Since the creation of We Are Museums, we identify and cultivate emerging models of museums that react and reply to today’s people’s needs and ecosystems. We accompanied museums worldwide in their transformation to constantly stay relevant locally and globally. We have been working on different profiles of museums and the strategical directions good to work on, in order to encourage those ready to take the next step.

This framework inspires our conferences’ programme each year as well as all our activities.

Our actions and events direct theirs effort towards global social goals and 7 research topics:

Goal 1 – Create an environment-resilient society focusing on individual and community-based actions 

Goal 2 – Encourage cultural diversity and strengthen social cohesion through space and time 

Goal 3 – Locate Culture at the centre of everyday life to serve as a pivot of values guiding humanity 

Goal 4 – Humankind and Museums can’t be surprised by crisis anymore

Goal 5 – Value and promote museums as local public places and incubators to develop multicultural social bondings 

Goal 6 – Building up an ethical environment to develop projects with new technologies (AI, extended realities, etc.)

Goal 7 – Foster future, creative thinking and innovation in every aspect of life

Museums Facing Extinction (MFE)

We are on a global journey towards a better understanding and more profound respect of our planet. Museums can take a pivotal role in this process by acting as positive agents within social ecology and deploying sustainable operational models. This begins by viewing nature as a common and universally shared heritage. Museums can commit to fostering sustainability throughout their institutions, exhibitions, and education programmes. Museums sharing best-practices matched with environmentally conscious attitudes means a brighter future. 

Intangible Collectables (IC)

Today, museums are rethinking their relationship with our legacy in the context of the multi-layered society we live it. Heritage becomes more universal and less particular in order to ensure a wider transmission of key values. Acknowledging that history is being made by sub-cultures, local and indigenous cultures serves to collect and legitimise subaltern narratives and communicate about human diversity. Beyond works of art and objects, museums collect shared heritage, memories and living cultures as well as what we call “intangible collectables”.

Open Museums (OM)

The issue of accessibility and reappropriation is a crucial topic for museums. Breaking barriers of entry is no longer enough to transmit the cultural values and knowledge they possess.  Museums need to embrace and advocate for policies of total openness of their collections. By having zero limits on space, time, use, or ownership while using the power of data to enhance everyone’s accessibility to cultural heritage. The coming age means navigating both open APIs and artificial intelligence. Museums need to be guided through these technological processes to protect yesterday and tomorrow’s culture. Ensuring that museums stay relevant and accessible for everyone to enjoy.

Museums Facing Crisis (MFC)

With climate change bringing about uneven and irregular weather conditions, human-related disaster changing the heritage landscape, pandemic transforming the way we function, museums need to work together to safeguard humanity’s heritage, promote peace and build resilience. This is more than acknowledging conventions and sharing resources whenever necessary and possible. It concerns new regenerative models of systems. This impact the ways and means museums can address, react and respond to social tensions such as social and health tensions, political pressures, military conflicts and natural disasters. It is also how museums champion ideals and aspirations of their societies, meaning that museums cannot and should not remain neutral. For museums to be relevant to their communities, they need to acknowledge needs and challenges including not just the political but also those that are fast becoming humanitarian.

Museumhood (MH)

How museums can create a symbiotic relationship with their neighbours and local communities? A willingness to listen to local communities and the ability to stay relevant by addressing their actual needs are key. By creating environments within and outside of their walls that are safe, useful and trustworthy, cultural institutions can become genuinely local public spaces. Museums are powerful vectors of social bonding and civic engagement. They enhance the ties between individuals and communities when they become social hubs. Creating living spaces where everyone can feel free to learn, share, think or act is an essential milestone when it comes to building sustainable communities.

Future Realities (FR)

From a startup fair launched in 2016 to a facilitation programme, We Are Museums foster the development of the museum ecosystem boosting it with technological innovation.

New technologies give new frames for museums to develop their collection preservation and production, visitor engagement and educational purpose. Caring for the frames of theses new realities is crucial to prepare a better future. 

Futures Literacy (FL)

During the time of unprecedented changes and transformations that our society is facing, it is crucial to find space to reflect and understand the past and think about the different scenarios of the future. Unleashing the capacity of future-visioning of museum workers and their audiences in order to facilitate their imagination, is necessary to maintain a positive environment and drive us towards a future better for people and the planet.