Document Sample

A. Many museums are addressing social, public health and environmental issues by creating
exhibitions that further their institutional mission while benefiting society at large. Joining them
in this trend are a variety of social service and advocacy groups that are using museum-style
exhibitions to attract a wider audience and to create a physical destination for their organization.
In this session, presenters from an aquarium (Monterey Bay Aquarium), a history museum
(Levine Museum for the New South), and a Christian ministry (Habitat for Humanity) will
discuss what they’ve learned about creating exhibitions that are designed to promote social

B. More and more museums—as well as other nonprofit and social service organizations—are
relying on exhibitions to advance their missions and to promote social change. What are the
challenges of creating these kinds of exhibitions—and can they really have an impact?

Endorsement if applicable: NAME

II. SESSION TITLE: Exhibits and Social Change

First Name: Jenny Sayre                               Last Name:      RAMBERG
Title:        Exhibit Developer/Writer
Institution: Monterey Bay Aquarium
Address:      886 Cannery Row
City/State/Zip: Monterey, CA 93940-1085
Telephone: (831) 648-7991                                     Fax: (831) 644-7583
E-mail:       jsramberg@mbayaq.org

Qualifications: Jenny Sayre has developed a number of science museum and aquarium exhibits
and programs on social change issues, including “What about AIDS?” “Greenhouse Earth,”
“Ocean Travelers” and “Fishing for Solutions.” She also worked on a long-term study with
People, Places and Design Research involving conservation attitudes and behaviors of visitors to
the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Each project has revealed new challenges, rewards and pitfalls
related to the goal of creating experiences that will change how visitors think and behave.

Major points to be covered:
• Many museums have moved from simply presenting information about social and
  environmental issues to engaging with visitors and encouraging them to adopt specific
  lifestyle changes or problem-solving behaviors.

•   Other organizations are also using the medium of exhibitions to further their own missions—
    from Habitat for Humanity to the Forestry Center to Focus on the Family.
•   Museums are still learning how to measure the effect they can have—and are having—on
    individuals and society.

•   We’re learning that affective experiences are more memorable and more inspiring for our
    visitors than intellectual experiences. How can we take advantage of these affective
    experiences—especially disturbing ones—to bring about social change?

•   What is the museum’s role in promoting social change—exposing wrongs, serving as a
    trusted source of information, creating inspiration or motivating visitors to act? Where does
    the role of museums intersect with nonprofit advocacy organizations?

IV. LOGISTICS COORDINATOR: Same as chair?                                           Yes

First Name: Ava             Last Name: FERGUSON                               Confirmed
Title:        Exhibit Developer/Writer
Institution: Monterey Bay Aquarium
Address:      886 Cannery Row
City/State/Zip: Monterey, CA 93940-1085
Telephone: (831) 648-4988                                    Fax: (831) 644-7583
E-mail:       Aferguson@mbayaq.org

Qualifications: Ava has over 20 years experience developing and evaluating exhibits, television
programs and educational materials about science and nature. She currently develops and
evaluates exhibits for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The ultimate goal of these exhibits is to
inspire visitors to become more involved in conserving the oceans. Ava holds a bachelor’s
degree in biology, a master’s degree in education, and a graduate certificate in science

Major points to be covered:
In her presentation, Ava will:

    •   present a case study of an environmental exhibit she recently developed entitled,
        “Vanishing Wildlife: Saving Tunas, Turtles and Sharks.” The goals of this exhibit were
        to raise visitors’ awareness about the problems ocean wildlife faces from commercial
        fishing; increase visitors’ concern about these animals’ declining populations; and inspire
        visitors to take action to help conserve these animals in the wild;

    •   discuss the results from front-end, formative and summative evaluation studies conducted
        on the exhibit, including visitors’ interest in this difficult topic; their responses to
        different exhibit approaches; and the impact of the final exhibit on raising awareness and
        changing people’s behavior.

Ava will also discuss some of the challenges museum professionals face in developing
environmental exhibits in general. Her remarks will focus on:
   •   how to select and take a stand on a controversial environmental issue;
   •   how to balance visitors’ desire for beauty, inspiration and recreation with the
       organization’s desire to evoke concern and promote action;
   •   how to encourage visitors to take action based on their brief exhibit experience.

