If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.  ~Antoine De Saint Exupery

As museum visitors, we marvel at the creative impulses of others, from the art of past centuries to the genius of invention. But are museums creative places to work? In this new book project, Linda Norris and Rainey Tisdale explore what creativity is, how museum workers can create internal cultures of creative learning and how museums can make creativity an expressed value. We believe that creativity comes in all shapes and sizes and that creative practice can (and should) reside in all types of museums and within every segment of museum work.

Do you think creativity is someone else’s job at your museum? Do you wish your colleagues were more creative? Does fear of failure hinder creativity at your museum? We’re digging deeper into what makes a creative person, how you can tune up your own creative thinking, and how your museum can nimbly overcome that fear of failing.

To make the final result as useful as possible, we’re seeking case studies and questions from our colleagues in the field. If you have a great example of creative practice, please share it with us. If you have questions about creative practice—why it matters, how it can be enhanced, or how you can be more creative—please ask us to explore. Right now there are three ways you can share your ideas:

  1. Leave us a comment below about anything that’s on your mind.
  2. Visit our News page for periodically updated specific information requests.
  3. Email us directly at linda@lindabnorris.com and/or raineytisdale@gmail.com.

15 thoughts on “About

  1. There are many examples of museums doing creative things, by which I mean leading change efforts with the public, with internal systems,and especially empowering staff. A publication that catalogues these case studies would be so helpful to all of us.I hope I have defined some of the parameters you are considering when you talk about creativity.

    • Thanks, Martha. Yes, we’re particularly interested in the internal systems and empowering staff. Let us know if you come across any specific case studies we should know about. Our survey has turned up some good ones but we’re still on the hunt for more.

      • Rainey, do you and Linda already know about what the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts did with providing grants to staff for professional development? I heard a presentation about it at AAM and was amazed and pleased that see museums putting money back into their own people. One of the awardees spent time looking at hospitality models at Disney, Mayo Clinic and a few other places — all of which now informs how he thinks about his own work in visitor services.

      • Thanks for the hot tip, Andrea. I saw that session in the program but had something else during that slot so I’m glad to hear your report. Our book revisions are due at the end of this week–ack!

      • Glad to hear it because I can’t wait to read itbut I’m sure it’s crunch time. Good luck! ____________________

        *Andrea Michelbach* Museology MA, University of Washington andrea1m@uw.edu

        On Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 1:26 PM, Museums & Creative Practice wrote:

        > ** > raineytisdale commented: “Thanks for the hot tip, Andrea. I saw that > session in the program but had something else during that slot so I’m glad > to hear your report. Our book revisions are due at the end of this > week–ack!”

  2. Creative practice seems to have evolved in museums. Once, it was primarily the province of the curator and/or the director. Then it became a team process. More and more I am hearing that team brainstorming is a waste of time and leads to a common denominator result. I would be interested to know how creative practice can be institutionalized in a museum and what the best method(s) might be.

    • Thanks your your comment, Ron. In fact, I’m working on a chapter draft right now that deals with institutionalizing creative practice. You’re right that there has been some rethinking of brainstorming recently, and Linda and I have been working through the literature to try to come to some consensus on it. But I think a big issue is that a lot of museums, and other types of organizations too, have been relying on brainstorming as if it’s the only tool in the creativity toolbox–if you just do that then everything will work out great. One of the things we want to encourage with this project is a diversification of the toolbox so that brainstorming isn’t trying to lift such a heavy load by itself.

  3. My namy is Inês Ferreira, and I am begining my phd reseach, that relates, in one hand, creative and critical thinking in museums, and in another hand is focused in how can critical and creative thinking skills be prompted in the exhibition context – which tools can be used… I think this bok will be really healpful for me! When is it expected to be finished?

    • That sounds like an interesting project, Inês. Our book is scheduled to be published by Left Coast Press in the second half of 2013. We plan to finish the manuscript by the end of this year, but then it must go through editing, peer review, etc. We will, of course, publicize it here and other places when it comes out. I hope it will be ready in time to be useful to you.

  4. Rainey, This is a compelling project. You might want to learn more about the de Cordova / Lincoln Nursery School partnership. It is fantastic collaboration with the kids having amazing access and exposure to the arts (and creativity) and artists at such a young age. More so, we’re learning that the Museum staff has adapted ideas from the children. The staff has commented that the museum and sculpture garden have now “come alive.” Might be worth a look for your work.

    • What an honor, T. H. Gray. Enjoyed reading your Liebster responses, and will get cracking on our own just as soon as we turn in that manuscript (which we’re trying to do this week). Thanks for the vote of confidence.

      • You deserve it. I enjoy your blog and work greatly. Good luck with the manuscript! And I’ll look forward to reading your Liebster post.

  5. I came across your blog by the coincidence of having the same name! Seems we share other interests – check out my glass commission for Conwy Castle in North Wales http://lindanorris.wordpress.com/tag/conwy-castle/. I will be in Florida in May giving a workshop and paper about this project to the American Glass Guild Conference, followed by a visit to Corning and New York. You might also like http://www.linda-norris.com/rosebush2.htm and http://www.linda-norris.com/concept.htm.

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