Museums today and tomorrow: open is the way

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Conxa Rodà

From my very loooong, long experience as a museum professional, I can recommend you one thing: be open. This unfolds in two: open your eyes, open your minds.

Open your eyes

Open your eyes to see what others are doing: other museums, other cultural institutions, others beyond our sector.

Benchmark. Network as much as you can. Learn from the best.

Be in training mode all the time.

Inside the museum, open your eyes to see what your colleagues are doing/ may need/ may wish.

Above all, open your eyes to see what visitors are doing inside your museum and on your digital platforms, what are their expectations, needs, frustrations, achievements. Observe, study, analyze your visitors’ journey, detect the gaps, operate necessary improvements.

Data are a precious raw material. They needs to be interpreted, studied, shared and taken into account when making decisions. We need to analyze the data (not just collect them;)

Open your mind

Open your mind to new ways of collaborative work, open your mind to innovation, towards new ways of connecting with audiences and towards digital change.

Don’t get stuck in easy keep-doing, get out of the comfort zone, try new things, experiment, fail, even, then improve and iterate.

Open your data. As I often say, data collected with public money must be made available to the public. To free data means collective enrichment. Lots of good museum examples to follow: Rijksmuseum, SMK, the Met, the Getty,  the Cleveland Museum of Art recently and many more to come.

Be prepared to fight:  advancing doesn’t come without some trouble on the way…

 

Skills needed

So, skills needed for museum professionals today? Besides digital literacy (see infographic above), we need soft skills such as:

  • ability to work in teams
  • negotiation skills (diplomacy, patience, leadership)
  • empathy to walk in your visitors’ shoes
  • information architecture and quality writing to be read on screens
  • storytelling mastering, transmedia narratives building, multiplatform content strategy, to really help visitors make meaningful connections with your collections and their history and the stories behind them
  • oral communication skills, languages
  • analytics and data interpretation
  • flexibility and adaptability to face the unexpected
  • curiosity to explore and learn
  • be able to look outside the box
  • strategic vision
  • plus… some sense of humour never hurts;)

We have an amazing job to do: to expand the knowledge and use of our great collections, improve our visitors’ experience.

The reward is high: users!

The golden medal: satisfied fulfilled users and communities!!

Better museums, more visitors

Recommended links

OpenGLAM Principles

The Future is Open, Michael Edson, 2015, PPT.

Open access can never be bad news, Merete Sanderhoff, 2017

A Digital Europe needs Digital Skills, European Commission, 2017

Mapping the Museum Digital Skills ecosystem, UK Museum Sector, 2018

Conxa Rodà
Estratègia i Transformació Digital

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