Nina Simon is a groundbreaking voice in the field of museum innovation. Her work at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History has turned a once stale museum space on the verge of collapse into a vibrant center of the community’s lives and joy.

In this short video from Simon’s YouTube channel, she summarizes exactly why she advocates for participatory museums.

The best cultural institutions – not just museums, but parks too – incorporate active participation for all of their visitors. The core of Simon’s ethic is simple: visitors are not passive consumers. They come to our sites to do three things – see things, do things, and be with friends and family.

For more on Nina Simon’s ethic, her book The Participatory Museum is available free online under a Creative Commons license.

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  2. I really appreciated the breakdown between participatory institutions and traditional museums. It gave me a better understanding of the visitors perspective when they visit national parks and how they can contribute when visiting our site. Everyone has a story to share!


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