What makes a museum magnetic?

In Magnetic: The Art and Science of Engagement by Anne Bergeron and Beth Tuttle, the authors try and answer the question: What does magnetic mean, and how can an institution make itself magnetic?  What it comes down to is community involvement, and stakeholder outreach. By having an invested community of internal and external stakeholders, a museum can become a successful organization where meaningful communication can take place. Magnetic museums create a culture of empowerment for its internal and external stakeholders by building on the values of service, respect, reciprocity and trust. The museums encourage and enable others to achieve their full potential in their roles, and beyond. This goes beyond just the board, and executive staff, but also involves front line employees, and internal stakeholders at all levels.

A magnetic institution needs to be essential, relevant, and serve its population in a way that other institutions or locations cannot. A magnetic institution puts service first, leads a commitment to developing the needs of the stakeholders in the community, and fosters long-term relationships within and outside of the institution. A magnetic institution is visible, and speaks out on community needs, and finds the needs that a community has that the institution can meet.

Becoming a magnetic institution does not happen overnight, but is built up on success over time. By fostering long term relationships, and engaging with internal and external stakeholders, while maintaining relevancy and importance for a community, a museum can become magnetic to ensure future success and existence.

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One Response to What makes a museum magnetic?

  1. emilykp47 says:

    I think you make a great point that becoming a magnetic museum doesn’t happen overnight; it takes a long time to build up to it. Sometimes I feel that when a museum tries a new program or partnership and it doesn’t measure up to expectations, there’s a sense of failure. Rather than seeing it as a failure, it can be seen as a learning opportunity; you figure out what you did well and what you didn’t, and improve on your plan for the next time. Keep trying new things and slowly become more magnetic over time. However, that requires long-term thinking and a lot of patience.

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