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Chicago History Museum Becomes First Museum In America To Crowdsource An Exhibit

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 24, 2013 4:20PM

2013_10_24_historymuseum.jpg Crowdsourcing is all the rage these days and the Chicago History Museum is hopping aboard the speeding bandwagon with relish. The History Museum is asking guests and fans online to come up with an idea a new exhibit—the first museum in the country to seek public opinion in creating an exhibition.

History Museum president Gary Johnson told Crain’s Chicago Business "we thought we'd go straight to Chicago to say 'give us a new assignment.' ”

“We live in an era of crowdsourcing. I don't think museums are taking full advantage of that. We've got plenty of ideas, but you spend a fortune hiring people to help you figure out what people want. We live in a world where we can find out directly what they want.”

The Museum is asking that people with ideas for a future exhibit email for consideration. People may also send their suggestions to NBC Chicago’s Facebook page or via standard mail to:

ATTN: Chicago History Bowl
Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark St.
Chicago, Ill. 60614-6038

Johnson said proposals not related to Chicago or inappropriate for the family-friendly museum will be filtered out and ideas will be accepted through Nov. 3. Overlapping ideas will be combined and the museum will then offer 16 options which will be put to a vote to pare that number to eight, then the final four before choosing the winning idea.

Dewey Blanton, director of strategic communications for the Washington-based American Alliance of Museums, told Crain’s that if the History Museum’s experiment is successful it could pave the way for other museums to follow.