Transforming Museums in the Twenty-first Century
By Graham Black
Routledge – 2011 – 276 pages
In his book, Graham Black argues that museums must transform themselves if they are to remain relevant to 21st century audiences – and this root and branch change would be necessary whether or not museums faced a funding crisis. It is the result of the impact of new technologies and the rapid societal developments that we are all a part of, and applies not just to museums but to all arts bodies and to other agents of mass communication.
Through comment, practical examples and truly inspirational case studies, this book allows the reader to build a picture of the transformed 21st century museum in practice. Such a museum is focused on developing its audiences as regular users. It is committed to participation and collaboration. It brings together on-site, online and mobile provision and, through social media, builds meaningful relationships with its users. It is not restricted by its walls or opening hours, but reaches outwards in partnership with its communities and with other agencies, including schools. It is a haven for families learning together. And at its heart lies prolonged user engagement with collections, and the conversations and dialogues that these inspire.
The book is filled to the brim with practical examples. It features:
Sitting alongside Graham Black’s previous book, The Engaging Museum, we now have a clear vision of a museum of the future that engages, stimulates and inspires the publics it serves, and plays an active role in promoting tolerance and understanding within and between communities.
Introduction: change or die Part I: From Visitor to User 1. Getting to know our users better 2. Stimulating visits; building relationships 3. Welcoming and supporting the museum user Part II: The Engaging Museum 4. Informal learning 5. Museums and formal learning 6. Conversations around collections 7. Stimulating family conversations in the museum 8. From engaging communities to civil engagement 9. Endpiece: the future of the museum exhibition
Graham Black is Reader in Public History and Heritage Management, at Nottingham Trent University. He is also a consultant Heritage Interpreter, and exhibitions on which he has acted as Interpretive Consultant have won the first UK £100,000 Museum Prize (2003) and been on the final shortlist for the Prize (2007), as well as winning its predecessor the Gulbenkian Prize, a Museum of the Year Award, the Special Judges Prize at the Interpret Britain Awards and the English Tourist Board’s "England for Excellence" Tourist Attraction of the Year Award. He is a Fellow of the Association for Heritage Interpretation (UK). He is the author of The Engaging Museum (Routledge, 2005).