Thoughts on Reinventing the Museum, Part III

The theme fit perfectly for this week, there needs to be change within the museum’s and how they conduct their business operations.  Like everything in life, things change, and museums need to change as we are in the twenty-first century. Falk and Sheppard’s section on “Creating a New Business Model” showed the importance of strategy within a business. If you do not have a strategy, the business is not likely to succeed. One of the things they brought up that seemed most relevant concerned the notion that museums, or non-profit organizations in general, need to follow the models of the for-profit organizations (383). I loved how they kept reminding us of the importance of change, nothing can stay static for very long in a society that is constantly evolving. They also stated museums once lived in a world free from the “tawdry demands of the marketplace.” (381). Well, that is not the case anymore and therefore changes must be made to cope with that changing market.

However, as Kotter noted in “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail,” change is not easy and it takes a certain individual to make it happen (521). Leadership is required for change to take place and it makes sense because not everyone thinks they need to change, so it takes a leader to make it occur. The eight steps Kotter addressed to transform an organization were insightful and seemed relevant and logical approaches to tackling such a task. Simply by looking at what he claimed an organization needed in order to transform, it did seem a daunting task, but a necessary one in many cases where organizations have fallen behind in the twenty-first century.

The chapter “Museums and Libraries in the 21st Century” discussed the three shifts having effects on museums and libraries in this era: the economy, societal needs and audience expectations (497). With the changing society, technology, economy, etc, new skills are needed. In a country and a century that many consider technologically advanced, more interactivity is expected by the audience. As our society changes, the expectations do as well, therefore our organizations must change. A very enlightening set of chapters that stressed the need for change which it seems many are either fearful of or not prepared for.

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