Although losing our State funding is truly devastating I find it liberating at the same time – if that makes sense. It’s a time of reflection, a time to focus and engage, a time to reevaluate how we fit into the existing university structure, and a time to think about who are audience is and what type of museum they’d like us to be. It’s like the museum is having a mid-life crisis – it is in its 42nd year of operation.
Over the last several years we’ve started the process of rebranding ourselves; embracing modern times and modern audiences by opening up to the community. I feel we just need to continue on that path. I believe that museums are participatory spaces, not quiet but alive, that visitors make the museum better when they share their ideas and use the space as a social place. I see museums as platforms not just as providers of content. By engaging audiences, improving services and programming, and demonstrating our social significance we will survive as an institution.
One of the first things we’ll be doing is rewriting our mission statement and strategic plan. Time and time again when we’ve asked what type of museum you’d like us to be we get two responses, art and/or cultural history. We too believe that’s where our strength lies, and our mission and programming should reflect that. Our Fall calendar is already filling with exciting exhibits and events; but, as always, I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts.