Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Next Era of Education will be…what?

This is a very important question for museums, don’t you agree? If museums are, fundamentally, educational in nature, if this role is the basis of our tax-exempt status and our major contribution to society, it’s crucial for museums to maximize their effect on the educational landscape. Lately, we’ve been rather marginalized—by No Child Left Behind, standardized curricula and testing and cuts to educational funding that make the traditional field trip an increasingly rare beast.


There are indicators that we may be reaching the end of the current era of institutional learning, an era characterized by teachers, physical classrooms, age-cohorts, and a core curriculum. If this is so, what will the next era look like? Will it be one in which museums can play a more central role?

If you believe KnowledgeWorks’ 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning, the answer is yes, museums are pre-adapted to be major players in the next era of education. The recently released update to this forecast envisions a future premised on individualized, self-directed education in which learners “collaborate with educators and with experts in their communities and around the world to customize rigorous learning experiences based on competency and interest instead of time and age.”

The report outlines six drivers of change that will shape the coming era:

  • Biotechnology that will enhance our cognitive abilities.
  • Open, collaborative design platforms that facilitate distributed learning systems.
  • Coordinated infrastructure linking resources and services within communities.
  • Bottom-up activism of “educitizens” using social media to tackle issues and drive civic change.
  • The increasing desire for informal learning and hands-on “maker” experiences.
  • The ability to collect, aggregate and stream data to measure learning experiences, track resources and test potential educational strategies.

For each driver of change, the report suggests stories and resources for further reading (“signals of change”), and steps individuals and organizations can take now to prepare for the coming era. Many of these actions are things that museums are, or want to be working on now, for example:

  • Partnering with organizations and groups in their communities to explore new ways of approaching learning.
  • Exploring new funding mechanisms or business models to support their roles as learning agents.
  • Using technology to help students, teachers and the community access their learning resources.
  • Experimenting with assessment of informal learning (an area in which museums can share expertise with the formal educational system).

One could construct rather extreme scenarios of the future based on these drivers (neuro-enhanced teens contributing to international research via gaming while constructing their own laboratory equipment!). But then again, if you told a young journalist in 1980 that in thirty years he would be a self-employed blogger, funding his investigative research through Kickstarter, relying on hackers and citizen journalists as key sources and streaming his content to readers via multiple social media platforms, he’d have thought you were nuts…

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's Not About the Cat Cams

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Blogger, Tumblr—the world is awash in social media platforms and museums are, like the rest of the world, experimenting with when to use them, to what ends and how to measure success. Guest blogger Jeff Martin, online communities manager from the Philbrook Museum of Art, relates the museum’s success in catapulting themselves to Internet celebrity via playful and creative social media shenanigans.
 

  Acer, one of two Philbrook garden cats.
JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World  
Museums across the country, and for that matter, around the world, are constantly seeking new avenues to reach a broader and more diverse audience. With the growing interest in and influence of social media, the “traditional” way of interacting with the public at large is shifting seemingly from moment to moment. At the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Okla., where I’ve worked since summer 2009 as the Online Communities Manager, we have two cats that patrol our 23 acres of gardens. Acer (male) and Perilla (female) have been with us for 3 years and have grown into two of our most popular attractions. A few months ago, our garden manager approached us with an idea. What if we put cameras on the cats? The idea wasn’t revolutionary; people have put cameras on cats before. But not at a world-class art museum. In the past two years we’ve seen our social media presence grow by leaps and bounds. Through this still-burgeoning outlet, we have the opportunity to tell our story in a broader scope. On Facebook alone, we’ve gone from 2,000 followers to well beyond 20,000, an increase of ten fold. With this spike, we’ve seen our footprint in the community grow as well. By asking questions, posting consistently, and providing both interesting and sometimes merely entertaining content, we have been able to engage in a new and somewhat revelatory way.

