Museums, nature centers, and other interpretive sites should be thieves. Yep, you read that right. They should scope out what makes other popular industries successful—and steal what works!
We promote this pilfering, obviously, with a chuckle. We do not want to see curators in jail and naturalists in the pen! But, imagine a world where we steal from…
The Movie Industry
Interpretive exhibits become as exciting as the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Special effects—themed lighting, enthralling soundscapes, and immersive scenery complete with realistic props and replicas—complement (but not supplement) the site’s specimens and artifacts.
The Television Industry
A site’s programming is so captivating and engaging that it becomes the talk of the town, the “buzz” at the water cooler. Each program is done so well—and connected so seamlessly to past and future programs—that visitors will feverishly anticipate the next “episode.”
The Music Industry
Like the best songs, exhibits will be short and sweet—with text that is full of deep meaning, vivid and illustrative descriptions, and inspiring calls to action. Like the best concerts—with hit song after hit song—interpretive sites will have one great exhibit after another.
The News Industry
Like heralded, old-fashioned journalism, interpretive exhibits and programs will cut to the heart of the matter. Instead of long, boring descriptions, they will offer crisp and engaging portrayals focused on the “who,” “what,” “when,” and “where” of a topic—and, most importantly, the “why does it matter?”
Finally, interpretive sites will remain firmly rooted in education. They will have a professor’s eye for evidence, facts, and sources. They will not shy away from using the special effects of the movie industry or the brilliant brevity of musicians—but they will never sacrifice accuracy, truth, and the opportunity to educate our forthcoming generations.
So what do you think? Is thievery the answer? Truth be told—and for our benefit—our industry is already committing some petty larceny!