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Center for the Future of Museums    Share   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Welcome to a special annual meeting preview issue of Dispatches from the Future of Museums. Dispatches is a weekly digest of curated clippings for museum futurists, highlighting trends that are likely to remake our culture and society in the decades ahead, tools and technology that can help museums embrace the future, and examples of museum innovation in action. If this is your first issue and you want to keep receiving Dispatches in the future, please subscribe.

The AAM Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo™ is next month, May 23-26, in Los Angeles. You can still take advantage of advance registration rates until April 16, so register today!

The annual meeting is a premier opportunity to explore the world to come. We're fond of quoting William Gibson's insight that "the future is unequally distributed" — and it always seems to arrive early in California! We encourage you to use CFM's Guide to the Future to identify sessions, thought leaders and events that explore important trends; visit the MuseumExpo™ to see The Pinky Show's installation of artifacts from future museums; and get the scoop on CFM's latest research on demographic change.

Exercise and Science Headlines

Los Angeles creatives transform empty city space
PSFK    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The city of Los Angeles has quickly become known as one of the most sprawling creative capitals in recent times. The dispersion of artist development, paired with a new central arts district and an emerging consciousness of its historic neighborhoods, has helped the city to cultivate a new sense of community. To Los Angeles' benefit, the rising abundance of creative types have stepped forward to close the elusive gaps (between public and private space), not just aesthetically, but psychologically, spacially and environmentally. More

Growth of unpaid internships may be illegal, officials say
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With job openings scarce for young people, the number of unpaid internships has climbed in recent years, leading federal and state regulators to worry that more employers are illegally using such internships for free labor. The Labor Department says it is cracking down on firms that fail to pay interns properly and expanding efforts to educate companies, colleges and students on the law regarding internships. The rules for unpaid interns are less strict for non-profit groups like charities because people are allowed to do volunteer work for non-profits. ♦ For now, the focus is primarily on for-profit firms. More

The death of liberal arts
Newsweek    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
After the endowment of Centenary College in Shreveport, La., fell by 20 percent from 2007 to 2009, the private school decided to eliminate half of its 44 majors. Over the next three to four years, classic humanities specialties like Latin, German studies, and performing arts will be phased out. It's quite a change from 2007, when Newsweek labeled Centenary the "hottest liberal-arts school you never heard of," extolling its wide range of academics. In their place, the school is considering adding several graduate programs, such as master's degrees in teaching and international business. ♦ How will this affect museums as educational institutions? More

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Millennials accused of lax work ethic say it's not all about 9-to-5
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
free registration may be required
The millennial generation — about 50 million people between ages 18 and 29 — is the only age group in the nation that doesn't cite work ethic as one of its "principal claims to distinctiveness," according to a new Pew Research Center study, "Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change." The Washington-based nonprofit group found that young adults and their elders agree: Baby boomers and Generation Xers have better work ethics and moral values than those in their 20s.

Internet surpasses TV as most essential media
Marketing Charts    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For the first time, the Internet has surpassed TV as the "most essential" medium, according to the latest "Infinite Dial" study by Arbitron and Edison Research. When asked which they would choose if they must, never again watching television or never again accessing the Internet, slightly more people chose TV as the medium they would eliminate. Forty-nine percent of respondents chose to eliminate TV, compared to just more than 48 percent who said they would get rid of the Internet. When first asked the question in 2001, 72 percent of respondents said they would do without the Internet, while only 26 percent said they would eliminate television. In the demographic of persons younger than the age of 45, the gap between the two forms of media is more profound, with more people choosing to live without TV. More

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Mining boom fails to turn into gold for cultural groups
The Australian    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Cultural institutions in Western Australia are chronically underfunded, lack staff or have closed down, despite mounting state wealth and predictions of unparalleled economic growth. More


What social media will look like in 2012
Advertising Age    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's easy to get caught up in today's trends or even focus on the next six months. Some of 2009's biggest trends included an increased emphasis on real-time search and information distribution. Plus, there were great improvements in social-media monitoring and analytics. And most notably, marketers finally acknowledged that social media was more than just a fad, with almost complete adoption by all major marketers. Here are the top 11 predictions for what social media will look like in 2012. More

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The impact of the Internet on institutions in the future
Pew Research Center    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
By an overwhelming margin, technology experts and stakeholders participating in a survey fielded by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center believe that innovative forms of online cooperation could result in more efficient and responsive for-profit firms, non-profit organizations and government agencies by the year 2020. More

University of New Hampshire study: More flooding becoming the norm, not the unusual
Foster's Daily Democrat    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Large flooding events that have plagued the Northeast for the last few years are starting to look more like a new trend, rather than an anomaly. Lately, those living in the region have only had to look out their windows to observe the trend of wet weather. A report released recently confirms what many already knew; precipitation is on the rise in the area. According to the report from the University of New Hampshire, there is an increasing trend of heavy rain events that is consistent with the "projections of climate change associated with global warming." Precipitation data from the report was collected from 219 National Weather Service cooperative stations from Maine to New Jersey. ♦ Museums in flood-prone areas of the region may want to review their emergency plans. More

