Learning, Engagement and Museums

25 – 28 October 2016, Yerevan, Armenia
Learning, Engagement and Museums, a collaboration between the Museum Education Centre, Armenia, Manchester Art Gallery and the British Museum’s International Training Programme (ITP), took place between 25 – 28 October 2016 in Yerevan, Armenia. Including a mix of presentations, shared case studies, group workshops and facilitated discussions, the conference focused on museum learning and engagement programmes as well as professional development, and offered colleagues both in Armenia and internationally the opportunity to share stories, ideas and challenges in their current work. ITP fellows, generously supported by the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, were invited to facilitate and feed into project working groups and to demonstrate how the ITP has enhanced their expertise and professional growth. Delegates were also invited to analyse their current skills and opportunities for skills-building within the museum sector.


Why learning is important in the modern museum
There are three principle responsibilities for museums and galleries. The first is to the collections and objects we hold – the things we show and the things we keep. Our collections and exhibitions give us our identities and definitions and we use them to create and share narratives. Our second is to our audiences and visitors – that we extend and develop our audiences, connect with them in new ways and involve them in the life of the museum. Our third is that we build plans to survive – develop our ability to be sustainable, so that museums, galleries and their connections will thrive and continue to attract audiences. 
Learning and engagement is a constant and, I argue, the vital thread that runs through these three responsibilities. In a simple way, it is the combining and activating ingredient. We seek more knowledge about our collections and find new ways of displaying them. We learn about and with our audiences, identifying new ways of connecting with them, building new narratives in collaboration with them, working in partnership to widen the museum’s knowledge base and developing the museum environment as a social learning space. Our appetite for learning can also feed sustainability, creating and diversifying a demand for what we do, identifying new ways of doing it, and creating powerful arguments for continuation.
Amongst the key challenges of the modern world are intolerance, division and social isolation. Museums and galleries are a ‘micro-dot’ in the social landscape. But we have the ability and the collections to encourage understanding, enhance positive and confident forms of identity and build social cohesion. Learning and engagement has to be at the heart of our attempts to be a progressive and dynamic museum community.
In conclusion, I wish to add a final responsibility and that is to ourselves. We are learners first. We need to nourish this, share our expertise, build networks and bring this to fore, both in the museums we represent and as a collective and international community.
Ronan Brindley, Head of Learning, Manchester Art Gallery

Workshop - Museum Marketing Strategies and parctical tools

Foundation of the Amsterdam Museums (SAM) and Museum Education Center, Yerevan

22-23 February, 2016

Museum Education Center in cooperation with Association of Museum Workers and Friends, DVV International Country office in Armenia, Aram Khachaturian Museum and ICOM Armenia in partnership with the Foundation of the Amsterdam Museums will organize “Museum Marketing Strategies and Practical Tools” 2 day workshop for 20 museum specialists from Armenia on 22-23 February, 2016. The workshop will be held in Aram Khachaturian Museum.


“Museum Marketing Strategies & practical tools”

The museum as a business is worldwide a small family. Competition is not a drive, professionalism is. No border, no wall, not one institute but working together is DNA. On content museums already do collaborate, on their marketing & business not jet. Taking into account how complex a diversity of cultures and systems could be if museums try to work together, the profit in due time is there, if museums do so. That also counts for governments, local and state, cultural institutes, commercial companies and the customer who wants to involved. From global trends to European showcases on museum collaborations it will be pointed out how fruitful it could be to cooperate in a strategic way for better returns. The study case of all 44 Amsterdam Museums will be looked into deeper: 24/7 call center & catering, energy & income, Lions & Ministry, city marketing & dashboard, educational overkill, Collections & 2025, how mice & bisons save museums, Fun & Iphones,  KLM & Disney. To end and conclude with the fact that museums still rock the planet.

In this session the Armenian museum staff member will have on all levels and departments of a museum business insights how to get better returns by working together. They will work in the workshop on how to address their own brought issues or challenges. The participants will also support each other things. New insights maybe get them to look different and approach their things in another way. It will give a quick overview or update and a huge number or possible solutions by just looking differently towards a museum.

Bjorn Stenvers 


Björn has worked as a marketing director in the Netherlands’ cultural sector for a number of years, and also has marketing experience in the fields of commercial publishing (Elsevier Science) and retail (Clockwork). Until 2010 he was director of marketing at the Amsterdam Heritage Museums (AHM) a cluster he set up with 5 museums; Amsterdam Museum, Museum Willet-Holthuysen, Biblical museum, Cromhout House, Museum Our Lord in the Attic and Museum Geelvinck. In 2011 he also set up the cluster Amsterdam Heritage (AH); a cooperation of all heritage museums and departments in Amsterdam. In which are again the AHM represented but now added with the other Canal museums, Amsterdam Office of World heritage, City Archive and Amsterdam Office of Monuments & Archaeology. In 2012 the city of Amsterdam added to his role; coordinator of the World Heritage Site of the Canal Ring (WHS). Also in 2013 he set up the business foundation SAM for the board of the 44 Official Museums of Amsterdam (amsterdammusea.org). He is the current director of the foundation SAM.