Ignite MCN 2021: The Museums of 2100

The Museums of 2100 (IGNITE)


Unknown Speaker 00:00
So next up, we've got Emily Crum. Emily is the program coordinator, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. And she's young professional who brings us a fresh take on what the future of museums might be like as well. Coming from a person who started her career during a global pandemic. He lives in Chicago and I'm excited to meet Emily in person one of these days when things kind of settle down with all this. So Emily, take it away.

Unknown Speaker 00:30
I'm ready. I hope although I know a lot happened to everyone in 2020 a lot happened to me. I graduated I moved three times I got a museum job I worked completely remote. I got a puppy. Besides that, and I barely made any friends. due to various lockdowns and restrictions, I'd gone from immense optimism to deep depression. So I taught the museum's outreach program to fourth through sixth graders. And one day while I was in class, I really felt like I was living in the apocalypse. My students were asking me like when they would be back in person, why is COVID still happening, etc. And my motto as a teacher is never to straight up, tell my kids they were wrong, and to always give them my best answer. But I also had no idea when things were going to return to the new normal. I was still sitting in my apartment and not seeing anybody for multiple days. And I was not the person to ask these questions, especially since I had no clue, no clue what was going on. So although I did manage to get a full time museum job, I also moved to a new city had not met any of my co workers had never been to the museum, and was doing 45 to 60 hours of work a week, I was not sure about my life, and I felt much uncertainty about the future. So in typical fashion of myself, I began to question Where are we? What is our future? And where do we begin to address the widespread, rapid changes we adapted worldwide? And although I am honestly still winging it now, I believe these questions are imperative for the future. And as a museum person, I specifically question what the museum's of tomorrow's future be, we find ourselves in an opportune moment to commit to more modern operations become more nimble, and truly be public serving institutions. And COVID is just the chance to redesign old structures. So as the world emerges from the covid, 19 pandemic, what do we want our futures our museums of the future to be? And what do we want them to be right now? And what to wear to face another global pandemic? What about accessibility and community commitments? And who is the new definition of a museum person? And now that I've supplied ample context, and he's like 10 seconds, and at least 15 questions with no answers? Let me say that I am truly excited about the future. I have dedicated my emerging career to pushing the barriers of the norm and COVID has given museums an opportunity to be somewhat experimental. So my three points are virtual programs, expanded museums, audiences, do you just forget them. Museums became trendy, how do we not lose the things we gained and COVID? In the digital fundamentally questions do you even need a physical museum? So first programs I ran, whether it was Family Day, cocktail, happy hours, tours, etc, welcome people from across the country. Even my parents attended programs from Southern California literally 2700 miles away from where I was in Philadelphia

Unknown Speaker 03:06
a few seconds ago, I believe there's a way to make interactions hybrid for the remainder of museum existence well into the future. And personally, I enjoy tuning into a program at 6pm while I'm sitting on my couch with my dog, and although I am not physically present, I am just as engaged in the material as if I were there. And although it is more logistics to make things hybrid, you are able to further achieve your Museum's mission, not to mention the benefits of working professionals, parents, etc. Being able to attend programs to in summary virtual programs make museums more accessible. Second, museums became trendy, how do we not lose the things we gained? virtual tours blew up in 2020. It seemed everyone had won and stuck at home people realize the true value of museums, especially with the financial and travel barriers removed that sometimes hinder people from coming. While doing research. I found a Bloomberg headline which read Why do Instagram playgrounds keep calling themselves museums? immersive experiences have put a new spin on the the fundamental idea of a museum? Where do we go from here? And what should the museum experience be as we emerged from COVID. And I'm not saying each museum should have selfie stations everywhere, although I know some are. But that immersive experiences are driving people to these types of spaces. And of course, the Art Institute of Chicago is never going to let you touch Monet. But I do think there's merit in reevaluating the overall museum experience. And finally COVID in the digital fundamentally questions do you even need a physical Museum, we literally could not step foot in a museum for the better part of a year and I am sensitive to the fact that museum suffered financially. But what if the museum was already virtual beforehand, with fiscal space is no longer accessible. During COVID, we realized that museums don't even have to be a physical space. I worked for a museum for over a year and went there less than 10 times and I was working from home the entire time having no idea what I was talking about because I've never been there before. And so the Kramer Art Museum features High Definition images of painting and virtual architecture to create a museum like in environment in virtual reality. And this example truly makes it possible for the public, whoever they are to experience Masterworks in a museum setting. And in closing, museums are tuned into broader society now more than ever before. And over 2020 and even 2021, we saw real fundamental change related to supporting equality and people of color, making it clear that society directly influences the operation of museums. And we are in the future more than five minutes ago when I started this talk. And I would like to know how and what museums of 2020 2100 will look like. And while I have my own ideas, I'm excited to work together to find out what they will become then.

Unknown Speaker 05:39
Yeah, Emily. Yes,

Unknown Speaker 05:48
thank you so much, Emily. Thank you. Yeah. And if you haven't had a chance to scroll through all the people that are in the room, there's 140 other American participants here today. And it's really exciting to see so many faces.