Do museums face disruption? What are some the disruptive forces that Mia is encountering?
Just like corporations, museums face disruptive forces.
First, the demographics of the communities we serve are changing. That puts the onus on the museum to learn and listen to our communities in order to determine how to best serve both current and future populations. The Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota) will become a “minority majority” area by 2040. To effectively serve our mission, that requires us to recruit, hire and support diverse talent from staff to board level, foster an inclusive workplace culture and align our talent with the communities we serve.
Technology has clearly changed the way we live. People are distracted as a result of living in a culture marked by technology-fueled immediacy. We are disconnected from one another as traditional communication channels disappear and the use of social media takes greater hold. We can think of this growing gap between people as an empathy deficit. We believe museums offer an opportunity for people to reconnect with themselves and recharge. They can also help close the empathy deficit by helping people connect with each other. In a fast-paced world, Mia is challenged with maintaining our high caliber of excellence while providing responsive, relevant exhibitions and programs and using multiple communications channels.
The fight for funding is ever present. And that requires showing a return on investment—proving that art in all of its forms provides an essential and positive impact in people’s lives. We see its essential nature manifested in many ways, providing a sense of purpose, learning, or community to both individuals and families, as well as fueling curiosity and bringing new perspectives. We collect and provide metrics that show our impact. Mia relies heavily on the use of data, which is still very new in the museum world.
How does Mia keep on top of these disruptive forces?
Monitoring trends is very important to what we do. In a time of change, we need to be outward looking. In both our current (Mia Strategic Plan 2021) and prior (the DNA) strategic plans, we incorporate both “state of the field” and “state of the world” environmental scans to inform our work.
We regularly discuss the state of the art world, leveraging museum-world publications such as the Center for the Future of Museums at the American Alliance of Museums called TrendsWatch that pulls together museum-related research, projects and blogs that directly influence our work.
But we also scan for and analyze trends across non-museum sectors and platforms, too, so that we understand and can respond to what is going on in the broader world, and play an active role.