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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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!

Museumhive meetup, 5/25: The Future of Museums: Empathy, Refugees, and Mass Migration w/ Elizabeth Merritt

We’re looking forward to our next meetup event featuring a Google Hangout with Elizabeth Merritt, Vice President, Strategic Foresight at the American Alliance of Museum and Founding Director, Center for the Future of Museums.

Larger trends in the world impact museums and their audiences, and the Center for the Future of Museums is at the forefront forecasting those trends in their annual Trendswatch report. Elizabeth will introduce the five trends impacting museums they’ve identified, and explore some of the implications of two of those trends: the growing empathy deficit, and the plight of refugees and others experiencing mass migration of populations.

  • How are museums addressing the “empathy deficit”?
  • How have some communities welcomed refugees as a resource, using immigration to spur economic development and reverse declining populations?
  • What are some simple first steps museums can take to address both of these issues?

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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

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Video: Museumhive Hangout with Kimberly Drew

Another amazing hangout with Kimberly Drew of the MET Museum and Black Contemporary Art.


0:00 Cierra Peters; Introduction to Museumhive

0:33 The MET. blogging and social media – how Kimberly started.

3:53 The Challenges of working with digital media.

7:25 Digital media’s place in museums.

6:53 Initiating Dialogue: reaching the communities museums intend to serve.

12:00 Question from the audience: how can we reach communities when resources are limited? – If there’s an opportunity to reach out to 1-5 community organizers, make space available for others, think creatively about how to use resources.

12:50 Stories from the Studio Museum in Harlem: it’s really easy to forget that people on the outside don’t always know what the Museum is doing. It’s worthwhile to slow down and invite people in.

14:00 Question from Cierra: Can you talk about Black Art Incubator and Black Futures – all of Kimberly’s projects are born from collaboration and others being gracious enough to share their time with her.

15:18 On the Black Art Incubator: how it began, and why community is important in our current political moment.

16:57 On Black Futures: a book project with Jenna Wortham

18:01 Follow up question: What was the process like during Black Art Incubator?

20:59 Question from the audience: What digital art projects are inspiring you? – DM’ing other scholars, people taking selfies at the museum, the infinite ways in which people can engage with the galleries of the museums are inspiring.

23:55 Question from the audience: Does the museum online need to reflect the physical space? It’s more important to illustrate the possibility of visiting and what the museum has to offer. Illustrate the mission.

26:26 Question from the audience: Is changing the museums image through digital disingenuous?

27:39 Museums need to share resources through digital.

28:34 Question from the audience, Christlene De Jean: how do you use your platform to hold space for art and discourse? – A: there is always a way to use what exists in the archive to relate to contemporary conversations.

30:55 Our digital imprint has so much potential for change.

32:00 Question from the audience: Do you have a final statement for the group?

33:20 Thank you and goodbye!

Revised Hangout Prep Notes

Here we are, after a great event, and we’ve updated the way you can view the archived Hangout with Nina. Best way is to view it through our blog entry, so you can view the notes and add your own comments. Enjoy!

And, please, if you haven’t already, sign up for our e-newsletter in the sidebar – it’s the way we can follow up and send you the URL to the archived video and keep you posted about future events. Thanks!


Museumhive: Meetup on 10/26; Nina Simon Google Hangout

We may still be working on this site, but we’re moving full speed ahead with plans! Primed to have Nina Simon as our first Hangout guest talking with us about museums and relevance.  We’ll also be talking about the Museumhive plan where we collectively create documents about connecting museums and communities. 10/26/16 at District Hall in Boston.  The big picture: developing a model where colleagues across an industry meet up informally and develop community content that moves the field forward. Sign up for our e-Newsletter so we can keep you posted. Schedule:

  • 6pm to 6:45 social time with DJ and cash bar
  • 6:45 to 7pm Museumhive intro and overview
  • 7pm to 7:30 Hangout with Nina Simon, Q&A

Please register for the (free) event here to reserve your spot.

Museumhive proposal to IMLS is funded!

Happy to get word that our proposal to IMLS to explore the “generative meetup” has been approved — we’ll be exploring ways that informal social gatherings among professionals and emerging professionals can generate content beyond the event.  Here’s the summary found on IMLS’ website:

The New England Museum Association will explore the “generative meetups” concept by launching the Museumhive project. This new professional development model will connect regional museum professionals with thought leaders to create local content on topics of national interest to the museum profession. The initial theme will focus on “the distributed museum,” a museum not bound by its physical location but integrated throughout its community. The project will support six in-person meetups featuring presentations by national thought leaders talking about their work via live Google Hangouts. After each meetup, staff and volunteers will index and archive the Hangout video, summarize the event on a WordPress site, invite additional contributions via email and Twitter, and then prepare a short e-publication summary designed to help staff connect the topic to their own experiences at their museums. This experimental format for hive-created content will be shared with other museum associations for national replication.