibited them at their New York, Berlin and Venice venues.
Fiona Romeo from the National Maritime Museum talked about her museum’s involvement in Citizen Science projects, which invite the public to help map the Universe or transcribe historic documents for the digital age.
Other presentations were given by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Nationaal Historisch Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Australian Museum, N8, Museums Galleries Scotland, National Museums Scotland, Open University and Mediamatic.
The conference was chaired by MuseumNext founder Jim Richardson and kindly sponsored by Museums Galleries Scotland.