The road to Santa Cruz and Museum 2.0. Step 1

For some time I have watched and read about Nina Simon and her work on The Participatory Museum, Museum 2.0 and Santa Cruz Museum. She is convinced that there is better, more vibrant, more social future for museums.  So am I,  and I extend that vision to a range of cultural and countryside places that do not see themselves as museums – or as community spaces.  There is a huge shift that needs to happen and we need to learn fast how to make it.

THe Participatory Museum by Nina Simon - available as paperback, download or pdf - click on link above

THe Participatory Museum by Nina Simon – available as paperback, download or pdf – click on link above

Nina Simon seems to on the leading edge of that learning. I have watched and read about her from afar, because we live on different sides of the world albeit linked by the blogosphere. Next year, gods willing, that changes. In July 2013 I am off to Santa Cruz.  What an opportunity.

I love Nina’s fresh, enthusiastic, yet hard-headed approach to museums as centres of social participation. She inspires me, mainly because she questions so many boundaries and conventions.  She makes me think and I like that. So when she issued an invitation for people who wanted to participate in a ‘You can’t do that in Museums’ Camp, it felt like a ‘kick’.

I get ‘kicks’ from time to time and know that the best thing to do is just go with them. I was far to busy at the time to make a proper application or to discuss the idea with family and friends.  I knew that if the invite hit the in-tray it could sit there. Going to CA next summer is after all a crazy idea.

(But then, many of Nina’s ideas are crazy too. And Successful. Maybe that’s one of the things I want to learn from this.)

So I gave myself 30 minutes, cleared my head and wrote from my heart and a rush of adrenalin about why I would like to do this, and what I felt I could offer (quite a lot). It’s what I do whenever I am really stuck for what to write and it often works.

It worked this time. Two days ago I heard that my application was successful.


Picture 42I am hugely excited.  Whatever happens this is going to be a great stimulus, meeting new people, hearing new ideas and playing around (Big Time, I hope) with new possibilities. It will be a focus to think about things I want to think about. It is already making me think more and differently about what’s around me, bringing together thoughts on social media and campaigning, networking globally, regeneration of dying town centres, remembrance and how we choose the stories we tell, and the lessons and example of community arts. My journey has already started.

Next step* – buy The Participatory Museum book

Second step  – find my fellow Camp-ers on Linked In

Third step – Try to stop giggling everytime I say Californa or Museum Camp.

So far I have few details of how the Camp will work.  I don’t know how I will fund my trip.  I am looking forward to finding out more about both of those.

I’ll keep you posted.

(* Actually my very first step was to look up Santa Cruz on a map and then to Google places to see if there are decent places to see wild sea otters nearby. YES there are!)

About susancrosstelltale

Great visits to heritage and natural sites do not happen by accident. This blog is about the work that make special sites great places to visit. I hope it will be useful to visitors and host alike. Find out more at me and my blog.
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2 Responses to The road to Santa Cruz and Museum 2.0. Step 1

  1. Nethercoat, Ivan says:

    Hi Susan Sounds a fab trip and well deserved. I look forward to watching you on a TED talk in the not too distant future!

    One thing that impressed me a few years ago was the concept of Generic Learning Outcomes in museums and their approach to evaluating the visitor experience based on these 5 outcomes ( I thought it had some interesting parallels for qualitative evaluation of nature reserve visits. Indeed the GLO’s for museums and they approach could almost be dropped into a NR context. I say all this but really have no idea as to how well the GLO’s are actually used and measured by museums. Do you know? Was it a government idea that sounded great on paper but proved impossible to deliver on? Some evaluation of the GLO process might be handy to have when you go to CA.

    Toodle pip


    Sent whilst out of the office, might be a little brief…

    • Ha! you know me too well! Doing a TED talk had occured to me but it’s not scheduled just yet. I’ll keep you posted.

      I like your thinking re my brushing up on where we’re all at with evaluating GLOs. My understanding has always been that the model was developed for all informal learning situations so nature reserves should definitely be in there. Off the cuff I am aware of more plans and proposals to evaluate based on GLOs than results of said evaluation. This could very well be because I not fully up to date. I’ll get back to you (in due course).

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