The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently announced its 2012-2016 Strategic Plan, which includes some key challenges for museums as we move firmly into the second decade of the 21st century.
Here is my favorite quote from the Center for the Future of Museums post about the new IMLS plan:
On how museums of the future might need to be different in order to meet the needs of their communities
Museums and libraries for many years were seen as repositories for information, for content, for objects, for paintings, and as places to go and experience things in a very non-interactive way. Now we’re in a world where it’s much more about your own experience of the information, the object or the art. I think the staff in museums has to be ready and willing to accept the role of facilitator of the individual or visitor experience. In a way, it’s giving something up—you don’t control the experience anymore. You try to make it useful and helpful but also flexible so that the visitor can really get what they want out of the experience not what you want them to have. It’s being willing to really walk in the visitor’s shoes and create experiences that are meaningful to them and allow them the opportunity to develop their own understanding and their own skills.