A couple of weeks ago, when we kicked-off this project involving the cats, we knew it would get some attention. Animal stories have always been an easy pitch for the media. What we didn’t expect was how quickly this would occur. Within an hour of the first Facebook post, nearly every major media outlet in town, each one hoping to scoop the other, contacted us with heated interest. The local CBS affiliate was the first to arrive. Our local newspaper, the ABC affiliate and others soon followed. This was all accomplished without a traditional press release. No phone calls were made. No emails were sent. Citing the viral and word-of-mouth culture that social media feeds, one of the television reporters told us that he was standing in line at a local ice cream shop when someone said, “Did you hear that Philbrook put cameras on their cats?” Within days of the first footage being posted, we were getting comments from as far away as Minnesota and North Carolina. This “little” idea was getting big attention. But ultimately, this project isn’t about cats or cameras. We are still a museum dedicated to sharing the finest examples of visual art with the guests that take the time to come through our doors. That is our mission. But in this ever-changing world, we also have a responsibility to use every available means to stay connected on a human level to those who make what we do possible. Social media, at its most effective, has become an invaluable tool in this pursuit. Whether through Facebook, Twitter, or another application, we are casting a wide net, hoping that something will capture the imagination and attention of the public at large. For some it’s a painting, for others it’s our beautiful gardens. But sometimes, all it takes is a camera on a cat.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bridges from School to Work

This week’s guest blog post is by Kelly Pavich, employee representative and trainer at the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities, established in 1989 by the family of J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott to enhance employment opportunities for young people with disabilities. Kelly’s story of Marriott’s work with the Chicago Children’s Museum is a useful case study as museums explore employment strategies that will help build a more diverse museum workforce.

The Marriott Foundation’s Bridges from School to Work program helps develop and support the needs of local employers and the career goals of young adults with disabilities. As a recent CFM blog post (May 2011) pointed out, minority populations, including the disabled, may not feel welcome in museums if they are unable to identify with the staff. Bridges works with many museums across the country to help them find qualified, motivated employees from among the community of people with disabilities.

In the case of the Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM), Bridges complements an existing initiative, Play For All, that emerged in 2004 from a college intern’s commitment to making the museum more accessible for ALL guests, specifically those with disabilities. Lynn Walsh, manager of guest access & inclusion at CCM tells of how the museum formed a team, interviewed guests with disabilities, and surveyed their front-line staff. These conversations helped them realize that their guests wanted to interact with staff they could identify with. The staff, conversely, admitted they were afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing with guests with disabilities, so they simply did nothing at all. The museum used this information to bridge the gap between staff and this potential audience by:
  • Instituting mandatory training on disability awareness for all staff
  • Soliciting input from universal design experts & local access advocates to ensure accessibility of all exhibits, programs, and public spaces 
  • Starting the Position Paper Project to create institutional policies that encompassed access and inclusion  
CCM staff also teamed up with several local community organizations to strengthen their Play For All initiative including, in 2006, Marriott’s Bridges Program. Here’s how the partnership works:
  • Bridges identifies and trains job candidates who are reliable, dedicated, and hard working staff members 
  • These candidates add to CCM’s staff diversity 
  • CCM is able to provide excellent customer service to ALL guests 
  • CCM provides Bridges candidates with an excellent place to work, grow, & learn 
  • Bridges’ candidates aid in the understanding that people with disabilities are people first, and other staff members no longer see the disability, they see the person 
  • CCM’s guests appreciated “seeing someone like them” working at the museum 
  • Bridges representatives focus on the candidates’ ABILITIES vs. disabilities 
  • CCM provides programming that enables ALL of their guests to focus on their ABILITIES.
Bridges from School to Work has over 25 similar successful partnerships with other museums/cultural institutions across the country, for example:

  • San Francisco: the Exploratorium (8 Bridges’ candidates currently employed).
  • Philadelphia: the National Constitution Center (more than 5 Bridges’ candidates hired).
  • Washington, D.C.: the Kennedy Center (working with Bridges for over 11 years).
  • Chicago: where CCM has been named the Employer of the Year for hiring more than 9 candidates.
Bridges is committed to the efforts of access & inclusion, to increasing staff morale, staff & guest diversity and guest attendance for museums’ nationwide. CCM believes that the core of creating an accessible and inclusive environment lies within their staff, and their partnership with the Bridges program is one step in closing that demographic gap. The ultimate goal of our two organizations working together is to make visitors and staff - of all abilities - feel welcome, included and valued.

To learn more about Bridges from School to Work and explore how our job candidates might benefit your organization, contact Mr. Tad Asbury, executive director & vice president, at 301-380-7771.

CCM is a fair and equal work environment for people with disabilities-and a fun place to work! I am proud to be a valued member of our Guest Connections staff.”—Eddie Guajardo, recipient of the 2007 Bridges Youth Achievement Award.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Future of Development: Crowdsourced Funding

When AAM conducted its 2009 Museum Financial Information survey, a quarter of respondents had a capital campaign in progress. We don't even have stats on how many museums regularly run annual giving campaigns, but it sometimes it seems like all museums, all the time. (To judge by MY mail, at least.)


