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Help Build the Collections of The Universal Museum of Creative Matter!

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog

If you got up right now and walked around your workplace/house/campus/neighborhood, what evidence would you find of small, mundane, creative acts?

Why do I ask? I never thought I’d say this, but I am starting a museum. About “creativity.” And boy do I need your help

Yes, I’m doing this despite all I have written about why to Think Twice (or three or four times) before starting a new museum.

I hasten to add, there are mitigating circumstances. The museum is:

  • virtual
  • temporary (I think)
  • in the service of a Good Cause
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Let me explain the last point first. AAM has been invited to join over a thousand folks from around the world in Oklahoma City on November 15-17 at the Creativity World Forum. The organizers intend to position Oklahoma as a creative hub of commerce, education and culture. This being so, of course they wanted to hear about the museums of the future!

I can’t envision giving a dry old lecture, with PowerPoint slides (shudder), at a conference on creativity. So Ford Bell and I recruited Erika Kiessner, an exhibit prototyper from the Franklin Institute, and Dan Spock, director of the Minnesota History Center to help shake up the attendees and make them take note of the vast creative potential stored in the museums of their state.

(You may remember Erika from the 2009 AAM annual meeting—she ran a pop-up, samizdat Advice 5¢ Booth in the Philadelphia convention center until security shut her down. Appropriate, as she was the winner of that year’s Brookings Creativity Prize. And Dan was, briefly, an exhibit developer for a real-world Museum of Creativity—which never quite got off the ground.)

So here’s the plan: we are going to spread the word among conference participants about the MyCulture trend that is rocking museums–people wanting to make, “mod” (modify), “mashup” (combine) and otherwise actively engage with content. As museum users, they want to be contributors and active partners, rather than passive consumers. Eric Siegel just wrote a great post at Museum 2.0 on this theme—sharing how the New York Hall of Science recently hosted Maker Faire, and how that experience is transforming the museum.

After highlighting some museum projects incorporating participatory design (e.g., the Brooklyn Museum’s crowd-curated exhibit Click!, or the SF Mobile Museum’s Looking for Loci), we’re going to lead an exercise in which attendees evaluate potential acquisitions for the Universal Museum of Creative Matter. They will be challenged to consider–what best exemplifies and explores the creative process? How can a museum “collect” and interpret creativity in a broad sense, beyond just the realm of art? How can museums enable audiences to layer their own interpretations of collections?

Here’s where you come in. We need proposed material for their consideration. So, we invite to contribute to our collection by going to the Museum’s new Facebook page and upload:

  • Text
  • Video
  • Photos
  • Links

Documenting material for attendee’s consideration. Make your pitch! Include a line or two about why you think this material is destined to be in UnMuCM’s collections.

OK, so this may or may not work. But that is a key part of creativity and innovation, right—the willingness to risk failure? But it’s generally more satisfying when it works-so give us a hand! And I’ll report from the conference on how this creative experiment turns out…

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