Yesterday, the Happy Museum Project (HMP) held an exciting Open Workshop on Measuring What Matters at the beautiful Fazeley Studios in Birmingham. Attended by representatives from 33 museums and arts organizations, including Bristol Museum, Bilston Craft Gallery and the Mental Health Museum, the day proved to be a great success. HMP Associate, Hilary Jennings, and HMP Evaluator, Mandy Barnett kicked off proceedings with a discussion of the wider context of the work of the HMP. We then moved on to a discussion by Daniel Fujiwara of the LSE about robust research methods that focus on causality and valuation.
The second half of the day involved a briefing for those who want to be part of the HMP’s national museums wellbeing survey, LIFE. The research will be analysed by Daniel to see how much your museum contributes to social wellbeing and to value that contribution. Audience members discovered that the survey is aimed at people working with volunteers, audiences, participants or staff. At the end of the day participants will know how to implement rigorous surveys using a control group. They will have a clear understanding of the latest approaches to proving cause and effect, and in valuing ‘soft’ outcomes like happiness and life satisfaction so our social impact on individuals and communities can be compared with economic benefits.
We also heard from Jonathan Wallis and Emma Hallam about an HMP-funded project at Derby Silk Mill. The Silk Mill is in the process of reinventing itself for the 21st century – through reviving the principles of the Enlightenment and expanding traditional perspectives of what a museum is and can be. The concept was developed from a desire to reflect both the 300 year heritage of the building, starting with the Silk Mill as the site of the world’s first factory, through to the modern day city of Derby as a leader in advanced engineering and manufacturing.As part of this project the museum is inviting the public to take part in an exciting and ground-breaking community rebuilding project to remake The Silk Mill. ‘Remake the Museum’ will provide opportunities for members of the public to become citizen curators, taking part in organised sessions, helping to design and build new displays, furniture and fittings for the ground floor alongside their maker in residence – Tilt, a London based design company and Bauman Lyons Architects.
For more on the HMP programme, or if you’d like to sign up for the survey email firstname.lastname@example.org