Embrace controversy

Are you afraid to confront difficult subjects? Do you desire to be a facility that is considered current, necessary and moving? Maybe you need to tackle topical subjects where there are varying opinions. Relevance in the community may require you to embrace controversy .

A museum opened in Hong Kong last week that is clearly unafraid to confront difficult past events. Dedicated to showcasing the media industry this is the first museum of its kind in Asia. Called News-Expo, they do not shy away from politically sensitive news, with articles on the Chinese 1967 riots, the Tiananmen Square crackdown of 1989, and the Occupy movement of 2014. One intent is to to prompt discussion and show how major news events were covered by different Hong Kong media,. One clear outcome is the demonstration of the importance of the free flow of information as a cornerstone of Hong Kong’s success.

Hopefully, they will cultivate the same popularity that the Newseum has done since 2008 in Washington, D.C. Considered one of the most interactive museums in the world and the “must-see” attraction in Washington, D.C., it has positioned itself as a leading champion of free expression in the world today.

Two aspirational things jumped out at me when I looked over the Newseum website that would be positive for all heritage facilities. They claim that a visit to the Newseum is a conversation-inspiring experience you won’t find anywhere else. They claim that the Newseum’s unique approach to history, civics and media literacy helps students cultivate the skills needed to make informed decisions in a divided and demanding world.

These two laudatory goals should be part of your interpretive strategy. Cultivating worthwhile people skills and stimulating conversation through experiential interpretive design is something all facilities should be aiming to attain.

Their free online learning platform reaches more than 11 million teachers and students around the world. How do they accomplish this? Why not investigate NewseumED ?

Hong Kong P.S. To piggyback on last week’s climate topic, Hong Kong does not shy away from controversy as it also happens to be home to the world’s first Museum of Climate Change in 2003 that helps citizens engage themselves in (http://www.mocc.cuhk.edu.hk/en-gb/about-us) :

  • carbon-reducing action through an online self-monitoring platform.

  • competitive multimedia games allowing them to become green lifestyle winners.

  • student ambassador recruitment and green leader training that advocates for climate action