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Co-Curation: International examples

Page history last edited by Gaetan Lee 9 years, 1 month ago

Co-curation: international examples - Chair: Andrew Pekarik, Smithsonian Institution

Audio from the session


Using the National Museum of the American Indian as a case study, Karen Fort will talk about how she and her colleagues develop community-curated exhibits and what they have learned from this.



Jaime Kopke will give an overview of the Denver Community Museum (a pop-up gallery) and its participatory programmes. Its monthly rotating exhibitions were based entirely on community submissions.



  • Lynda Kelly, Head of Audience Research, Australian Museum
    Lynda Kelly will describe how museums can engage audiences in new ways, not only in front-end evaluation, but in providing content and interpretive ideas for exhibitions and programmes.



Scott Anthony summary from the day:

Karen Fort, Senior Exhibit Coordinator, National Museum of the American Indian

Part of the museum’s mission was to move beyond standard anthropological representations of the American Indian – reflecting this aim, every aspect of the museum‘s development was facilitated by multiple representative groups of American Indians. Although the gap between the museum and the people whose life and culture it represents was closed the subsequent difficulty has been in engaging the overwhelmingly Western audience. Museums have to take responsibility for their content, pay attention to the expectation of visitors and strategically plan the involvement of co-curators.

Jaime Kopke, Founder/Director, Denver Community Museum (via video link)

The Denver Community Museum was a pop up museum that ran a changing monthly exhibition of objects donated by the local community. Everything was accepted, participation was free. Over time, the nature of the objects donated, and the exhibitions themselves became more fluid, while the exhibitions themselves also prompted new social connections. Although the exhibitions depended entirely on the contribution of visitors, the role-of the curator remained a central contextualising presence.


Lynda Kelly, Head of Audience Research, Australian Museum Co-curation: does it work...and how?

Traditional social science methods of audience research have the museum sucking information out of the audience. Alternatively, the consultation model of engagement in workshops etc has the beginnings of a two-way conversation. In the user-generated content model – as in the Australian Museum’s ‘All about Evil’ exhibition, content was developed online via blogs and Facebook. The most sustained model of engagement is the ‘building community’ model, which can persist online beyond the opening of the display. Museums of the future will need to adapt to the challenges of new technologies that blur the lines between the museum and the online environment.

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