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David Brooks: Relax, we'll be fine
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Over the next 40 years, demographers estimate that the U.S. population will surge by an additional 100 million people, to 400 million over all. The population will be enterprising and relatively young. In 2050, only a quarter will be over 60, compared with 31 percent in China and 41 percent in Japan. In his book, "The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050," über-geographer Joel Kotkin sketches out how this growth will change the national landscape. Extrapolating from current trends, he describes an archipelago of vibrant suburban town centers, villages and urban cores. More

10 space jobs from the near future
WIRED    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
So what will a job market for the aspiring space junkie look like in 20-30 years? For a long time, the single goal for kids that were spastic over spaceflight was to become an astronaut. Now, it looks like that job title is going to have some competition. More


The zoo's "free" problem
The Memphis Flyer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Memphis Zoo in Tennessee got a hard lesson in the cost of "free day." So many people showed up that the zoo and Overton Park had to be closed for a while. There were traffic jams, fights, and gunshots. The zoo administration has come up with some possible remedies including no free days during March (and spring break for city schools) and a requirement that kids up to 16 years old have an adult chaperon. But this will put a burden on the zoo staff ("Let me see your IDs, all five of you, and which one is the chaperon, and who came with who?") and it ignores the problem of zoo overcrowding and neighborhood encroachment the other 11 months of the year. There's another idea that might work: Make free day dollar day. More

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History education and the 'educational' role of museums
National Council for History Education    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Paula Gangopadhyay of The Henry Ford writes, "Last year, I attended an invigorating conference hosted by the National Council for History Education in Boston. From the inspirational keynote speech by historian David McCullough to the session where an energetic classroom teacher showcased a creative DBQ project in her fifth grade classroom, the conference left me energized by the passion for teaching history among educators. But at the same time, I was dismayed by the absence of history museum representation, except for a handful of museum exhibitors, at this national history education conference... I am concerned by the growing realization that there is a lack of appreciation among educators for the intellectual tools and expertise with artifacts and primary source material that museums can bring to the teaching of history." More

A tale of two museums
Taiwan Review    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The sheer magnitude of the numbers is staggering. The London-based British Museum bears the reputation of being the world's most prominent museum because of the more than 7 million objects in its holdings, while the Taipei-based National Palace Museum has earned fame because its collection of some 655,000 items constitutes the finest accumulation of Chinese artworks and artifacts in the world. Although such massive, comprehensive collections have brought renown to the NPM and BM, they have also caused a number of difficulties, one of which is the problem of simply keeping track of the many objects. ♦ The theme of this year's AAM Annual Meeting is "Museums Without Borders," which means many more opportunities for global comparisons. More

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More than a few favorite things
The Japan Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Museum curators are usually in the position of assessing an artist's career, but rarely turn that same critical lens upon themselves. However, an exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, is an opportunity to do just that for Shinji Kohmoto. Retiring this April, Kohmoto has turned his parting exhibition into an oblique retrospective of his own storied career and a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of the museum system. "My Favorites" takes as its point of departure the museum's practice of categorizing works in its collection by type, such as painting, sculpture or photography. In addition to these conventional classifications, the museum also has a catchall classification of "non-category" added by Kohmoto in 1978-79. More

What's the big idea behind the Pompidou-Metz?
The Guardian    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
This is a very strange fish. What first strikes the eye about the Pompidou-Metz is its bizarre, undulating roof. This complex structure, made of no fewer than 10 miles of laminated spruce and larch, is an extraordinary creation, drooping over the concrete, steel and glass core of the building in a seemingly random fashion, as if a passing bird had dropped a giant floppy hat on its head. Coated in fiberglass, the roof has been shaped as much for practical reasons as for aesthetic ones — to keep sun, rain and snow at bay. More

Smithsonian Secretary plans to make massive collection available to all
SmartPlanet    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
An interview with Wayne Clough, 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. He previously spent 14 years as president of Georgia Tech, so he knows a thing or two about young people and technology. In fact, he's made it his business to put online the entire collection of Smithsonian artifacts, records, documents and relics from 19 museums, nine research centers and the National Zoo. More

Tools for the Future

Lifelike Geminoid F Robot creepily blurs boundaries of reality
Fast Company    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
We cover a lot of robots here on Fast Company, sometimes exciting tech, sometimes promising for health care, or the future of daily life... and sometimes outright creepy. The latest Japanese android is firmly in this category. She's a product of the Intelligent Robotics lab at Osaka University and robot builders Kokoro Co. Ltd., and she's dubbed Geminoid F (the "f" is for female). And all that use of the word "she" is justified, as the bot is quite definitely convincingly female — which technically makes her a gynoid rather than an android. All this super realism is because she's modeled after a real twenty-something Japanese woman... The team behind this robot think she'll work fabulously in roles like receptionist at a museum. More

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NIST workshop takes first steps toward standards for preserving digital data
Government Computer News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Congress has mandated that agencies preserve digitally born records, and the nation's laboratories, libraries, museums and other institutions are preserving huge amounts of existing analog data in digital formats. But much of this information is at risk of being lost or inaccessible because of a lack of common standards. More

Taking the bias out of meetings
McKinsey Quarterly    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
free registration required
The biases that undermine strategic decision making often operate in meetings. Here is a menu of ideas for running them in a way that will mitigate the impact of those biases. Not every suggestion will be applicable to all types of decisions or organizations, but paying attention to the principles underlying these ideas should pay dividends for any executive trying to run meetings that lead to sounder decisions. Idea No. 1: Make sure the right people are involved.


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Dispatches from the Future of Museums
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