MuseumNext takeaways

MuseumNext takeaways

I’ve been following along to #MuseumNext conferences on social media for a few years and they always have a great buzz around them. So when MuseumNext founder Jim Richardson created an early bird freelance offer to this year’s London conference, I (and many other freelancers) jumped at the chance to attend.

In fact, Jim called it an “invasion of freelancers” and we had about 40 freelancers at our Museum Freelance social meet-up on day 1 from across the UK, America, Iceland, Denmark, Spain, Holland, Turkey and more! Some left inspired to set up something similar to Museum Freelance on their patch. This is brilliant news, as a thriving supportive community is such a boost for freelancers.

Some of the crew at the Museum Freelance meet-up at Museum Next

The conference was about “Change” and there was a range of speakers with a range of perspectives and experiences. My Museum Freelance co-organiser Marge Ainsley and I had an open stage slot to talk about our work with Museum Freelance, and it was great to have this platform to spread the message about our work and the change we are aiming for.

Marge and I speaking at Museum Next

There were so many lessons and inspiration from the three-day conference itself, but here are some of my highlights and takeaways from the speakers:

  • Listen and involve others
  • Be the change you want to see
  • Take risks
  • Failure is ok
  • Look after yourself in the process
  • Ensure you have allies at the top, in the community, in the sector
  • Resistance to change is natural
  • Change is a process, it’s forever, there’s no finite end point
  • You can’t communicate too much during a time of change.

And some key quotes that resonated with me:

  • Hillary Spencer, president / CEO Children’s Museum of the Upstate: “Failure is success that looked differently to what you expected.”
  • Ann Follin, director general, Swedish National Museums of World Culture: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
  • Mike Murawskil, director of learning and community partnerships, Portland Art Museum had a great introduction to his session: “What we say here, stays here. What we learn here, leaves here.”
  • Sam Coniff Allende, author and pirate: “Sometimes when you hear ‘no’, pretend you hear ‘go’.”
  • Esme Ward, director of Manchester Museum: “If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you always get.” And “Do what makes your heart beat faster.”

Museum Next conference happen several times across the year and globe:

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