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Museums trial MOI! Museums of Impact: a new self-observation tool

By 6 April 2022No Comments

The MOI! Museums of Impact project is about to conclude its pilot phase, during which European museums have been testing the self-analysis model in order to assess its effectiveness.

Over the last few weeks, the self-analysis tool proposed as part of the MOI! Museums of Impact project has been put to the test in Italy and elsewhere. The objective is to develop a scalable and versatile method, which allows museum operators from all over Europe to compare and maximise their musem’s capacity to generate external impact.

Various museum institutions (differing in terms of area, size, structure and subject areas) were selected to test the model: from public to private museums, from foundations to museum networks. BAM! Strategie Culturali is the project’s Italian partner and has been entrusted with the organisation and management of the test in Italy. The Istituzione Bologna Musei was the organisation picked for the Italian pilot. It is a network of fourteen civic museums in the municipality of Bologna, with collections ranging from ancient and medieval art to contemporary art.

The tool

The current model underlying the MOI! Museums of Impact method takes the form of a questionnaire, divided into 8 modules, each with a set of questions The first four are called “enabling” modules as they encourage reflection on transversal working methods at the various levels and in the various sectors of the organisation. These modules include questions about the dynamics of internal and external communication, the ability to analyse the museum context, the observation of the physical and digital space within which people move, and staff wellbeing. The other four modules are described as “thematic” and help museums to understand the extent of their impact on specific issues:

  • relevance in society,
  • relationship with communities and sharing of heritage,
  • sustainability and resilience,
  • relevance and reliability of knowledge.

The current shape of the framework stems from a number of stakeholder forums held between 2020 and 2021, when the project met and listened to different communities of European museum operators (here is an in-depth look at the Italian one).

The model does not focus on measuring the effectiveness of the museum, but instead aims to stimulate an internal dialogue within the museum to analyse the actual impact generated by museums.

 

The thirty or so participants in the Italian pilot project organised together with Istituzione Bologna Musei took part in the initiative with great interest, sharing feedback and suggestions that could help to finalise the model in a more pertinent way, better tailoring it to the operational life of complex institutions such as a museum network.

The most appreciated aspect of the framework was the possibility of observing and discussing some of the working dynamics of the institution, within a more diverse and varied working group in terms of the roles involved: directors, curators, communication managers, administrators, teaching service managers and other figures.

In the light of the feedback received, the project partners will work on finalising the tool and hope to publish it by the end of 2022.