Many museums can learn from Cincinnati Museum Center’s two-and-a-half-year effort to move out, move back in, overhaul two museums and save a National Historic Landmark. So many, in fact, the Association of Midwest Museums (AMM) is partnering with CMC to host a conference to share those lessons with museum professionals from across the Midwest. The Big Change Summit will bring together museum professionals from eight states at Union Terminal on April 11 and 12.
As they prepared for the monumental undertaking of restoring Union Terminal, CMC was tasked with the challenge of how to remain present and relevant in the Cincinnati community. How could CMC continue to make a meaningful impact? How could they continue to engage members and guests? And how would they tackle the logistical challenge of removing and storing millions of historic artifacts, collections pieces and exhibitry through the two-and-a-half year restoration?
These questions are not unique to CMC. Museums are constantly undergoing renovations, updating exhibits, removing beloved artifacts and raising funds to accomplish it all. The Big Change Summit is hoping to provide other museums answers to those questions, or at least inspiration to find their own answers.
“The restoration of Union Terminal was a challenging but really revelatory moment for Cincinnati Museum Center,” says Whitney Owens, chief learning officer at Cincinnati Museum Center and president of the Association of Midwest Museums’ Board of Directors. “In the process of repairing and preserving our iconic home, we also redefined what it means to be a museum, enriching the guest experience and giving us a greater community impact. We’re excited to share some of those lessons with our colleagues.”
The Big Change Summit will feature sessions on how to pass a levy to fund your work and how to fund, plan and manage a major building restoration. Speakers will also discuss how to manage a full and partial building closure, including staffing, programming strategies and member and public relations. Several sessions will focus on the impact on the museum experience, including using digital technology to share and preserve historic details, staying relevant as a museum without walls and how to update galleries with new experiences while honoring what guests “love to love.”
“Cincinnati Museum Center is such a fascinating case study for reimagining and completely redesigning the museum experience and doing so on a massive scale,” says Charity Counts, executive director of the Association of Midwest Museums. “This is a great opportunity for other professionals to learn from their challenges and their many successes and to witness it firsthand in their gorgeous Art Deco building.”
The Summit will feature guest speakers from CMC, Turner Construction Company, GBBN Architects, Facility Management & Planning Services, John G. Waite Associates, Landor, community partners and exhibit design partners.
Participants will also have the opportunity to take behind-the-scenes tours of the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Union Terminal’s impressive interior infrastructure and high steel. Registration is now open.
To learn more and register, visit midwestmuseums.org/cmc-summit.