Opportunity for Being a "More Human" Museum

Joseph Gonzales

In our Museum Communication Issues in Museum course, we are examining audience development, audience and visitor engagement, and participatory strategies in order to create concept plans, programs, and tactics for local museums. As previously mentioned, the first quarter of the semester has focused on Rohit Bhargava’s concepts and principles of “likeability” and what that can mean for museums. In class, we are developing an assessment tool for evaluating a museum’s likeability. As one would guess, this includes everything from images and messages in marketing and public relations materials, building appearance, visitor services, programs, exhibition content, and visitor experiences.

The goal of this “likeability” assessment is identify opportunities for institutions to become and project a “more human” institution that prioritizes – Truth, People, Story, and Personality. This exercise is directly inspired by the American’s for the Arts, National Art Marketing Project’s E-book, created by Rohit Bhargava and JP Morales, 8 WAYS TO MAKE ARTS ORGANIZATIONS MORE HUMAN.

In this brief blog exercise, students will identify one area or opportunity for improvement form their chosen museum, describe their thinking of why this is an opportunity for improving the museum’s likeability, and propose a simple solution and that could be developed to make this aspect of the museum more human, and thus more friendly, approachable and amenable to the public. The goal ultimately is to enhance the assets that museus already possess, such as public trust, integrity, and collections through different audience development and audience engagement approaches.