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The Near Future: What’s Up at CFM

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog

Here is a glimpse of what is up at CFM in the next six months. I would love your input. Write me at with your ideas.

This summer and fall we are working on the second CFM research report, Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums: Trends and Implications. CFM’s first report, Museums & Society 2034: Trends and Potential Futures, highlighted a disconnect between trends in American demography and patterns of museum visitation. For example, today the United States is nearly a third non-Caucasian, yet research by Reach Advisors suggests that only 1 in 10 core museum visitors are members of an ethnic or racial minority. Most analysts predict that the United States will become a “majority minority” nation within the next 25 years. Demographic Transformations, will explore these trends and their implications for museums in more detail. We want to identify, synthesize and interpret existing research on demographics, cultural consumer attitudes, museum diversity practices and related topics.

  • Opportunities for input: What good research/reports/papers related to this topic do you know of?

2009 Lecture—building on the format successfully piloted with CFM’s first lecture, “Gaming the Future of Museums,” we are looking for a dynamic and engaging speaker to challenge museum practitioners to rethink what it will mean to be a relevant, sustainable museum in our increasingly diverse society. (The live lecture in D.C. will be followed by a webcast.)

  • Opportunities for input: Know of anyone who fits the bill? Send name, affiliation, contact information and (if possible) links to video/audio on the Web.

Laying the foundation for the Museum Forecasting Network. One of CFM’s major roles is to gather, synthesize and deliver relevant and timely forecasting data to museum practitioners in order to inform their planning. Much of this we can cull from existing fields that produce copious forecasting data (energy, economic, climate, cultural, etc.) However, we want to create a forecasting network for the museum field itself. Adapting the traditional Delphi method of forecasting we plan to recruit a panel of expert museum practitioners to generate and refine predictions that will be disseminated to the field for comment and discussion. What are the emerging trends in museum finance, programs, policy or governance? Where might museums consider actions today to influence the future of our field?

  • Opportunities for input: Who would you nominate as a prospective forecaster? What friend or colleague seems strangely prescient on museum issues?
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I also would love to hear your suggestions for blog post topics—particularly museums operation in a future-oriented manner that we can profile and news that has crossed your radar that highlights future trends of importance to the field.

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1 Comment

  1. It's kind of terrifying to hear those stats… yet I've been hearing it for years now.

    Veronica Garcia-Luis at the Exploratorium has been for some time working with the Latino community here in the SF Bay Area. She would likely have insights into that particular demographic and may well know of research.

    One thing I found very interesting was when you 'hosted' the Museums and Society 2019 wiki pages as a part of Superstruct. Found that working with other people to project forward a picture and play out some real scenarios was both interesting and informative.

    The rest of the Superstruct experience was hard to follow, but I found that format focused & productive. Especially with how it was seeded.

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