the imagination to see the institution as a part of and not apart from the larger community, a player with status and responsibilities in the civic arena.
Evidence: In addition to links with other area cultural institutions, museum cultivates links with a broad range of civic organizations, from city or town officials, police force, school and library leaders, to churches and community organizations.
2. A habit of mind, a persistent orientation to its community,
such that whatever is happening in the community (whether or not it is related to museum type or collection) is of interest (and is considered to be legitimately of interest) to the institution and is taken into consideration in its planning and activities.
Evidence: On a continuing basis, as a matter of policy and planning, the museum administration and staff are on top of social, economic, and other issues of concern in the community; in case of a crisis, like the marathon bombings in Boston; the devastation of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast; or the entry of thousands of unaccompanied children on the Mexican border, the museum examines what role it might play in helping address the crisis.
Because the museum has planned ahead, and has a consistent orientation to connections with its diverse audiences, it is able to respond in a timely fashion when a crisis (almost by definition something that is not anticipated) occurs.
Evidence: As part of its disaster plan, the museum includes planning for reaching out to its community once the safety of its own staff, collections, and buildings is in hand. As an example from the library field, the New York Public Library tweeted after Hurricane Sandy that, as each of its facilities had power restored, it would be open for shelter, warmth, water, charging of devices. And they extended the loan period for overdue books!
4.Resonance & Responsiveness:
The museum has strong and trusted connections with all the diverse (and often neglected) aspects of the community, in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic status.
Evidence: A consistent policy of inclusive hiring of board, staff, and volunteers, people who resemble the larger community (in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, SES); a consistent pattern of seeking counsel and advice from diverse groups–especially those not well represented on staff and board–in institutional planning, marketing, development of exhibitions, programs, and social media.
5.Awareness of how it is perceived: Institutional Self-Awareness
This is contingent on having strong connections within diverse communities that can convey often unexpressed feelings and attitudes, especially of those less likely to visit, toward this specific museum and toward museums in general.
Evidence: The museum has a sense of its own institutional body language – unspoken messages that can be communicated to the public by images or cultural symbols like flags, colors, graphics, gestures, clothing, etc., that convey unintended meanings. It is also aware of the potential for well-intended attempts to communicate with new audiences to be viewed with distrust or assessed as tokenism. The museum is therefore careful to include people familiar with cultural symbols in areas like marketing and the planning of exhibitions and programming.