Key Source: Thriving in the Knowledge Age

Rob Hassler

When it comes to alternative spaces, a majority of the sources come from shorter articles, interviews, etc. It was reassuring to finally come across a book during my research that could provide key answers and support the objectives of my thesis. The overall goal of my thesis, is to emphasize the impact and importance of alternative spaces amidst an artistic environment that is dominated by more traditional museums. Although not written specifically for alternative spaces, Thriving in the Knowledge Age: New Business Models for Museums and Other Cultural Institutions proved to be a great resource. The book argues that museums require a radically new business model to survive the transition into the knowledge age. Only by shifting towards more personalized and community-based learning experiences can museums reverse the declining attendance figures of the twenty-first century. What made this book so appealing in regards to alternative spaces, was the notion that in order for museums to be successful in the future, they need to redefine the ways they were interacting with their visitors.

One of the key advantages that alternative spaces have in comparison to their traditional museum counterparts, is that they are fundamentally established on a more personal level. Many of the things that Thriving in the Knowledge Age sets out achieve in terms of what museums can and should be doing to prepare for the future, alternative spaces already have a head start. As alternative spaces are often established as smaller artistic collectives, they are born as community-focused and more personalized spaces from the day they are born. One of the main goals this book sets out to achieve, is the emphasis on the redefining purpose of museums. Rather than having museums serve mainly as a tourist destination, the transaction museums make must focus more on people, not the things they are offering. Alternative spaces focus on the quality of the experience they are giving to their audience rather than the amount of people that enter their spaces, something this book hopes to have museums do in the future. To find out a little more about what this source offers, the museum participatory guru Nina Simon wrote a blog on the authors not too long ago.