Video: Museumhive Hangout with Beka Economopoulos: Museums and Environmental Action

Had a great Hangout with Beka Economopoulos, co-founder of The Natural History Museum, a popup museum in Brooklyn that is changing perceived boundaries around museums by taking exhibits and programs out on the road and collaborating with organizations. Beka encourages museums to take a position on issues such as environmental change to be more relevant to the communities they serve. “People love museums and want to see them live up to their visions.”


  • 01:00 Powerpoint: The Natural History Museum
  • 03:25 Reconnect to the living universe, past to present
  • 04:20 Re-evaluate role in the midst of profound environmental change
  • 04:35 About The Natural History Museum
  • 06:20 Making science and natural history relevant to people’s daily lives
  • 07:00 Helping museums get into a more engaged position with the communities they serve
  • 08:20 Point #1: Take a position. “Neutral” is not what visitors are looking for. MuseumNext Survey
  • 11:50 Cutting ties to the fossil fuel industry
  • 13:55 Point #2: Engaging impacted communities. Houston project, toxic tours.
  • 16:30 Operation Dinosaur air quality monitoring
  • 17:20 Point #3: Journey to the Living Universe
  • 18:00 Collaboration with indigenous community impacted by environmental change
  • 23:00 Question from audience: Starting a popup museum
  • 25:40 “Fake it till you make it” strategy
  • 30:50 People love museums, want to see them live up to their visions. Too often answer the holy grail of “relevance” with interactive apps
  • 33:50 Question from audience: How do you find collaborators/partners?
  • 35:15  Question from audience: How did you choose the name The Natural History Museum; and roles for high school students?
  • 37:40 Question: What’s the story of the van?
  • 39:00 Question: How did you arrive where you are?
  • 40:30 Need to “unfossilize” our institutions and embolden them
  • 41:10  Question: what was the reaction to the exhibit in Houston?
  • 42:30 Question: tell us more about your role in the March for Science
  • 48:50 Following your passion. If you’re excited about content and can get others excited, you’re 90% of the way there
  • 49:50 Funding: in taking a position you unlock new revenue streams, social change funders, foundations
  • 53:20 Wrap up: contribute to our continued discussions

Your thoughts? Post them to the hive below!…