MUSEUMS & STEREOTYPES: THE TOOLKIT
Strategy type (tool, event, training course, etc.)
Scope of the practice (local, national, international level)
When did it start/end?
October, 2019 - longlasting
Name of the organization
A project by ABCittà developed in collaboration with Enrico Giori and through the patronage contribution of Fondazione Cariplo
City and country
1. Describe your project briefly
Museums & Stereotypes: the Toolkit is a tool designed for museum professionals, educators and designers. Created to support the critical investigation of the most common stereotypes in museums, it consists of three different activities aimed at favoring critical observation and socialization within working, training and professional development groups. The kit, made up of different activities, has been structured in such a way as to allow a systematic reflection on different areas, offering a track for a concrete project that also includes useful suggestions to track its impact and monitor its results.
2. What was the aim of the project?
The project aims to stimulate new awareness in the recipients by supporting a change in the operators and consequently in museums' social inclusion.
The kit, available both in Italian and English, wanted to concretely activate professionals in the experimentation of practices that allow them to understand the critical aspects of museum work.
3. Who was involved in designing process?
The toolkit was created by ABCittà in collaboration with a young designer, Enrico Giori from Rhode Island School of Design. After the initial design, we defined a prototype that was tested - from the point of view of content and general accessibility - by different groups of professionals. The kit available online is therefore created by including all the information collected during the focus groups with different people, no only experts in the field.
4. If you could change something, what would you change?
First of all, we would probably create a more sophisticated system to keep track of evaluations: this means that every person who downloads it, has to answer some questions and give us feedback.
Moreover, having had more resources, it would have been great to send the digital version of the kit to all the main Italian museums.
5. How did the project impact on civil society?
In our perception the Toolkit has had a certain impact especially in Italy, where it has been downloaded dozens of times more than in other countries. Moreover, in Italy it has been supported by an important popularization campaign (which has also involved a famous museum such as the Museo di Novecento in Milan), and this has certainly contributed to spread a new cultural sensibility on these issues. Perhaps it is no coincidence that since last year it has become increasingly common to come across Italian museums interested in developing projects, albeit small, within these themes.
6. How did you evaluate the project’s impact?
We evaluated it both in qualitative and quantitative terms. In qualitative terms above all in the form of a prototype and subsequently above all from a quantitative point of view.
Almost 100 people attended the launch event organized at the Museo del Novecento in Milan. coming not only from Lombardy, but also from Piedmont, Veneto and Trentino, plus 15 international participants who gave very positive feedback. Since its launch last year until today, the antistereotype kit has been downloaded worldwide by over 2000 people. The attention towards this tool was immediately very high and we have already been asked to share it as an example of effective design for training in different relevant university contexts such as the School of Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage in Rome and the Week of Excellence in Macerata. Other primary and secondary schools have also asked us for ad hoc training on these issues.
Despite the time elapsed the interest for this tool remains high, which is why we would like to think we can implement in the future both the kit itself and new opportunities for comparison.
7. Is there anything else would you like to share?
The Toolkit was first presented on October 17, 2019 during the panel “Museums & Stereoytpes. Una conversazione su musei e pregiudizi” (A Conversation on Museums and Prejudices) at the Museo del Novecento in Milan, involving international speakers and providing a range of different perspectives and experiences in the field.