Innovation Lab for Museums

A program for museums to design, research and prototype novel approaches to field-wide challenges.

In 2012, the American Alliance of Museums’ (AAM) Center for the Future of Museums (CFM), EmcArts, and MetLife Foundation launched the Innovation Lab for Museums, a major new initiative designed to enable selected museums to design, research and prototype innovations, and test new approaches to field-wide challenges in a laboratory-like setting.  

The Lab takes place over the span of 18 to 24 months, during which EmcArts facilitators work with innovation teams comprised of senior managers and board representatives in combination with museum staff, artists and scientists, educators and/or external voices from inside and outside the cultural sector, such as community partners to provide diverse perspectives.

To learn more about the Innovation Lab for Museums, contact Liz Dreyer, National Programs Manager.

Stories from Innovation Labs for Museums
In the last decade, we've supported 9 unique organizations through the Innovation Labs for Museums. These museums have represented a wide range of sizes, resources, infrastructure, and have all come into the Lab with gnarly complex challenges.

In working with these museums, we have produced Innovation Stories, videos, interviews, and podcasts that are instructive about the pitfalls and successes of navigating complexity. Click on the highlighted organizations below to read more.
To engage more meaningfully with the public, The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum activated their front porch for community programs.

Participants - Round 3

Featured Participant - Meet Latino New South
This case study on Latino New South documents the partnership between three cultural institutions – the Levine Museum of the New South (Charlotte, NC), the Atlanta History Center (Atlanta, GA), and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, AL). These three organizations entered the Innovation Lab for Museums with the intention of making their institutions more resonant with, and responsive to, the fast-growing Latino communities in their respective cities. Watch the video below, and read the full case study here.
Watch this video on Latino New South's work in the Innovation Labs for Museums