Michigan State University

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MSU Museum Reveals New Look and Purpose

Beginning September 2022, the MSU Museum is pleased to introduce a new five-year strategic plan and the launch of a new Museum division focused on innovation and experimentation. The MSU Museum has been an important resource to the Michigan State University community for over 165 years. Since 1857, the Museum had been collecting objects and creating exhibitions that reflect our shared histories and experiences. However, we believe a university museum can and should be so much more. That is why the MSU Museum is shifting from serving as a repository of knowledge to a catalyst for teaching, learning, and research, and a vital collaboratory for student and faculty success.

Today, the purpose of the MSU Museum is changing to become an innovative and experimental informal learning space that exists to catalyze creativity. A space where the Museum’s communities can openly explore, express, and experiment with ideas across disciplines and interests, and indulge their natural curiosity about the world. Now, we can work collaboratively, creatively, and equitably to solve problems and pursue a better world for all.

This bold interdisciplinary vision is reflected in the Museum’s new mission and five-year strategic plan. Designed to align with the MSU 2030 Strategic Plan and the MSU Arts Strategy, the Museum’s comprehensive plan was created at a pivotal turning point for Michigan State University and museums worldwide. Specifically, the ongoing pandemic upended traditional business models as well as the ways audiences engage with museum exhibitions and educational programming.

  • Through this five-year plan, the Museum seeks to drive impact in the following ways:
    Students: Inspiring young adults to explore the world in a different way and to create something new. Enabling them to be agents for positive change through co-curricular, extra-curricular, and experiential learning.
  • Faculty: Collaborating with our academic community to bring research and ideas to life in exciting and relevant ways.
  • Community: Encouraging collaboration on campus and beyond to create new ways of constructing and solving problems, breaking paradigms, and shifting mindsets.
  • Excellence: Producing thought-leadership and serving as an example for the innovative new ways an academic museum serves its communities.

“We are excited to reposition the Museum as an interdisciplinary space where people can openly explore, express, and experiment with ideas across disciplines and interests, and indulge their natural curiosity about the world,” said Devon Akmon, MSU Museum director.

In addition to a new mission, strategic plan, and visual identity that expresses the revitalized brand, the Museum is pleased to introduce a new innovative laboratory called the CoLab Studio. Building on the acclaimed work of its predecessor, MSU’s Science Gallery, the Studio’s timely and relevant programs will be novel, transient, and experimental. This approach enables the MSU Museum team to explore new methods for designing and implementing programming, informal learning, and community engagement. Findings from our work enables the MSU Museum to capitalize on new ways to engage students, faculty, and researchers as it works to maximize its mission. To this end, the CoLab Studio helps to push the boundaries of what it means to be a 21st century interdisciplinary museum.

Welcome to the new MSU Museum: A Creative Collaboratory!