“Managing Museums in the 21st Century” is a course brought to you by the Smithsonian Institution with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Parts of this course were developed for the My Armenia Program, a collaborative program of the people of Armenia, USAID, and the Smithsonian Institution.
This course provides a broad introduction to various aspects of operating a museum. It considers the myriad ways that museums attract and engage visitors onsite and online. It also considers ways museums must be creative in seeking funding. Though museums have existed for hundreds of years, they are always changing, and that change has only accelerated over the last few years as content generation has increased, demands on people’s time have increased, audience expectations have evolved, technology has changed, and new approaches to museum exhibitions and programs have taken shape.
This course is made up of four sections, each designed to share information and perspective, while offering moments for thought and reflection that you can apply to your work.: Exhibition Design and Interpretation, Public Programs, Social Media and Outreach, and Fundraising.
We’ve designed this course to address content with a range of audiences in mind, with particular focus on early-career museum professionals or mid-career professionals who have an interest in refreshing their understanding of function areas outside of their core expertise. This course is not intended to serve as a primer for operating a museum, but rather as a resource for thinking about different approaches to museum operations and activities as shared by a number of diverse Smithsonian professionals.
Through examples and case studies from the Smithsonian and My Armenia Program, you’ll develop a broader understanding of the approaches, tools, and techniques for designing and interpreting exhibitions, developing and implementing public programs, managing social media and outreach, and fundraising.
The first section of this course looks at exhibition design and interpretation. It reviews exhibition audience types and discusses different ways to curate and conceive narrative delivery. Lastly, it briefly provides recommendations for creating engaging museum labels.
The second section of this course discusses public programs – how to design and implement them both onsite in the museum, as well as online. Public programs are an important means of engaging lifelong learners, attract new visitors, and can be a valuable source of revenue for museums.
The third section of this course explores social media and outreach. More and more, the public seeks and finds information about museums through social media, so it has become an increasingly important tool for both promotion as well as content creation and delivery.
The final section of this course discusses fundraising and how museums must think creatively about revenue generation. Different countries approach formal fundraising differently – some cultures have more developed philanthropic environments than others. This section acknowledges that fundraising itself is really an art, and museums need to be both resourceful and resilient when approaching ways to raise funds.
- Lectures 0
- Quizzes 0
- Duration 2 weeks
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 0
- Assessments Yes