New Year is a time for self-reflection and as we all make resolutions to lose weight, take up tai chi and learn a new language, it is also an opportune moment to reflect on what changes to make in our museums or galleries.
As a new decade rolls in, now is a great time to kick-start some of those projects that you haven’t managed to move off your ‘To Do’ list. Whether it is fix that broken ‘Welcome’ sign or install a watercooler so your visitors can have a drink on arrival, small improvements can make a big impact.
We’ve put together a list of New Year Resolutions your organisation could consider implementing. Why not discuss these at your next meeting and see what small changes you can make?
Become more sustainable
Museums and galleries are notorious for producing large amounts of waste and using unnecessary energy. However, there are some easy things you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint and be more sustainable.
- Switch halogen lights for lower energy LEDs
- Regulate heating and cooling systems to ensure they are functioning efficiently
- Recycle exhibition materials or give them away for free on Freecycle
- If you serve food or drinks, avoid single use plastics
- Reduce paper consumption by avoiding paper tickets and having reusable visitor guides
- Recycle paper and appropriate plastics.
Promote the importance of sustainability and looking after our environment in your exhibitions. Museums and galleries can play an important role in educating visitors about the impact of climate change.
Develop a new program
Offer a new experience to your visitors by developing a new program. Choose one of your target audiences and design the activity or event to suit their needs. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- A Clue Search for children and their families
- An after-hours wine and cheese night for adults looking for an evening out
- A hands-on activity with objects from your education collection for people with Alzheimer’s
- A history tour of the local town finishing at the museum
- An outreach ‘Object Discovery’ program in a local shopping centre.
Get creative and plan offer something different to your visitors.
If your museum or gallery isn’t on Facebook, perhaps 2020 is the year to get involved. With 72% of Australians actively using social media in 2019 (WeAreSocial), it is a great way to connect with current and potential visitors.
If you are unsure about how to use social media, give us a call and we will help! Otherwise many libraries or CRCs run workshops in technology and social media basics. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Encourage cultural diversity and different perspectives
While we love telling our own stories about the objects in our collections, it is important to consider what meanings an item may have from other people’s perspectives. Make 2020 the year where you seek new perspectives and gain different understandings of collection items. Ask people from different backgrounds to tell their own stories of what items mean and to develop new interpretation panels.
We encourage all collecting organisations to read and implement the First Peoples: A Roadmap for Enhancing Indigenous Engagement in Museums and Galleries. This roadmap provides a guide for how to improve engagement with Indigenous people in the representation of their cultures in galleries and museums.
Diversify your space
Museum and gallery spaces are often perfect venues for activities other than just looking at objects and art. Yoga classes, knitting groups, wedding ceremonies or book clubs could all be held in your space. This is a great way to increase visitation and awareness of your organisation as well as potentially making a small income.
Upgrade your exhibition
How long has your current exhibition been on display? When was the last time you reviewed your interpretation? If you would prefer not to tell us the answer to these questions, we’d suggest it might be time for a change!
Updating your exhibition can sound like an overwhelming task but there are ways you can keep it simple. Try dividing your exhibition into sections and focus on one area to update this year. Or if you have an area that could be turned into a temporary exhibition space, create something new for your visitors to enjoy.
Of course, if you’re feeling very enthusiastic, giving your museum or gallery a complete overhaul can be a great way to reinvent your organisation, reconnect with your objects and retell their stories.
Feeling inspired? Let us know what your organisation is aiming to achieve in 2020!