Connecting the Museum With the Community

Museums are transitioning from niche cultural sites to community hubs, and expanding their engagement with their cities.
July 23, 2009, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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The change is being spurred by a shift in demographics, as the traditional museum patron ages and younger, communication-savvy audiences move in to take their place.

"With the rise of powerful social-network tools on the Internet and a generation weaned on collective participation and decisionmaking, institutions must adapt or die, says Emlyn Koster, president of New Jersey's Liberty Science Center, which just completed a $109 million renovation to increase its communitywide value.

'This generation is about social relevance and global connection,' says Mr. Koster, who calls this the third stage in modern museum evolution, following the 19th-century model of the curio cabinet guarded by experts, which gave way to an emphasis on interactivity in the 1960s."

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Published on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 in Christian Science Monitor
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