Try This


Throughout the book, we encourage you to Try This. These are low or no-cost ideas that can push you and your organization towards a more creative practice. The book just couldn’t hold all the great ideas we wanted to share, and what’s more, now that the book is published, new approaches from in and outside the museum field continue to make their way into our own idea files. We’ll be posting new Try This suggestions here on a regular basis and hope that you’ll use the comments section to let us know how they worked or to share a Try This of your own.

Take a Passion Inventory

Try taking an informal inventory of the things your staff, volunteers, and board are passionate about—not focused on the museum, but the passions that really animate their individual lives inside and outside of work. Consider how to highlight those passions for others in the organization and how a greater understanding of those passions might lead to new projects, new thinking, and more creative problem-solving. What would such an inventory look like? Here are some ideas, adapted from a template created by Dr. Susan G. Duffy, Assistant Professor of Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Simmons College.

  • What do your friends and family say you are really good at doing? Don’t know what they would say? Ask them.
  • What kinds of activities feel effortless?
  • What was your favorite toy or game as a child? What emotions does it still stir in you?
  • Take away all your professional reading. What books and magazines do you read for fun? Can you see a trend?
  • If you imagined a perfect day, what would you be doing, where would you be, and who would you be with?
  • Name three jobs that you look at and say: “I would love to do that.”
  • Name three jobs within a museum setting that you look at and say, “I would love to do that.”
  • Describe your most powerful out-of-classroom informal learning experience: who you learned from, what you learned, and why it remains powerful.
  • List the places you volunteer and/or donate funds to.
  • Look at any of the items described above. Can you see a way to connect that passion to the museum you work with? What would you need to make it happen?
  • But passion is not only positive. Sometimes it’s helpful to understand the things that inspire negative passions in us. List three workplace occurrences or situations that inspire negative passion in you.
  • List three items in the world that inspire negative passion in you.
  • Can you change any of these negative passions? How can you put both your positive and negative passions to work to change situations in the workplace or the world? List three simple actions.



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