In February 2009, a group of Twin Cities museum area professionals began meeting to explore collaboration among area museums. The exploration was a response to interest in museum collaborations in other cities and whether significant and on-going collaborations among local museums might better serve children and families across the community. Variously named Museums + Museums + Museums, M+M+M, and M++ viewed itself and its purpose as:
a network of museum professionals working together to better understand the contribution of museums in the Twin Cities. We collaborate on museum programs and research that increase visibility, participation, and impact.
Over the next four years, the group explored what a collaboration might look like that would serve large and small museums and the community. The size of the group fluctuated based on topics and individual schedules. Representatives from the American Swedish Institute, The Bakken, Bell Museum, Goldstein Museum of Design, Minnesota History Center, Minnesota Children's Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota Zoo, Science Museum of Minnesota, The Works; from Exhibits Development Group, Northern Lights; as well as independent museum professionals participated. Museum perspectives included those of educators, marketing staff, researchers and evaluators, fundraisers, planners, exhibit staff, and administrators.
The group researched other museum collaboratives, explored possible audience research projects, fielded a study about museum summer camps, and shared its work at the annual Minnesota Association of Museums conference in 2012. Along with these activities, relationships among museum professionals developed and strengthened. Groundwork was laid for more partnerships and new collaborations between museums.
In early 2013, several active participants in M++ proposed wrapping up M++. The summer camps project had been concluded; it was small, but successful and served as a good model for future projects. Still a new project was not able find the active interest and energy among M++ participants that it needed to launch and go. It felt that while the opportunities and potential of a collaborative were still attractive, the reality of demanding jobs in museums limited the extent to which colleagues could take on additional activities.
In the spirit of the collaborative, collegial working group that had formed over four years, an important consideration was valuing the work done and contributions made, and leaning an opening for a possible continuation in the future. The group's efforts, the material completed and gathered by M++, and records of its activities will become part of the Minnesota Association of Museums' archives.
For additional information, please feel free to contact Jeanne Vergeront at email@example.com.