Will the traditional campaign giving pyramid work in the future? Are people becoming inured to NPR-type annual nag fests? And how will museums adjust to the loss of traditional local sponsors (as businesses close or are bought up by national chains) and attrition among an aging donor base? I have one word for you (lean in close):


Crowd-funding.


Not as sexy as plastic? Still, it’s worth your attention—a model of funding projects that capitalizes on all the current hot buttons: social media, gaming, micro-finance.


How does it work? Sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo.com and Peerbackers.com are platforms to present projects to potential funders over the web.


Kickstarter, which I’ve been monitoring, is a fundraisingr website devoted to creative projects in need of financial support. Creators submit projects for approval by Kickstarter staff, set a goal for the amount of money needed and establish a deadline by which those funds must be accumulated. The pledged funds are only collected if the goal amount is met before the predetermined deadline. This is effective because:


1) It reduces risk. Supporters don’t have to worry about their money being wasted on an underfunded project


2. It allows creators to test concepts—and if an idea is going to bomb, wouldn’t you rather have it bomb (for little or no cost) on the web rather than via an expensive feasibility report of dubious utility?


3. It’s viral—supporters become recruiters, promoting the project via their own social media and word of mouth in order to see the projects they pledged to come to fruition.


That last point, recruiting not only supporters but enthusiasts, is huge. As the site points out, Kickstarter provides creators with the opportunity to tell a compelling story, and to enable supporters to become part of that story. Successful projects kick off this narrative with a punchy video short pitching the project. The video is a creator’s best chance to woo potential supporters through charm, inspiration or humor. They also court supporters with creative incentives, linked to levels of giving which might range from $1 to $10k, and they make effective use of social media to promote the heck out of the project.


The wacky thing about this is that it isn’t classic charitable contribution—you can’t write donations to these projects off your taxes, and you don’t get “shares” in a new business. (At least, not in the projects I’ve perused.) Beyond the incentives, you’re simply handing over money for something you think is fun or worthwhile. And yet, it works. While most of the projects have modest goals, in the four to six figure range, the most successful Kickstarter project of all time raised nearly a million dollars. (Mind you, with that one, backers got some real techno booty.)


Some project creators are slow to exploit the full potential of this new model. For example, some museum-fundraising projects on Kickstarter mimic traditional campaigns. (The Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, for their City Wide Open Studios project, for example, offers incentives of listing on donor walls, memberships, t-shirts and tote bags.) But others explore the creativity and rule-bending inherent in this format. The Museum of Non-visible Art (a project by Praxis and James Franco) offer one dollar donors their undying gratitude (and a thank-you note), while a $10,000 sponsorship garners the lead donor sole rights to a conceptual art work consisting of a breath of fresh air.


Kickstarter projects don’t have to be "charitable" in the sense of being for the public good (though many are). A pitch may be by an artist wanting to caste sculptures of procreating mice in bronze, a group wanting to fulfill their lifetime dream of starting a vegan donut bakery, or a writer/illustrator funding a graphic novel.


But some projects do have a broader social good as their goal, and some such projects relate to museums, such the current drive by Brian Cook to fund a “Museum Passport” encouraging schoolkids to explore the museums of Hartford, CT. (This project, BTW, has a goal of $3,000 and is 75% funded with 38 days to go. Interested?)


Museums themselves are beginning to explore the potential of such sites as well. In addition to the projects mentioned above, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art raised over $3,000 to fund an exhibit of art by Al Jaffee of MAD Magazine fame; the Arab American National Museum garnered over $10,000 to support their Helen Thomas Sculpture Project; and the Neversink Valley Museum of History and Innovation (in Cuddleback, New York) raised over $11,000 to fund materials (architectural model, promo video etc.) to kickstart more traditional capital campaign.


Maybe you should try out crowd-sourced funding before the trend peaks...And please write to let me know about your projects! I would love to track them on the blog.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Future of Museum Ethics: A Chat Wrap Up

CFM hosted a lively Twitter chat yesterday, soliciting input on the future of museum ethics as a kickoff for the forecasting project we are conducting with the Institute of Museum Ethics this summer.

