Wednesday, January 22, 2020
2:00 pm to 3:00 pm Eastern Time
Who values collections, and why? How can museums build productive partnerships and income streams around these values? Join Elizabeth Merritt, VP of Strategic Foresight, and founding director of the American Alliance of Museum’s Center for the Future of Museums to explore emerging mission-related income streams.
It’s harder to find new and better support systems for natural history collections than it is to find new economic models for other kinds of museums and other areas of operations. Research collections are a hard sell. Most people don’t even know museums have them, and even fewer could name any tangible benefit they derive from shelves of fluid collections, frozen tissue samples, or a few hundred Cornell drawers filled with ticks. When pressed to make a case for how these collections benefit the public, our field generally trots out the same worn examples: identifying which bird hit an airplane, tracking vectors of disease, and (more generally) documenting biodiversity. Not that these are bad things, but so far, they haven’t been enough to make the case that either the government or individual citizens should pay for these benefits.
We will explore projects that have created steady income streams, as well as short-term projects that nurture long-term relationships and cultivate fans for museums and their research collections. In addition, we’ll discuss ways that museums can foster innovation and support staff in the process of generating and testing entrepreneurial ideas. Special guest Judy Gradwohl, president of the San Diego Natural History Museum, will discuss how her museum’s Evolutionary Venture Fund has launched successful staff-run enterprises.
This webinar is made possible with the support of the National Science Foundation (Award 1622772). The content was developed in collaboration with the Ecological Society of America, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the American Alliance of Museums.