The topic of "Risk" is the thing I've been thinking about most, now that the annual Children's Museum Conference (called InterActivity) has wrapped up in beautiful St. Paul, Minnesota.
Museums of all types (not just Children's Museums) display a strange mixture of being both "risk adverse" and "good followers." Many museums and museum workers don't want to go too far out onto a limb with an idea that might not work, but everyone seems happy to adapt an idea (even one that might have originally appeared risky) that has proven successful at other institutions. It's sort of like watching a flock of penguins waiting on the edge of an ice floe poised to leap into the water, but not wanting to be the first to jump.
Speakers at InterActivity 2010 outlined both the risks and rewards of becoming more welcoming to our communities and to looking for ways to increase diversity within our institutions. Trying out risky topics and techniques for both exhibition and programmatic offerings also seemed to be a common thread.
Taking a risk in your work is often, well, a "risk", but perhaps if everyone who attended InterActivity this year could commit to trying just one "risky" approach in some aspect of their museum's operation and then sharing the results (both good or bad) we could raise the bar in the field a bit.
So send your "risky business results" via email to my address and I'll collect them into a new post to share before InterActivity 2011 in Houston!
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