How We Create Programs: We Listen to You!

Have you ever thought about how museums come up with their programming?

Think about a field trip you’ve been on, a tour, a lecture, a special event sponsored by some museum, zoo, historic house, arboretum, aquarium—an experience that you just loved and that really made an impression on you. Why did the museum or other institution decide to focus on that subject? Or why did it offer the program at that particular time of day? At the time, why did it seem like that experience was made just for you?

I can tell you from the inside, it wasn’t just a happy coincidence or mere whim on the part of the institution. Any museum worth its salt, and especially anyone who creates programming (read museum educator!), knows that in order to be successful, you have to listen to the needs of the community.

There are lots of ways to do this. The National Law Enforcement Museum uses vehicles like our Facebook page and this blog to get immediate feedback from our national community. We’re developing partnerships with local schools that will help us shape the school programs we’ll offer to students from all over the nation once we’re open. And we’ve assembled a knowledgeable, savvy, national group of advisors with expertise ranging from museum education to law enforcement to civics to socially responsible museum programming to offer guidance. Our Education Advisory Committee is one organized way we listen to all the different communities we want to reach.

So now I’m curious. Who do you think the National Law Enforcement Museum’s community should be? Who should we make extra efforts to reach out to as we develop programs we’ll offer now and in the future? In order to make a program, tour, activity, or whatever seem like it was created especially for you, what should we include, or what would it look like? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts!