The Museumhive Model: a Primer

We set out to create a model that combines two things: 1) the social engagement of in-person meetups, and 2) the insight from national thought leaders on the topic of museums serving their communities. And from this, we generate content: a series of videos that are annotated and easy to view. In shorthand: Meetup + Hangout = Community Content.

Some of the components in the model:

  • A series of meetups. In our case, six meetups with national thought leaders in the museum field: Nina Simon (museums and relevance), Kimberly Drew (black culture and social media), Beka Economopoulos (museums and action), Elizabeth Merritt (empathy and mass migration), Rob Stein (global thinking), and Emily Graslie (museum vlogs)

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How we set up Google Hangouts for Museumhive

One of the behind the scenes challenges for Museumhive was to make sure our Google Hangouts connected without a hitch at the Museumhive meetup. (The image of fumbling around at the keyboard trying to connect the presenter while and audience is expectantly watching over your shoulder motivated a lot of pre-event testing). And I’m pleased to say that with the exception of a few minor glitches, our Hangouts happened without incident, and are wonderfully archived on Youtube for all to see forever and ever.

Here’s the process I used to set the Hangout up.  (This is as of late summer 2017 — we found that the specific process seems to change a couple times a year as Google evolves the interface. For example, partway through the project, Google Hangouts seemed to evolve into YouTube Live. But with that caveat, this may be helpful to others in any case): Read more

Video: Museumhive Hangout with Emily Graslie

Another great Hangout session with Emily Graslie, a visual artist and Chief Curiosity Correspondent at the Field Museum in Chicago. Emily is the creator and host of the Brain Scoop, and online platform which focuses on science and education. Below we discuss cats, science and advocating for more content creators in museums.


0:00 Introduction + short speech by Dan Yaeger, Brad Larson and Ed Rodley.

3:24 Emily introduces herself, and talks about how she got started with the Brain Scoop.

5:03 Emily talks about advocating for Chief Curiosity Correspondent (content creator) positions at other Museums.

7:07 Emily opens the discussion for questions. Read more

Museumhive Meetup Thursday 7/27 with Emily Graslie: Museums, Vlogs, and The Brain Scoop

Join us for the final Museumhive on July 27! Emily Graslie will be our featured virtual guest. Tickets are available on Eventbrite here.

Emily is Chief Curiosity Correspondent for The Field Museum in Chicago. Emily is the creator, host and writer for the museum’s educational YouTube series, The Brain Scoop. Launched in January 2013, The Brain Scoop aims to share the research and collections work of natural history museums with a broad audience, and across a variety of digital platforms. To date, Emily and her team have created more than 170 videos, which have been viewed 18 million times by passionate learners from all over the world.

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Museumhive Meetup Wednesday 6/28: Rob Stein, Global Thinking for Local Impact

Coming up, our next meetup, with museum strategist and tech leader, Rob Stein. Rob is a longtime innovator and leading blogger in the museum world, and is now Executive VP and Chief Program Officer at the American Association of Museums. Rob will talk about how the collaborative nature of the museum field coupled with the power of networked communities can lead to a global lens on the practice of museums. Come and join us to unpack how museums might use global thinking to drive local impact.

Schedule, Wednesday 6/28: Read more

Video: Museumhive Hangout with Elizabeth Merritt,

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!