The goal of the chat was to gather ideas on emerging ethics issues to fuel our forecasting. Some of the issues tagged for consideration by participants were:

  • Art museums presenting work from questionable sources such as (private) collectors or corporate sponsors. One person observed that current museum studies students accept museums being cozy with corporate sponsors as a norm. Are generational shifts in attitudes creating a future in which museums are less concerned about how funding may influence intellectual content?
  • The ethics of museums having many artifacts in storage which are never shown and are “inaccessible.” One participant noted that the “pendulum swing from emphasizing preservation to emphasizing access brings new ethical issues.” In the digital age, with all materials potentially accessible in some way via the internet, what are a museum’s ethical obligations to invest in such access?
  • It is not surprising that many emerging ethics issues relate to the internet, itself an emergent technology. One participant noted that museums need to consider their roles as “good guys or bad guys” in the drama playing out over free speech versus content control in cyberspace, as it relates to digital management. Also, as museums jump on the digital bandwagon as a way to distribute content and build audience, are we contributing the “digital divide” that further separates the haves from the have-nots in this country? (For more on the digital divide, and other “cyberquandries” see this article)
Here is the transcript of the chat. I encourage you to read over the questions and answers and continue the conversation by commenting on this blog and on AAM’s Facebook page. And track the progress of the forecasting project this summer—there will be further opportunities to contribute your thoughts on what ethics issues museums will face in coming decades, and how we should meet them.

Finally, I issue you this challenge from yesterday’s discussion: what’s the news headline for the big museum scandal of 2036? My favorite answer from the chat involved evil robots…

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Practical Futurism: a Case Study

This week’s guest blogger is Bill Martin, director of the Valentine Richmond History Center in Virginia. Bill was one of our panelists on the session “Practical Futurism” at the AAM annual meeting in Houston last week, and shares how his staff and board used forecasting data from CFM, together with their own research, to shape their strategic plan. 

Richmond is suffering a major identity crisis. It is no longer that sleepy Southern Capital of the Confederacy, as much as the leadership may want to believe in this image. And the Valentine Richmond History Center has been working through an identity crisis of its own, with the help of resources from the Center for the Future of Museums.

The Valentine Museum was established in 1892 as a general museum for the city of Richmond. Its mission has morphed over the years and its collections have grown. Today we hold over 1.5 million objects and substantial archival holdings. The facilities have grown as well, and now encompass a series of historic structures and contemporary additions that encompass a city block located just 2 blocks from Virginia’s capital. Our programs and exhibitions have a long and storied history. The first resolution of the board, in 1902, established that we would provide programming for all school children of Richmond, black and white.

In the early 90’s, a failed expansion program, traumatized the History Center. We suffered the loss of community confidence, and were financially weakened, finding ourselves $10 million in debt. At one point local law enforcement had been instructed to seize the collections as collateral, but the good officer refused to do so after I toured him through the collections and explained their importance!

From our name to our collections we set out to establish a fundamentally different role for the institution in a very traditional environment. Faced with an aging donor base and a community that is radically changing generationally and ethnically, we decided that forecasting, community research and strategic planning would be the engines driving the reemergence of the History Center.

The timing of the launch of the Center of the Future of Museums was perfect for us. The Museums & Society 2034 report became the base line material for the most recent cycle of planning at the History Center. It was the core reading assignment for all board members and staff. There were reservations among both staff and trustees to this approach. Some people’s reaction was “I’m going to be dead in 2034, why should I care?” But others said very strongly that this is exactly what the museum should be concerned with—helping plan the future of our community.

We focused on four themes from the 2034 report—Demographics, Technology, the Economy, and Cultural Change. Teams of staff and board were created around these areas and we identified content specialists in each of the areas to provide current research on Richmond and these trends. These teams were very diverse groups, and included the local president of the Federal Reserve, head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Tech geeks and representatives from the planning district. The teams worked over a 4 month period, and what emerged from their conversations was that Richmond had changed and we had missed it.

You can read about all four themes in our plan, but here, for example, are a few of the things we discovered about Richmond’s demographic changes, some are which are certainly national trends, but a few of which that are unique to our city:

Generation and Gender
In 2025, 25% of Virginians will be over the age off 65, up from only 12% now. Gen Xers will enter middle age and become the area’s primary travelers, investors and decision-makers. This is important because members of Gen X have different expectations of their cultural experiences. The Virginia Tourism Corporation is now focusing all of its new marketing on this group.

