An MCN Lab on Museum Labs
Friday, November 10, 2017 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Venue: Allegheny

Why would a museum have a “lab”? What does it do, and who is it for?

Can a lab (or equivalent metaphor) be an engine (or an excuse) for creating museum projects at different tempos, different scales, with different levels of completeness and polish? Conversely, are labs just vaporware, an unsustainable distraction from core museum business, or worse still, merely a vanity label for work already underway?

Can labs create opportunity and momentum inside the museum bureaucracy for projects that reach new and different audiences? Can they help catalyze innovation, create new partnerships and can they counteract a change-resistant internal culture? Can and should labs, seek to diversify new sources of revenue by working with external clients? If they do, how can the museum appropriately balance revenue-seeking and mission-seeking activities of the lab? What happens when innovation is centralized?

Four practitioners, with very different experience and roles, explore what's worked (and what hasn't) in their time creating, raising and nurturing these unruly beasts.


Type of Session
60-Minute Professional Session
Session Leader : Keir Winesmith, Head of Digital, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Co-Presenter : Samantha Ticknor, Creative Technologist, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
Co-Presenter : Aron Ambrosiani, Digital Media Producer, Department of Digital Interaction, Nordiska museet
Co-Presenter : Patrick Cavanagh, Software Developer, Newfields