Opening Up the Museum

Nina Simon's emphasis on participation, social bridging, and experimentation in all aspects of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art has resulted in huge growth in participants, staff size, budget and cash reserves.

Some of her rules of thumb:

1. Invite meaningful action at all levels (e.g., their memory jar exhibition and "wanted" /wish list part of their e-blast that has led to new programs

2. be rigorous – lots of community organizing provides framework for participatory work

3. develop a theory of change - how do activities they/you do lead to the impact they/you hope to have (in their case, more bonds, social bridges, and empowered citizens)?

4. think platforms - not about program delivery; instead, how to create a platform that will encourage more people to participate without needing more staff? (e.g., a pop-up museu - ephemeral, just for a couple of hours)


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