Women will play an increasingly important role in both the family and civic leadership. Eighty percent of all graduates from Historically Black Colleges are women—62% of graduates from the VCU Medical School are women, as are 52% of graduates from the TC Williams Law School at the University of Richmond. The latest census reveals the increasing number of households in the region with women as the principal wage earner.

Diverse Populations
By 2050, 1 in 4 Virginia residents will identify as Hispanic American. Hispanic and Asian residents have concentrated not in the City, where there are concentration of lower income African Americans, but in the counties. Seven census tracts in the city that were low income in 2000 are now middle income. The City Council became majority white, even with a majority African American population.

When Age and Culture Meet
While the majority of Richmond population is aging, the youngest segment of the population is becoming more diverse. By 2025 the number of whites in Richmond over the age of 65 will increase by 464%, while the number of whites between the ages of 18 and 44 will decrease by 81%.

All this raises difficult questions for the History Center. How do we serve our traditional donor base (the Greatest Generation) while developing new approaches for boomers and gen Xers and beginning to attract the attention, patronage and engagement of a younger and increasing non-white audience? Are there universal interests shared by these groups?

Each theme presented similar challenges and opportunities. Experiential technology, for example, holds endless opportunities but also potentially endless needs for staff and for financial investment. Housing values in Richmond continue to decline even as national trends improve, but city residents saw a smaller decline in real estate values than county residents. This may drive people to the city core, helping our urban focus to pay off! Culturally, we hope the History Center, by providing an environment where there are not physical or language barriers to conversation, can be a community nexus for exploring our city’s emerging identity.

From Research to Action
So what did we do with all of this information? First, we took a fresh look at our campus. We were already deep into our Richmond History Gallery project, but we decided to change it based on what we had learned about our current and future audiences. We decided not to build a traditional auditorium for lectures, focusing instead on creating new public spaces. We made the new HVAC systems as energy efficient as possible, not from any inherent dedication on the part of the museum to “go green” but because they make financial sense! Regarding collections, we started major initiatives in African American neighborhoods, and we just collected the interior of Richmond’s first Mexican restaurant. Our new collections plan will also address digital collections.

We see our location as the geographical, emotional, and historical center of the region, and are building our role as a connector. Together with the Convention and Visitors Bureau we’ve created a central calendar for the region, and want to be a major site for community conversations.

The History Center’s plan is a living document—it doesn’t stop here. The strategic planning committee, composed of equal number of staff and trustees, meets quarterly, and we’re beginning to prepare for the next board retreat for the fall of 2012. By which time, we hope, there will be fresh forecasting data from the Center for the Future of Museums to fuel our conversations.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Can Museums Help Make Cities More Intelligent?

“Smart cities” is a big topic now. How big? Smart Planet recently reported that investment in smart city infrastructure will hit $108 billion by 2020.


Yah, that’s big.


What makes a city “smart?” Smart Planet defines it as "the integration of technology into a strategic approach to sustainability, citizen well-being, and economic development." The connections and integration between a city's parts are what can make it an intelligent system of systems. Intelligent use of data ranges from citizens reporting potholes, so the city doesn’t have to rely on crews roving the streets to find and fix them, to using data on peoples’ use of transportation to design walkable neighborhoods and encourage active lifestyles.

I spent Monday in the grand central atrium of the National Building Museum, listening to awesome speakers explore the potential for such systems of ubiquitous, networked data to transform the urban landscape.

The primary orchestrators of the Intelligent Cities project at NBM are Scott Kratz, vice president for education, and curator Susan Piedmont-Palladino. Susan identified museums’ roles in urban design as provoking active curiosity and increasing “urban literacy,” thereby inspiring people to take action. 

Here are some interesting nuggets I took away from the day:


Access to data can shift power to the people
Many speakers acknowledged the troubling potential for governments to monitor (and misuse) such rich troves of data on peoples’ movement and activities. However, Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, pointed out that the “ground up” use of technology enables citizens to band together to prevent government abuse. As an example of ground up citizen tech, she pointed to to Map Kibera, which enables Nairobi slum dwellers (aka “informal occupants”) to create a digital map of the informal economy and residential patterns. Prior to this, the Kenyan government did not recognize or gather data on the slum, depriving its residents of political recognition and services. What issues in your museum’s community might benefit from citizen use of data, and how might a museum help people access and interpret this information?


