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TrendsWatch 2017: Report Helps Museums Prepare for Change in US and Worldwide

Category: Press Release


March 6, 2017

TrendsWatch 2017 (cover)ARLINGTON, VA–Today the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) released TrendsWatch 2017, an annual report that summarizes museum trends identified through research conducted by the Center for the Future of Museums (CFM). Widely regarded as a key resource for the museum field, the sixth edition of TrendsWatch is free to the public and available for download online.

“The year 2017 may well be shaped as strongly by events as it is by trends,” said CFM Founding Director Elizabeth Merritt. “For example, you can’t read about mass migration without reflecting on how the Greek economic crisis, military and terrorist actions by the Islamic State, and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union have and will influence the movement of people across the world. Even small actions can create huge ripple effects through time.”

The 2017 trends include:

  • A Mile in My Shoes: closing the empathy deficit
  • Let Justice Roll Down: the next horizon of civil rights
  • The Rise of the Intelligent Machine
  • Reshaping the World: migration, refugees, and forced displacement
  • Failing Toward Success: the ascendance of agile design

TrendsWatch 2017 is brimming with museum examples of these trends:

  • The Empathy Museum in the United Kingdom lets visitors literally walk a mile in another person’s shoes while listening to an audio narrative of that person’s life.
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) introduced a “failure-friendly” approach to project management that included rapid iteration and direct public engagement throughout the design process.
  • In Williamstown, MA, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institutepartnered with the juvenile court system to offer an alternative sentencing program for high school students that included group meetings with writing and self-awareness exercises, gallery talks, and the use of art as a catalyst for examining their lives and their potential.
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TrendsWatch 2017 is made possible with generous support from BlackbaudHuntington T. BlockPGAV Destinations, and Solid Light.

About the Center for the Future of Museums

The Center for the Future of Museums (CFM) is an initiative of the American Alliance of Museums.  CFM helps museums shape a better tomorrow by exploring cultural, technological, political and economic trends of importance to museums; equips museums to help their communities address the challenges of coming decades; and builds connections between museums and other sectors.

About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 30,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit


Media Contact:

Joseph Klem
Director, Public Relations
American Alliance of Museums

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