First Name: Michelle                Last Name: DALVA                       Confirmed
Title:        Executive Director, Global Village & Discovery Center
Institution: Habitat for Humanity International
Address:      121 Habitat Street
City/State/Zip: Americus, GA 31709
Telephone: (229) 924-6935 x2156                          Fax: (229) 924-1251
E-mail:       mdalva@hfhi.org

Michelle has over 13 years of experience sharing the mission of Habitat for Humanity
International (HFHI) to eliminate poverty housing worldwide through a variety of means,
including mass media, special events and training volunteers. As Executive Director of the
Global Village & Discovery Center, she aims to put housing issues in the hearts and minds of
everyone who visits the village. Part museum, education center and tourist attraction, the six-acre
center features immersion exhibits, interactive displays and live demonstrations that have
traditionally been the domain of museums and other educational settings. For example, visitors
can experience firsthand the living conditions of poor people around the world by touring the
"Living in Poverty" exhibit, which features full-scale replicas of shanties and shacks from
various countries around the world. They can also visit the "Global Village," which features
replicas of homes that Habitat builds to replace this substandard housing.

Major points to be covered:
During the presentation, Michelle will:

   •   describe Habitat's recently opened Global Village & Discovery Center, located near its
       headquarters in Americus, Georgia;

   •   discuss the philosophy behind the center and why it was created;

   •   describe the opportunities the center provides for Habitat to expand its role as an
       international advocacy-based organization;

   •   describe the impact the center is having on visitors and the organization, including the
       influence of widespread media attention;

   •   discuss the response from the local Americus community and our cooperative efforts for
       mutual success.
First Name: Tom               Last Name: HANCHETT                            Confirmed
Title:        Staff historian
Institution: Levine Museum of the New South
Address:      200 E 7th Street
City/State/Zip: Charlotte, NC 28202
Telephone: (704) 333-1887 x228
E-mail:       hanchett@mindspring.com

Qualifications: Dr. Tom Hanchett is the staff historian at the Levine Museum of the New South
where he leads the development team for “COURAGE: The Carolina Story that Changed
America,” a major exhibition that explores the Carolina roots of the historic desegregation case
Brown v Board of Education. A series of community engagement programs, developed by the
museum and funded by The Knight Foundation, will use the exhibition as a starting point for
encouraging business and governmental leaders from Charlotte to address critical problems
facing their community.

Major points to be covered: During the presentation, Tom will:
  • discuss visitors’ responses to this exhibition as it has traveled within the Carolinas;

   •   describe the museum’s associated “community engagement” program whose goal is to
       make community leaders more aware of the history behind today’s issues—such as
       diversity in schools and funding for education—and energize them to tackle, rather than
       avoid, the challenges their local metropolitan region faces;

   •   discuss the museum’s partnership with a nonprofit group called the Community Building
       Initiative (CBI), whose mission is to foster trust between people of different races. A
       half-time facilitator hired by the museum and CBI will recruit over 600 corporate and
       governmental leaders (ideally entire management teams) to tour the exhibit and then
       participate in discussions about race and education.

A. Single Session (75 min.)
B. Panel Discussion
C. Discourse/Dialogue
D. Mission
A. Outcomes
   • Learn about a new trend in museums towards more active engagement in social issues
   • Learn how visitors are responding to issue-oriented exhibitions
   • Learn how non-museum organizations are using exhibitions to reach people and promote
      their missions for social change
   • Engage in discussion about the opportunities and challenges surrounding this trend.

B. Audience
   • Exhibit developers, designers, educators, evaluators and others who are creating exhibits
      and programs that engage visitors in social change topics
   • Directors and senior staff engaged in changing the mission of their museum.

C. Focus
Most museums seek to create exhibitions that further their mission and are relevant to their
visitors—so do many other organizations. As museums embrace the need to promote social
change or improve public health, create a healthy environment or encourage racial harmony,
what makes them distinct from a nonprofit advocacy group with the same mission?

Similarly, more and more nonprofits are turning to exhibitions as a means of promoting their
agendas. How are visitors responding to these exhibitions? What questions do they raise about
the role of exhibitions in social change? And can exhibitions really have a larger impact on

D. Relevance
Exhibitions must perform many roles. Among these roles is the need to attract new and diverse
audiences, support educational initiatives, present new research, and provide entertainment, all
while forwarding the larger mission of the institution. More recently, exhibitions have also been
viewed as a means of promoting social change. But creating exhibitions that influence public
attitudes and behavior is risky because we don’t know how effective they can be at motivating
visitors to change, nor have we figured out the best way to measure their potential impact. This
session will contrast the approaches taken by three different organizations that are working to
address these challenges.