The future of digital data rights
Caesar McDowell, professor of the Practice of Community Development at MIT, approached data privacy from another angle, proposing creating a Personal Digital Commons, controlling the rights that automatically accrue to data collected via social media. You could apply one of four licenses to the data collected by Facebook, LinkedIn and their ilk: free use; limited negotiated use; collective community use (use of aggregated data for community benefit); or no use. What data does your museum collect from users of your digital platforms, and what options do you give them for controlling how you use this information?


How digital devices influence use of public space
I’ve heard many folks angst over how the use of smart phones, tablets etc. in museums will affect the experience. Do we want to encourage or discourage the connected visitor? If future visitors are going to be constantly connected to friends and family over the internet, should this influence how we design our space? Keith Hampton, assistant professor at the Annenberg School for Communications at UPenn presented some research that begins to illuminate these questions. For example, his researchers, after obsessively stalking and observing wireless users in a variety of settings, found that 10% of the people they observed engaged in extended interactions with strangers, which compares favorably with people not using internet-connected devices. (And contrasting with people listening to iPods, who never, not once, interacted with anybody.) At the neighborhood level, social technologies do lead to a greater number of social ties over time. This effect is greatest in communities already predisposed to form social ties but not, interestingly, tied to socio-economic levels. Keith concludes (reassuringly, for museums) that the more diverse and extensive the use of new technology, the more diverse and extensive the use of public space. If you want to learn more about Keith's research, you can listen to an interview or purchase access to his article The Social Life of Wireless Urban Spaces: Internet Use, Social Networks, and the Public Realm from the Wiley Online Library.


For more on the ideas presented at the Intelligent Cities Forum see this blog post at Embarq. And check out the National Building Museum’s website where you can watch the recorded webcast of the forum , learn more about the Intelligent Cities initiative, and order the book that summarizes the project content.

Helix: Thoughts

While we gave you lots of information leading up to our visit to Houston, where we featured Tracy Hicks and his installation of Helix: Scaffolding #21211, we really haven't shared nearly enough information about the end result.

So here are a few thoughts, I'd be quite interested in hearing what other attendees took away from the piece as well as thoughts from those who weren't able to see it in person.
  • It was fascinating to watch Helix: Scaffolding #21211  transform from 

 to



  • Hicks' Exquisite Corpse films, including this one, added another layer to the installation, forcing the viewer to no longer look at Helix as a stationary piece, but rather fluid. It also didn't hurt that the music accompanying this videos was exceptionally haunting.
  • Watching attendees interact with Helix was also a treat, each beaker seemed to contain another treasure (including cicadas, snake vertebrae and frogs) to explore. Having this piece loom over you (it was approximately 9 1/2 feet high!) also started making you feel quite small in the face of science.
Please be sure to visit Tracy Hicks' website as well to see more photos of the installation and other thoughts on the piece.

-Guzel duChateau
AAM New Media Specialist & CFM Program Coordinator

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mark Your Calenders: Twitter Chat About the Future of Museum Ethics

As we explained in our last post, to kick off the project of forecasting the future of museum ethics we will be hosting a Twitter chat on June 15 at 4 p.m. (ET). Join the voice behind @futureofmuseums, Elizabeth Merritt to contribute ideas (and links, and resources) on ethics issues that should be included in our forecasting. We are looking towards the Twitterverse to help us out here.

Elizabeth introduced the project this way:
Ethics, like other cultural values, change over time, affected by social, political, economic, technological and environmental trends shaping our world. Forty years ago, the ethical dilemma attending choosing a new car might have been whether to “buy American.” Now we angst over whether it is, environmentally speaking, ethical to drive an SUV. Technology creates issues that didn’t even used to exist—is cloning a human being ethical? How about selecting a child based on gender, or potential IQ?

Museum ethics are subject to the same evolutionary forces. What emerging issues face museums in the 21st century? Will our positions on enduring concerns (use of funds from deaccessioning, cultural property, conflict of interest) hold firm, or morph with changing times?
In case you've never participated in a Twitter chat before, or it's been awhile, here are tips for joining in:

How to join in:
1. Sign in to Twitter, Tweet Deck or Tweet Chat. I'll be using Tweet Chat since it adds the hash tag automatically and allows you to reply and retweet easily.

2. Follow and tweet with the hashtag #futureethics

3. Watch for the questions in the Q format. Provide answers using the A format, and interact with other tweeters using replies and retweets.
The chat will get underway at 4 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, June 15.

Hope to see you there!

-Guzel duChateau (@guzelfrances)
AAM New Media Specialist & CFM Program Coordinator