Elizabeth Merritt, founding director of the Center for the Future of Museums, spoke with us about how museums can tackle migration, the empathy deficit and what the world might look like in three hundred years. Tune in below!
0:00 Opening remarks and introductions.
4:24 Elizabeth begins by talking about her Trends Report, museums and futurism.
7:04 Elizabeth talks through the five major themes highlighted in the 2017 Trends Report: Empathy, Criminal Justice reform, Artificial Intelligence, Migration, and Failure.
10:48 Elizabeth dives deeper into the topic of empathy. There’s a lot of research that there has been a 48% decline in empathy in America.
12:02 Empathy is like a muscle, there are practices that might be able to cultivate more empathy.
12:33 Elizabeth discusses the traveling exhibit “A Mile in My Shoes.”
13:24 Elizabeth discusses the human library.
14:00 Elizabeth explores empathy as an outcome or goal for museum exhibits.
15:00 Elizabeth moves onto migration, and its motivating factors.
15:45 Elizabeth discusses “climate refugees” in the U.S.
16:37 Technical difficulties!
18:15 Elizabeth discusses the ways museums have been able to help natives understand the cultures of new populations in their countries.
19:00 Elizabeth stresses the importance of community awareness among museum professionals.
21:49 Q&A begins. Question: how did the ‘A Mile in My Shoes’ exhibit accommodate people in wheel chairs?
22:57 Technical difficulties!
24:36 Q: How did you identify that we are in an empathy deficit?
28:12 Follow up — the story of the empathy gap lacks metrics. Is there a way for museums to produce and measure empathy?
32:30 Follow up — Qualitative measurement for wellbeing as it applies to
34:07 Q:Can you talk a bit more about the theme of failure?
41:04 Q: How would you recommend small museums might be able to scale down ambitious concepts?
44:00 Q: Relevance and taking a stand are topics that keep coming up in our conversations here. What do you think about these two issues in the museum context?
48:56 Follow up — We didn’t talk about migration that much in this dialogue. What do you think about museums taking a political stand?
54:43 Q: Can you talk a bit more about futurism?
56:30 Thank you and goodbye!