Thursday, November 15, 2012

Opening up the museum: Nina Simon

 Nina Simon is Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH), which has gone through a radical transformation over the past year to become a thriving central gathering place.
Simon teaches radical exhibition design in the University of Washington Museology graduate program and writes the popular blog Museum 2.0. Previously, Simon worked as an independent consultant to over 100 museums and cultural centers around the world, focusing on participatory community engagement. She served as curator at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, Calif., and was the Experience Development Specialist at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.

Museums can be incredible catalysts for social change. But they're not there yet. Right now, they're often seen as elitist organizations serving an diminishing percentage of our population. We can change that by embracing participatory culture and opening up to the active, social ways that people engage with art, history, science, and ideas today. We're doing it in Santa Cruz and it has absolutely transformed our museum into a thriving community institution.