Call for Examples

After conducting a literature review and preliminary resource review based on a previous call for examples, I am returning to social media and the online museum community to seek examples of museum* partnerships.  These examples will be used as case studies in a paper about museum engagement for the University of Victoria’s CH561 ‘Social Engagement’ class (Cultural Resource Management program, Faculty of Continuing Studies).  In this second call for examples I am looking for partnerships between museums or partnerships between museums and industry associations only.  

There is already significant literature about museums partnering with community organizations, so I am interested in examining how museums work together to build community engagement capacity.  While many people confuse “community engagement” with any public-facing programs that bring in visitors, my course describes community engagement as the purposeful identification and meeting of community needs as defined by the community.  For a more detailed explanation of the museum partnerships examples I am looking for, please read “Further Details” below.

*The term 'museum' is very broad and is used in this case to mean museums, galleries, heritage organizations, libraries/archives with exhibits, etc.  For the purposes of this call for examples and subsequent paper, 'museum' is used as a blanket term for an organization that exhibits culture and/or heritage.

Contact

Please send examples of museum partnerships to me by Friday, 27 March 2015.  You can send your examples to me via email: ben@benfast.ca (ben [at] benfast [dot] ca), or you can Tweet it to me: @benfaster.

Thank you in advance for your contributions to this project!

Please also feel free to share this post with your networks by Tweeting: Please help  find examples of   for a school project:  Thanks!

Further Details

Description:

The purpose of this paper is to examine the community engagement capacity building potential of museum-to-museum partnerships and collaboration.  The goal of this research paper will be to explore the potential for community engagement capacity building of museum partnerships through the lens of successful partnership case studies.  This research also aims to expand the concept of ‘community’ to include an industry-specific group made up of organizations that share common goals and mandates (a ‘museum community’ or ‘community of museums’) working together to foster growth within the industry and broader society.

While partnerships with community organizations are key to a museum’s success, they feature more prominently in the literature than partnerships among museums.  I wish to fill this gap in the research through this paper.

This is an exploratory paper meant to uncover if museum partnerships exist and, if so, determine trends within those activities such as:

  • What organizations are involved in the partnerships
  • For what reasons do museums partner together
  • What benefits result from museum partnerships
  • What are barriers to partnerships
  • On what scale do partnerships exist (geographic or financial)
  • What community engagement activities are facilitated through partnerships

For the purposes of this paper, community engagement is defined as activities (programs, exhibits, education, services, etc.) provided by or through a museum that address the needs of a specific group of people (a ‘community’), as compared to audience development, which is to benefit the museum through raised visitation numbers without a purposeful regard to the needs of the community.  Capacity is defined as a museum’s ability to engage community, and capacity building is defined as the acquiring of skills, knowledge, experience, or resources through partnerships that aid a museum’s community engagement activities.  Partnerships are defined loosely and can include formal or informal agreements where museums share resources, experience, expertise, and/or other forms of ‘capacity’ for the direct purpose of mutual benefit.  I am interested to see how you define partnerships!

While I am not studying partnerships between museums and community organizations, I am interested in how museums partner with industry-specific organizations such as museum associations and funding bodies (for example the Canadian Museums Association, Museums Galleries Scotland, Arts Council England).

Research Methods:

As this paper is for a class on social engagement, I am reaching out through social media (this blog, Twitter, and Facebook) and email to source case study examples from a broad museum community.  This will, I hope, provide examples from around the globe and of partnerships large and small which may not yet be featured in academic publications.  It will also allow museums to participate in an act of social engagement (please feel free to share this post to your own networks!).  I am also researching museum partnerships through academic secondary sources, having already completed a literature review for this paper, and my own exploration of museum websites.

Expected Outcomes:

After my original call for examples and reviewing a selection of available literature about museum partnerships, I have found that partnerships between museums exist but do not feature as prominently in the academic literature.  Early communication with museums professionals indicate an interest in exploring this topic further and a confidence that examples exist across the industry.  I believe a more defined and targeted social media campaign will provide enough examples to make a worthwhile research paper.

Publishing and Disclaimer:

It is my intention to make public the findings of this paper through my blog (end of April, 2015).  While I will not use identifiers in the paper, please be aware that your comments and suggestions may be made public.  If there is information or specific details about partnerships you do not wish to be made public, please indicate this to me in your email.  Also, be aware that Tweeting information to me happens through a public forum and others may see the information you share that way.  Providing links to published information (websites, journal articles, news stories) is best, although I am also interested in planned partnership activities.

Further Contact

To ask questions, raise concerns, provide examples, or just say hi, you can…

Email me: ben@benfast.ca

Tweet me: @benfaster

Or you can contact my instructor, Dr. Candace Tangorra Matelic at cmatelic@uvic.ca