Community Storytelling Workshop Notes: Seattle
Happy to share notes from the “Community Storytelling Workshop” (aka, “brainstorming session”) Katie Spencer and I led a few weeks ago at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle. We’re quite primed to be pushing the boundaries of the field with partners like MOHAI, Friends of Waterfront Seattle, and other potential partners who are doing great work connecting with community.
1. Intro. Community Storytelling is a new, emerging area we’ve identified that gathers snapshots of stories from the wide web of communities connecting to museums and organizations. We do this through a combination of community events, exhibits, and online story gathering tools.
2. The Community Storytelling Model
- Coming Home to St. Croix project: The power of gathering snapshots of stories from visitors in this Caribbean Island community became apparent in our work with St. Croix Landmarks Society. See the project blog entry.
- Creating a new model for Community Storytelling: presentation in DC to Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD). Check out the presentation notes.
3. Try it out! (Workshop exercise exchanging childhood stories with a partner. What are the challenges? Did you feel a spark? When?)
4. Ways to gather stories
- Exhibits: Nuevolution at the pioneering Levine Museum of the New South:
- Popup Events: Harvard Extension School, New England Museum Association, Harvard Law School
- Email/web link format. Our new tool for gathering stories from museum members and community groups via their own smartphones and tablets at home
- Additional thoughts: engaging metaphors through projection mapping in exhibits, Augmented Reality (AR) stories throughout a community
5. New directions: pushing the boundaries of community storytelling
- Connect with local news
- Stories as seeds: re-approaching communities
- Email chains, friend to friend
- Unique locations, popups at pubs, etc
- Measuring community connection — paying attention to some of the intangibles as museums build community connection through stories
6. Practical tips
- Developing good questions.
- Drawing on existing networks
- The art of engaging people (staff training)
- Right place and time
Next steps…multi-institutional initiatives