Having been aware of the existence of the Museum Computer Network for years, this year I applied for a scholarship and was very lucky to receive one! A great thank you to the MCN organizers for giving me such an opportunity!
Somehow having missed the registration desk when I checked in at the hotel, I met with an enthusiastic group of peers at the Science Museum of Minnesota, who immediately adopted me into the group. At the science museum we went through the galleries discussing the design and affordances offered to visitor experiences through the design of the exhibitions. This culminated in a meeting with a group of staff members who were brave enough to take in all our comments. Such exercise can be very fruitful and inspiring, and maybe museum professionals should more often just go into the galleries and meet their users face to face.
Yes, MCN is something special!
Driving from St. Paul to Minneapolis in a vintage, sixty+ years old bus provided from Minnesota Transportation Museum set the scene for further discussions and networking as well as it brought us safely to the Pourhouse, and an evening full of talking, food, drinks and a very inspirational Ignite session. On stage, Koven Smith from the Blanton Museum of Art demonstrated excellent moderator skills and should consider pursuing a career of hosting the Oscar’s, Emmy’s and similar grand events. The “Igniters” came through with important messages, demonstrating the great diversity of the community. These inputs made my brain rumble ever since: No matter what kind of output you are producing through your particular job, you are most probably going through numerous highly creative processes of which you may be unaware.
Museums inherit qualities of great importance to the society and individuals. It is critical to continuously evaluate and unleash these powers. Museum visitors and non-visitors have a lot to offer museums, and both sides should be considered as equal partners, which should also be reflected in communication models describing this relationship and in the accessibility efforts conducted by the museums. Awareness of the relationship needs to be emphasized constantly and may even lead to anti-oppression. How do we involve people, and how do we communicate with them? Many of these topics may involve digital technology, but what do people actually mean when talking about the digital?
At The Pourhouse: Nikhil Trived igniting us Towards an Anti-Oppression Museum Manifesto
Thursday morning, Keynote Liz Ogbu asked her audience the important question “What is it that you want to change by the work you are doing?”, and encouraged us to be a human being! Important reminders that should spring into mind, when struggling with everyday annoyances like spreadsheeds, budgets, visitor numbers, or technological calamities. The responsibility addressed by Ogbu is of great importance for museum professionals as we are in a powerful position: as David Fleming from the Liverpool Museum advocates, museums change lives.