Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Community Engagement: Is Your Museum Plugged In?

As I write this blog post, there is a lot going on in Richmond, VA. This Saturday morning, 40,000 (yes!) runners will make their way down Monument Avenue in the annual Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K race. Also on Saturday (and hopefully again on Monday!), Richmond's own VCU Rams Mens' Basketball team will be competing in the NCAA Final Four (Monday would be the Championship)! This made me start thinking, are the museums in the Richmond region plugging in to the enthusiasm (and FOOT TRAFFIC!) that this weekend will surely bring?

When the VMFA opened it's renowned Picasso exhibit recently, businesses around Richmond responded and plugged in immediately, offering Picasso-themed menu items, discounts to folks bringing their Picasso ticket stubs, and more. Clearly, when a business person sees an opportunity to bring customers, he or she takes advantage!

Can we say the same for our museums? With Richmond in the spotlight this weekend, what will your museum do to make sure it shines your way - at least just a little? Will you engage with the community? There are a lot of opportunities here for creative (and even not so creative!) community engagement. The lead article in our Winter 2009 VAM Voice Newsmagazine focused on museums innovating to survive - and it highlighted creative programming and partnerships that museums have forged throughout Virginia to remain relevant and to become active players in their communities. I'd love to add to our list of great innovations some ways that Richmond-area museums are plugging in to this weekend's "madness" or ways that museums in other parts of the state have done the same when community opportunities present themselves. If you have an example to share, please leave us a comment!

- Heather

Heather Widener
Communications Director
Virginia Association of Museums


johnverrill said...

For museums seeking to innovate, the idea presented by Heather is a good one. Though not every museum has the power of Picasso or the VMFA, they do have resources that are important to the community in which they live. Identify those resources and ways your museum can interact with the business community, the results may be very gratifying

Bobby Tan said...

johnverrill said..."Identify those resources and ways your museum can interact with the business community..."

Would elaborate on that? Can you provide some specific examples, ideas, etc?