This month the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) released TrendsWatch 2017, an annual report that summarizes museum trends identified through research conducted by the Center for the Future of Museums (CFM). Widely regarded as a key resource for the museum field, the sixth edition of TrendsWatch is free to the public and available for download online.
“The year 2017 may well be shaped as strongly by events as it is by trends,” said CFM Founding Director Elizabeth Merritt. “For example, you can’t read about mass migration without reflecting on how the Greek economic crisis, military and terrorist actions by the Islamic State, and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union have and will influence the movement of people across the world. Even small actions can create huge ripple effects through time.”
The 2017 trends include:
- A Mile in My Shoes: closing the empathy deficit
- Let Justice Roll Down: the next horizon of civil rights
- The Rise of the Intelligent Machine
- Reshaping the World: migration, refugees, and forced displacement
- Failing Toward Success: the ascendance of agile design
TrendsWatch 2017 is brimming with museum examples of these trends:
- The Empathy Museum in the United Kingdom lets visitors literally walk a mile in another person’s shoes while listening to an audio narrative of that person’s life.
- The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) introduced a “failure-friendly” approach to project management that included rapid iteration and direct public engagement throughout the design process.
- In Williamstown, MA, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institutepartnered with the juvenile court system to offer an alternative sentencing program for high school students that included group meetings with writing and self-awareness exercises, gallery talks, and the use of art as a catalyst for examining their lives and their potential.