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 can’t be surprised by crisis anymore

Goal 5 - Value and promote museums as public places and incubators to develop opportunities with huge potential for true social bonding within a multicultural society 

Goal 6 - Extended realities are where our society will develop in the not-so-far future

Goal 7 - Foster creative thinking and innovation in every aspect of life

Museums For Climate (MC)

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)

Museums are rethinking their relationship with heritage, which is more universal and less particular, in order to ensure a wider transmission of their values. Beyond works of art and objects, museums today collect shared heritage, memories and living cultures as well as what we call "intangible collectables". We believe that the future of museums lies in acknowledging an intangible heritage that is broader in vision, that is social, connects to the senses, experiential and emotively responsive. Knowing what to collect is certainly the first step but identifying from whom to collect is the hardest and most decisive step. This is the challenge of an authorised heritage discourse which can be addressed by local cultures, collecting and communicating human diversity, legitimising subaltern narratives, transforming  sub-cultures into history and enable people to go back to their individuality in a multi-layered society. Listening to the fringe communities is key today to understand who we are as a species and correctly define today' societies.

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 and human-related disaster changing the heritage landscape, 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 the ways and means how museums can address, react and respond to social tensions such as social tensions, political pressures and 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 can museums become good neighbours? A willingness to listen to local communities and the ability to stay relevant by addressing their actual needs are fundamental. 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. In this section, we want to understand how to create such ecosystems, permeable to communities and fostering openness as well as collaborations.

Extended Realities (ER)

By pushing the physical, emotional and sensory boundaries of the museum experience, extended realities offers new spaces to tell stories, imagining new scenographies and perception, producing hyper-real transformative journey. With this new physicality and temporality, museums can create what is next in human experience and tell stories of the past or of today by having the visitors truly empathizing with it. 

Understanding how to build a museum and a visitor experience by integrating VR, AR and MR, but even immersive theater using digital means, is fundamental for museums today in order to develop new approaches on collection production and curation, mediation and education, narratives and emotional journey, etc.

Tech Loves Culture (TLC)

From a startup fair launched in 2016 to a facilitation programme, Tech Loves Culture is the startup programme of We Are Museums. Each year, we foster the development of the museum ecosystem boosting it with innovation and creativity, supporting startups and early-stage tech projects with different formats, public speaking and networking opportunities. Connecting startups and museums together helps our community to constantly review their habits, process, tools, services and ecosystem. By enabling creative thinking, museums and startups grow faster together in order to reply to today’s and future’ generations.