Skip to content

Center for the Future of Museums

Understanding that the dynamic nature of our cultural, political, and economic landscape directly affects how we interact with museums, the Center for the Future of Museums (CFM) helps museums navigate the future.

The Center for the Future of Museums, in collaboration with our community, works to

  • Monitor cultural, technological, political and economic trends that matter to museums
  • Equip museums to help their communities address future challenges
  • Build strong connections among museums and educational, corporate, civic, nonprofit, and government organizations

Learn more about the work of the Center of the Future of Museums:

CFM Blog—read frequent posts about emerging ideas from CFM director Elizabeth Merritt and numerous guest authors

TrendsWatch—the Alliance’s annual forecasting report

Reports and Research

NEW! The AAM Strategic Foresight Toolkit

This new resource provides a comprehensive introduction to strategic foresight—a vital skill set that enables individuals and organizations to anticipate change, craft effective plans, and shape the future they want to see. Enhanced with worksheets, slide presentations, and games, the AAM Strategic Foresight Toolkit can help you in building your own foresight skills. The toolkit can help organizations train staff in the basic tools of futurism and integrate foresight into planning and operations.

Learn more and order your copy today.

Bring the future to your museum or conference

At the Alliance, we love the opportunity to engage with our community face-to-face. Each year we make time for CFM staff to “take the show on the road,” via lectures and workshops.

 CFM’s founder and director Elizabeth Merritt is available for a limited number of engagements. For more information visit our Speakers Bureau and read about our current areas of focus for lectures and workshops.

Fees depend on the length and nature of the presentation, and Alliance member museums receive a discount. These paid engagements help underwrite the free content CFM provides including TrendsWatch, our weekly newsletter Dispatches from the Future of Museums, and the CFM Blog.

If you would like to invite Elizabeth to speak at your museum or conference, contact us at emerritt (at) aam-us.org.

AAM Member-Only Content

AAM Members get exclusive access to premium digital content including:

  • Featured articles from Museum magazine
  • Access to more than 1,500 resource listings from the Resource Center
  • Tools, reports, and templates for equipping your work in museums
Log In

We're Sorry

Your current membership level does not allow you to access this content.

Upgrade Your Membership

Trendswatch: Museum Schools as Community Infrastructure

Blackbaud hosted the annual TrendsWatch webinar, this year focusing on Museum Schools as Community Infrastructure. Hear about how museums have stepped up to fill in the gaps for PreK-12 …

Planning for a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous Future

Why is foresight an essential skill for museum people in coming decades? Last week I had the pleasure of making that case at the ICOM 2022 Triennial Conference, and today I’m happy to …

A New Site of Conscience: Sing Sing Prison Museum

Five years ago, CFM’s TrendsWatch report examined how museums are helping society confront the need for criminal justice reform. Historic sites play an important role in this work, with …

Historic Houses in the Shifting Landscape of Climate Change

In combating climate change, we can look to Indigenous and historic practices for models of sustainable architectural solutions to extreme heat, cold, and humidity. Structures built in …

Museums Discover Impact Investing

CFM first flagged impact investing as a trend of significance to museums in 2013, inspired by a talk Seth Miller gave at SXSW in which he declared that “every time you spend a dollar, you …

NFTs: Museums Can Build Other, Better Digital Stuff

    “When I was a congressional aide, we had an expression, ‘No idea was too stupid to say out loud,’ so here it is, hear me out. Instead of buying these ships? Don’t buy …

Upcoming Events

MPMA 2022 Conference

Event Date:
Presented by: Mountain-Plains Museum Association
Tulsa, OK
View All Events

Subscribe to Field Notes!

Packed with stories and insights for museum people, Field Notes is delivered to your inbox every Monday. Once you've completed the form below, confirm your subscription in the email sent to you.

If you are a current AAM member, please sign-up using the email address associated with your account.

Are you a museum professional?

Are you a current AAM member?

Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription, and please add communications@aam-us.org to your safe sender list.