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The participatory house museum -log cabin village

  1. The Participatory House Museum? Designing for Participation in “Hands-Off” Spaces
  2. The Participatory Museum—guiding principles/theories • The idea of an audience-centered institution that is as relevant, useful, and accessible as a shopping mall or train station • The idea that visitors construct their own meaning from cultural experiences • The idea that users’ voices can inform and invigorate both project design and public-facing programs
  3. Log Cabin Village • Fort Worth living history museum dedicated to 19th century Texas • Seven log cabins (including a working gristmill), one-room school house, log smokehouse, reproduction blacksmith shop • Third person historical interpreters
  4. Where we were— a “pre” participatory model • “Chicken wire”—physical/emotional barrier • The spiel • Little visitor engagement • Duplicate experience at each visit…so why return?
  5. What does visitor engagement look like for your site? The “good ol’ days”
  6. Where we are— an “in process” participatory model • Removal of wire and plex; still barrier, but less divisive • Conversation-based interpretation • Touch baskets • Hands-on cabin—experience is entirely visitor- directed • Social media • Each visit, theoretically, is unique. Come back to learn more!
  7. What does visitor engagement look like for your site?
  8. What does visitor engagement look like for your site?
  9. Challenges • Budget—we can’t stay open later or hire more staff • Seeking outside input requires TIME and money • Time • Staff retraining • Did I mention time?
  10. Rewards • Staff members become stakeholders—less burnout • Visitors feel emotionally and physically engaged and return • Institution remains relevant in turbulent times • Community investment • Greater representation of the community as a whole
  11. Resources • The Participatory Museum PowerPoint—Nina Simon: • Engaging Museum Audiences PowerPoint— Nina Simon: • The Interpreters Training Manual for Museums—Mary Kay Cunningham
  12. Wanna talk? Rena Lawrence Educator and Collections Manager Log Cabin Village 817-392-6769