Predict the future of a historical museum
Fill out a survey to help the Manitoba Museum make plans for the next 50 years
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Psst: the Manitoba Museum wants to listen to you.
Founded in 1972, the vaunted emporium of historical fact and scientific enlightenment is opening the floor to the public to help strategize for its next 50 years and beyond, says museum CEO Dorota Blumczynska.
Until July 31, the museum is collecting responses to a survey about the museum’s future and the priorities of its guests at manitobamuseumtomorrow.ca. The short survey will be an essential tool in gauging what the public wants out of the museum, where it is doing good work, and where it needs some realignment or improvement of its approach to curating the history of the province and the land.
Every visitor to the museum is looking for a specific experience, Blumczynska says. Some want to learn. Some want to be entertained. Some want to be propelled to action. Others may need a productive way to spend an afternoon. Regardless, it’s important for the museum to engage with guests about how those experiences can each be enhanced or adapted to fit modern expectations.
“We want to better understand how Manitobans feel entering this space, and what they value most out of those experiences,” she added.
The survey and its potential ideological updates dovetail with physical updates the museum has undertaken in recent years. Over the past months, the museum underwent a large capital renewal project which saw several galleries rebuilt or added. Longtime staples such as the Prairies gallery were given much-needed updating, while spaces such as the Winnipeg gallery were wholly new creations.
“We had some galleries added where the space had once been used for storage,” says Blumczynska, who joined the museum as CEO in May 2021.
“But those changes were in brick and mortar. They were in the structure,” she adds. “This conversation (which the museum is calling a listening tour) is about hearing from Manitobans where they want the museum to go and how it can have the greatest impact.”
Focus groups will include inputs from teachers, donors and researchers, among other groups, while Blumczynska says the museum has already created a separate focus group to highlight the input of its Indigenous advisory circle. Past chairs and board members will also have the opportunity to share their thoughts, though Blumczynska says it’s the public which the museum needs to step forward and speak up.
“We really are casting our net very far and wide, to get as many experiences as possible,” she says.
Because Manitobans love prizes, anyone who completes the survey is entered to win prizes including staycation packages at a luxury hotel, tickets to a Winnipeg Jets game, a fancy dinner, a shopping spree, or a family membership to the museum.
Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.