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American Alliance of Museums Releases TrendsWatch, A Look At the Future of Museums

Category: Press Release

For Immediate Release

Arlington, VA – March 19, 2019 – Trust in government, media, academia, industry, and even nonprofit organizations is at an all-time low. Given these declines, how can nonprofits in general, and museums in particular, remain among the most trusted sources of information. How can museums, which are rated as extremely trustworthy by the general public, build upon this trust? How can they help society re-establish a common framework for telling fact from fiction?

This is one of several challenges facing museums, as articulated in TrendsWatch 2019, a publication of the American Alliance of Museums.

The other trends explored by the report are:

  • Blockchain
    In the past year there has been an explosion of experimental applications of blockchain, including refugee aid, educational credentialing, and provenance tracking. Because blockchain tech has the potential to transform major sectors—including finance, real estate, trade, shipping, and education—it’s important that museum leaders understand what the technology is and how it may impact their communities.
  • Decolonization
    Museums can help us deal with the dark side of history, not just emotionally and personally, but in a way that helps us build a just and equitable society despite our legacy of theft and violence.
  • Housing Insecurity
    How can cultural nonprofits play a bigger role in finding a solution? And while society collectively works to solve this wicked problem, how can cultural nonprofits ensure that people experiencing housing insecurity can exercise their social and cultural rights?
  • Self-care
    In the face of rising stress and stretched resources, it is more important than ever for individuals and institutions to recognize the need for setting aside time and resources for restorative practice.

TrendsWatch is  the Alliance’s annual forecasting report, exploring important cultural, technological, economic, environmental, and policy trends identified by the Alliance’s Center for the Future of Museums (CFM). Widely regarded as a key resource for the museum field, the eighth edition of TrendsWatch is available for download online (free for members of the Alliance, and $10 for non-members (

Last year’s edition of this report, TrendsWatch 2018, shared four scenarios of potential futures to inform museum planning:

  • Our Bright Future: Idealists and pragmatists work together to build a sustainable world
  • Fragmentation: Underground activists fight for equity, privacy, and economic reform
  • A New Equilibrium: Making the best of a world that’s a lot like today only more so (To explore an early version of this scenario, download Museum 2040, a special issue of Museum magazine.)
  • Wild Times: In which social service nonprofits save the day

TrendsWatch 2018 is available for download at no charge.

To book a keynote, lecture, or workshop about this report and how to use scenarios in museum planning, submit an inquiry through Alliance Advisors.

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 35,000 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


Press Contact:

David Harrison
Harrison Communications

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