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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 others

TrendsWatch—an annual digital and print forecasting report.

Building the Future of Education

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.

This year CFM’s founder and director Elizabeth Merritt, and CFM museum futurist Dr. Nicole Ivy are available for a limited number of engagements. Areas of focus can include:

  • An overview of TrendsWatch 2017 and implications for the museum sector
  • Diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion
  • Financial sustainability: exploring new business models for museums
  • Strategic foresight: using futures methodologies to improve museum planning

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 e-newsletter Dispatches from the Future, and the CFM Blog.

If you would like to invite Elizabeth or Nicole to speak at your museum or conference, contact us at emerritt (at)

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
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The Self-Care Ritual of Retreats

One reason I love museum people is that they work so hard to make the world a better place. But all too often, I see colleagues burn out and leave our field because they did not make time …

Handing the Mic to People Experiencing Homelessness

For me, the most exciting part of publishing TrendsWatch is making new connections with people doing great work around each issues’ themes. One of the topics we address in TrendsWatch 2019 …

Introducing TrendsWatch 2019

The Alliance’s annual forecasting report is now available! The new edition of TrendsWatch explores truth and trust, decolonization, blockchain, homelessness and housing insecurity, and …

Backcasting: Or, how to apply 20:20 hindsight to museum planning

“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,’ says the White Queen to Alice.” ― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass In today’s post, I’m going to introduce you to …

Your Guide to the Future at AAM 2019

With the Early Bird Registration deadline approaching quickly (Monday, March 4) I’m sharing my futurist picks for the Alliance’s 2019 annual meeting. Save some $$ by snagging the early bird …

Introducing our 2019 CFM Foresight Scholar

I’m pleased to announce that our inaugural foresight scholarship has been awarded to Terrance Hunter, program manager at the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida. …

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