The Japanese concept of Ikigai has been rolling around the Internet. The graphic describes when you are in the ideal state of being by balancing various states of work, life, meaning, and hope. The concept is either aspirational or depressing depending on your circumstances. The image did get me thinking. The museum has two important types of work: caring & sharing. How can you develop a balance that is ideal for visitor?
How can the idea of the ideal state of being be translated to the work of a museum?
From Exterior to Interior:
This graphic helps show how the ideal museum, one that centers visitors, can balance its many roles and responsibilities. At the farthest edge, there are the core roles of the museums. Its worth noting that Impart was a term that I agonized over. Impart can sound negative, but I couldn’t quite think of a word that included: Teach, Share, Communicate, and Instruct. Learn might be surprising as well, as you might see it as a visitor function. But, truthfully, good museums are constantly learning from visitor evaluation, tech workflow improvements, and object research.
The next tier, moving inward, are the modes that roles are implemented.
The next tier is why the museum uses those modes. Notice this tier moves from nouns to verbs. The museum ideally does something to elicit a reaction in the visitor.
Finally, the best museum experience is multi-faceted, drawn from the core competencies of the museum, but mounted in ways that are focused on the visitor.