I was looking through some of the TEDx event videos on Youtube.com when I stumbled across something I wasn’t expecting to see. It was a video called Opening up the Museum: Nina Simon TEDxSantaCruz. In my research so far I have stumbled across the name Nina Simon several times and know that she in the past has been a freelance consultant for museums. Simon has drastically helped museums all over the country by creating participatory projects. In this TEDx talk Simon discusses how important and valuable museums could play in today’s culture by creating events which not only is intended to be fun or exciting it’s supposed to be an event where people are learning and combining cultures. The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History is where Simon is currently the Executive Director of and goes through the different programs they have come up with that have been so successful that they have seen their numbers of visitors going through the roof in the last year.
To learn more about what their museum was doing currently I checked out their website http://www.santacruzmah.org/. Right away this museum jumped out as something different right from just looking at the homepage. All over the homepage is stacked with upcoming events that offer a variety of different events. After surfing through the site a little bit I found out that they offer weekly events and encourage their visitors to not only get involved in events but get involved with the museum by possibly submitting work to be added to it. This was the first time in my whole research where I have seen a museum that is completely different from the norm, and they have had success. There events may range in subject but all of them are alike in the way they bring people together and offer options for the people to have control and free range to develop thoughts and have positive cultural experiences with their museum.
This TEDx YouTube video made me think a lot about the MWM. One of the participatory project ideas for the MWM was inspired by the New Hampshire photo contest “I Love it Here”. In the photo contest, people from New Hampshire or other states got to take a picture of New Hampshire that inspired them or made them reasons to love it here. There has been discussions of potentially mimicking this photo contest. By getting up small signs that say, “I love the White Mountains’ or something similar with also the #mwmpsu on it, the museum could pass these out for visitors to go out and get inspired by the White Mountains. If these were handed out at the hub or somewhere around campus it would be a good way to get the university involved in the project. After taking a picture with the sign, participants can upload them to Instagram and tag the MWM in it. After a winner is chosen prizes can be given out. This possible contest event would be great as it would be a good starting point for future participatory projects. With museums like the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History for inspiration the MWM can keep up with the times and start looking at projects like theirs as inspiration to look at our own resources within the White Mountains and try to figure out future programs that can be brought to the museum.