Above: Director Marilu Knode during her gallery talk for the exhibition Camp Out: Finding Home in an Unstable World, June 2012.




As part of my role on a program committee for the Association of Midwest Museum's conference    

"Museum Confluence: Connecting People & Ideas" in July, I invited Elizabeth Merritt, Founding Director of the Center for the Future of Museums (CFM), to be a keynote speaker. I have followed Merritt's work at the CFM, which is part of the American Alliance of Museums, where Merritt and her team do some great forecasting, not just about the impact of shifting donor patterns, but about larger cultural and social forces impacting the field as well. She finds, over and over, that museums of all stripes are leading the way in creating new models for engagement and interactivity that, in a cost/benefit analysis, reinforce the great good that radiates out from the public support of museums.

Merritt's enlivening and challenging PowerPoint presentation included the "Cone of Plausibility," a funny graphic rooted in her team's research across a range of disciplines. It struck me that museums are already at the forefront of many of the shifting demands for new educational and social models -- and that Laumeier's 105 acres presents an important platform for educating about place, the sciences, art and landscape stewardship. My own research into the shifting shape of museums tells me that Laumeier -- a dedicated sculpture park, social space and incubator -- can play a greater role in changing the centrality of museums in our civic discourse. In her lecture, Elizabeth Merritt proved it!

If your beach reading is too beach-y and you need something to stimulate your brain during the dog days of summer, visit the Center for the Future of Museums website, download the 2014 Trends Watch report and see how your contribution to Laumeier, and other museums, is helping to change the way we learn and think.

See you in the park!

Marilu Knode

Executive Director