Apr 17, 2017 Joe Kleiman #67 - Experience Design: Many Faces Many Places, Asia, Attractions, Business, Current Issue, Europe & Middle East, Events, Features, Latin America & Mexico, Museums, North America, Theme Parks, World markets 0
Having recently returned from the IAAPA Leadership Conference in Los Angeles, I’m feeling good about the state of the industry. During the conference, we were taken around to several key attractions in Southern California and heard from a range of qualified and optimistic speakers.
More importantly, though, the event afforded me the opportunity to meet with colleagues and friends. While there is always some uncertainty about the future, it seems there are enough new projects and plans in the works around the world: People seem upbeat.
PICTURED ABOVE: IAAPA Leadership Conference tours Disney California Adventure. Courtesy IAAPA.
As I write this, I am traveling to Dubai where, by the time you read this, IAAPA and the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) will have partnered on a behind-the-scenes mixer coinciding with the DEAL expo. Later in April, it’s back to California where at the Disneyland Resort, TEA will highlight some of the brightest and best at the annual TEA Summit and Thea Awards Gala.
My positive take on the future is validated in the slate of recipients to be honored at TEA’s big weekend. In addition to remembering the influential Peter Chernack and recognizing the achievements of Jeremy Railton (featured in this issue), the awards reflect the creative breadth and geographic range our industry supports.
On one end there’s the House of Eternal Return by Meow Wolf (New Mexico, USA) that transformed an old bowling alley into a surreal trip through artists’ imaginations. On the other is Shanghai Disneyland (Shanghai, China) with its advanced attractions and intricate weaving of Disney stories with Chinese aesthetics.
In the middle are a dozen other awe-inspiring attractions from Europe, North America and Asia. The Theas slate is an intriguing mix of better-known projects and those that deserve to be better known.
A few years ago, the San Diego Museum of Man, a traditional anthropological institution, changed its scope from “the life and history of humankind” to a much broader examination of “the human experience.” Key to this new direction was an extensive public examination of race and racial perceptions.
The multi-year effort this museum undertook to ensure local communities’ concerns were addressed was a topic presented during the California Association of Museums (CAM) annual conference, held in Sacramento March 29-31. Other topics of inclusion examined at CAM included gentrification, hiring the developmentally disabled, and art programs for immigrants and refugees.
These topics are part of a conversation about “soft power” – influencing behavior through persuasion, attraction or agenda setting. Soft power enables museums to step up and foster dialog on key issues for their communities.
Diversity, race, and inclusion are also on the agenda at the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) 2017 Annual Meeting & Museum Expo in St. Louis, May 7-10. As questions loom in Washington, with the NEA, NEH, and IMLS in peril, museums want to harness their soft power to expand their audiences by acting as catalysts for responsible change and discourse.
InPark Editor Judith Rubin will be out and about a lot in April and May. Look for her at the TEA Summit and Thea Awards Gala in Anaheim, or the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) show in St. Louis.
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