Museum Membership Innovation

Museum Membership InnovationUnlocking Ideas for Audience Engagement and Sustainable Revenue 

Cultural organizations are entering an era of significant challenges. Rising operating costs, unpredictable funding sources, stagnant membership, and an increasingly competitive landscape for leisure activities indicate that these institutions have reached a critical juncture: what has worked for them in the past will not work going forward. At the same time, massive shifts in demographics and lifestyles are driving changes in consumer behavior that threaten the survival of the traditional membership business model. 

Drawing from a wide range of research spanning the disciplines of behavioral economics, philanthropy, and social psychology, author and museum consultant Rosie Siemer explores the trends shaping the future of cultural organizations and offers innovative strategies designed to help them survive—and thrive—in today’s rapidly changing marketplace. Using museums as the primary subject matter of her research, Siemer analyzes the challenges and opportunities for membership as a means of engaging existing members, cultivating new audiences, and keeping museums on track for sustainable revenue.

Tapping into the principles of design thinking and the lean startup methodology, Siemer provides a fresh perspective into how museum leaders can adapt systems, roles, and metrics to encourage experimentation, collaboration, and agility within their organizations. “Change is required for museums to keep ahead of the curve and remain competitive,” Siemer writes. “Thankfully, the time for taking steps to evolve has never been better. New research, bold experiments, and pioneering leaders have helped to usher in an era of fresh thinking that challenges the status quo of the traditional membership model.” 

Loaded with thought-provoking insights, innovative case studies, and practical applications for audience development, marketing, and membership, Museum Membership Innovation offers museum leaders a framework for reimagining membership with an empathy-first approach that prioritizes the needs of audiences.

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The title of the book refers to membership. But it’s so much more than membership. This is the only book I’m aware of that touches on every part of the visitor journey at a museum; it’s the most comprehensive audience engagement resource available…I cannot underestimate the necessity of this book for anyone in the museum field.

Kristin Prestegaard, Chief Engagement Officer, Minneapolis Institute of Art

A thoroughly researched and comprehensive look at the current challenges facing museum membership programs. Siemer is clear that there is no one solution but provides an essential tool kit for membership professionals and museum leaders to reimagine and reinvent business models for engaging audiences in the 21st century.
— Aidan Vega, Director of Membership, Philadelphia Museum of Art
We need to find a way forward in membership. Rosie provides practical steps and lots of tangible examples to get you started. You’ve gotta read this book!
— Megan Bernard, Assistant Director of Membership, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Siemer’s book adds a critical intellectual lens to practical aspects of membership, validating and extending many incipient ideas museum professionals in the field have, while also offering important considerations on how the field is changing. This book can have wide-ranging impact on the ways that museums allocate money and staffing and in turn impact our visitors.
— Seema Rao, Principal, Brilliant Idea Studio, LLC
"Thought-provoking and timely. This book made me see ideas for membership in a different light."
John Lewis, Director of Guest Operations, Zoo New England 
A fascinating read and loaded with actionable insights.
— Carrie Glassburn, Assistant Cultural Director for Communications, Parker Arts

The research and ideas presented in this book are what every membership manager should be talking about to prepare their institution for the changing landscape of our industry.
— Sarah Owens, Membership Manager, Exploratorium

Incredibly relevant, timely and right in line with what everyone in membership and marketing needs to hear right now.
— Claire McKee, Membership and Events Manager, Mingei International Museum