Walking into the museum where I worked and trying to see it from an outsider’s perspective wasn’t easy. What made it particularly difficult was being instructed to present an object on view in a way that was completely unfamiliar to me. Still, when the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute hosted the Creativity Incubator, I was game.
Lia Tamborra of Museum Hack, one of the Museum Mavericks for the session, told us to shake things up. We had certain key points to hit, but there seemed to be almost too much freedom. We could have opinions about the piece and make our little group presentations personal - both of which are often discouraged in Museum Education, as they can influence a visitor too much. Still, my team of new colleagues and I gave it our best shot and came up with something that I think was actually a lot of fun.
By Annette Goldmacher
By Gonzalo Casals, Museum Maverick for the Mohawk Valley Session
For over a decade, LaPlaca-Cohen, a marketing and design consultant serving cultural organizations, has been studying Americans’ behavior in relation to cultural consumption. Culture Track 2017 is the current iteration of such study that looks at how different generations define, access, and relate to cultural experiences.
Some of the key findings are trends that have been solidifying in the last decade. For instance, millennials have expanded the definition of culture to include categories and experiences such as food festivals and television, both forms of entertainment that a decade ago would have fallen way outside traditional disciplines. Newer generations are also redefining the way they consume culture, seeing themselves as active participants rather than passive audiences. Opportunities in which one can interact, share, and affect a cultural experience are the most popular among millennials.
This generational shift in cultural consumption is unfolding at the same time that the US is experiencing dramatic demographic shifts. A phenomenon once experienced only by large US cities is now expanding across the rest of the country. The rapid growth of Latino communities in the US, refugee relocation programs across the states, and immigrants leaving behind large metropolitan areas in search of more affordable lives in smaller cities and towns have contributed to this phenomenon.
City administrations, public school and library systems, and churches and other civic institutions are now faced with the challenge to rethink their public service in order to accommodate an increasingly diverse population. Museums and other cultural organizations are also struggling to shift their cultural offerings in order to accommodate these new participants that demand more interactive, relevant cultural experiences.
By Kevin Gray, Arts In Education Coordinator at Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, NY
On November 14th, 2017 I and other museum professionals from central New York attended a lively and inspiring Creativity Incubator provided by NYSCA and the Greater Hudson Heritage Network at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. Lia Tamborra, presenter and member of Museum Hack, challenged us to select an artwork in the MWPAI and construct a two to three minute presentation around it that incorporated many of the elements of a Museum Hack tour: an ‘icebreaking’ introduction, a lively and engaging salvo of facts about the artwork and artist in as interactive a manner as possible, and a punchy conclusion that would leave a lasting impression. Each group had about ten minutes to research and plan their talk before delivering. No sweat! Our group (the names of my four or five partners have not lingered in my memory, but it truly was a team effort to put this together) chose the 1951 painting, Number 18 by Mark Rothko. What follows is a transcription of my wild and wooly presentation, recreated to the best of my memory with the conversational tone and sense of last-minute panic retained:
A place to share ideas and stories born out of the NYSCA/GHHN