Thesis Breakthrough

Photo via Instagram
Katie Dune

In researching case studies over the summer, I stumbled upon Mmuseumm in NYC.  A small museum, some might say “pop-up,” may be found in an abandoned elevator shaft in Cortlandt Alley. Mmuseum hosted their own IndieGoGo campaign last year, raising over $21,000. In their second year of operating, the museum is a registered non-profit funded through donations and by its parent organization, Red Bucket Films.

Mmuseumm was founded by three friends, film-makers from California, with a mission to tell stories of everyday objects: interested in the emotion and real stories behind the smallest details found in the world around them. In looking for an outlet to tell these stories, Mmuseumm was created as a sort of “language” to reach the public.

In contacting Alex Kalman, one of the founders of the museum, I was delighted to speak to one of the original minds behind the organization and the IndieGoGo campaign itself. As my thesis focuses on crowdsourcing strategies that may be strategically implemented in museums, one of those being crowdfunding, I saw Mmuseumm as a great opportunity to investigate a small museum with big ambitions. In speaking with Alex, one of my first questions was why crowdfunding was chosen above more traditional forms of fundraising. Here in lies the “breakthrough” I had in approaching this topic. Alex, answered honestly and unbiased, surprising me with his answer to this first question. His answer: we used crowdfunding because we needed money.

Why was this a breakthrough? Up until this point, I had found that museums used crowdsourcing strategies in order to expand their audiences, connect with their communities, and to tap into a new demographic of donors. While these reasons still hold true in other interviews and case studies, in Mmuseumm’s case, I hadn’t approached this topic from this angle.

In speaking with Alex, his response changed the ways in which I view crowd funding. And in viewing it as simply a resource as Mmuseumm did,  I can understand and appreciate Alex’s response and have expanded the power and impact that crowd funding may have on museums, small and large to more than my original findings.