Three Museums Selected for Round 2 of the Innovation Lab

We are very excited to announce the three museums selected to participate in Round 2 of the Innovation Lab for Museums – a unique incubation and prototyping program to foster programmatic and organizational innovation in the museum field.

The three museums selected are: The Madison Children’s Museum, the Mississippi Museum of Art and the National Trust for Historic Preservation with projects focused on youth education, changing demographics, and participatory experiences.  The Innovation Lab for Museums is presented through a partnership between the American Association of Museums’ (AAM) Center for the Future of Museums and EmcArts, funded by a generous $550,000 grant from MetLife Foundation.

For more information on the three museums and their projects, you can view and download the press release.

Three Museums Selected for the Innovation Lab for Museums:
The Madison Children’s Museum, the Mississippi Museum of Art and the National Trust for Historic Preservation

We received a wide variety of applications with projects focused on varying communities from refugees to Native Americans to Latino and black populations. Museums across the nation are continuing to think about how to change the nature of their relationship with their diverse communities.  The applications we read were thoughtful and deep.  The institutions are striving to be conversation starters; to be relevant and central as representatives and speakers for all the voices of their communities.

Youth education also had great representation in our applications.  Project-based learning, STEM and STEAM came up more than once — young people as the voices of their communities, young people as their own ethnographers.  Peer to peer learning and sharing, young people as interns and leaders of the next generation of museum professionals — these are a few of the ideas that our applicant institutions are exploring as they work to become youth-focused not only in their education programs, but in their approach to their communities at large.

Organizations are also looking for ways to do things differently — to reimagine how audience participation can be engaged.  Whether a museum should remain open or closed.  New partnerships and business models. There is an ever-growing awareness that “business as usual” is serving neither the participants in the museums nor the museum itself.  Across the nation, institutions are looking to forge “next” practices and build more resilient and adaptive ways of working. To read more about the applications we received, please download the Applicant Summaries.

Stay tuned to ArtsFwd for updates as these projects unfold and join us as we pursue this work!

Download Press Release Download Applicant Summaries


Liz Dreyer is the Manager of National Programs at EmcArts, managing the Innovation Labs, which help performing arts organizations and museums incubate and test innovative strategies to address major adaptive challenges.