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Nina Simon

  • What I do, where I work

  • I am the Executive Director of The Museum of Art & History @ McPherson Center in Santa Cruz, California. We are working to become a thriving, central gathering place for our community around art, history, ideas, and culture—a “museum 2.0.”

    From 2008-2011, I ran a design firm called Museum 2.0 that worked with cultural institutions worldwide on audience participation. I also maintain the Museum 2.0 blog, focusing on ways that museums can integrate social networks, user-focused design, and etc. into our institutions.

  • Current position

  • Executive Director at The Museum of Art & History

Earlier positions

  • scary radar earth science electrical engineering thingy at NASA

  • Curator at The Tech Museum of Innovation

  • Experience Development Specialist at International Spy Museum

  • all-around deck hand at Acton Science Discovery Museum

  • educational stuff at Boston Museum of Science

Website(s)

  • More about me

  • I live in the mountains off the grid and love building tree houses and ziplines that are definitely not safe enough for museums (or some museum practitioners). Come visit.

Recent publications & presentations

  • The Participatory Museum

    March 2010

  • "Discourse in the Blogosphere: What Museums Can Learn from Web 2.0."   Museums and Social Issues

    Fall 2007

  • Advice: Give it, Get it, Flip it, Fxxk it

    Advice: Give it, Get it, Flip it, Fxxk it

    Case Study

    by Nina Simon Published June 16 2009

    This exhibition was produced as a class project in a course on Social Technology in the UW Museology program. I challenged the students to create an exhibition with one goal, "get strangers to talk to each other." There was no content or artifact...

  • The Tech Virtual Test Zone

    The Tech Virtual Test Zone

    Case Study

    by Nina Simon Published June 26 2008

    The Tech Virtual Test Zone is the physical proving ground for The Tech Museum's new exhibit development process (detailed below in the process section). The specific goals for the exhibition were: --to create an exhibition of 5-10 interactive...

  • Reflexive Architecture (in Second Life)

    Reflexive Architecture (in Second Life)

    Case Study

    by Nina Simon Published February 16 2008

    I've been involved in several temporary exhibits, but this was the most unique installation I've ever managed. I approached an artist, made a proposal, and three weeks later he was installing exhibits at our institution for free. Not only that, but...

  • Museum of Unnatural History

    Museum of Unnatural History

    Review

    by Nina Simon Published December 17 2010

    I'm on a personal quest to visit all the 826 tutoring centers in the U.S. From the Time Travel Mart (LA) to Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., these quirky storefronts showcase smart design and offbeat humor in the service of a truly impressive slate of...

  • Digiark

    Digiark

    Review

    by Nina Simon Published August 19 2010

    This is a review of the Digiark gallery, not the specific exhibition currently on display. I first posted a version of this on the Museum 2.0 blog here: http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/08/take-seat-beautiful-casual-areas-at.html The Digiark...

  • Explora

    Explora

    Review

    by Nina Simon Published April 01 2010

    I love science centers. My first jobs were in science and children's museums. Where other adults cringe at the noise and insanity of your average whizzing, banging, zooming center, I (usually) revel in it. But science centers also frustrate me. They...

  • Brazos Valley African American Museum

    Brazos Valley African American Museum

    Review

    by Nina Simon Published March 18 2010

    This is a review of a very small museum called the Brazos Valley African American Museum. I was fortunate enough to visit it during the Texas Association of Museums conference, and it brought up thoughts and emotions that I wanted to share in this...

  • The Power of Children

    The Power of Children

    Review

    by Nina Simon Published May 12 2009

    In April, I sat in a half-empty classroom in the middle of the day with an actor and a bunch of visitors and cried. I was in a children's museum. I wasn't injured. I'm not imbalanced. The Power of Children exhibition is just that good. I visited...

  • The Psychedelic Experience

    The Psychedelic Experience

    Review

    by Nina Simon Published April 13 2009

    This is a love letter to an exhibit, written in patchouli ink across the back of an old Janis Joplin record. In March 2009, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) opened a new temporary exhibition called The Psychedelic Experience, featuring rock posters from San...

  • Rotten Luck: The Decaying Dice of Ricky Jay

    Rotten Luck: The Decaying Dice of Ricky Jay

    Review

    by Nina Simon Published April 26 2007

    The Museum of Jurassic Technology in L.A. (www.mjt.org) is one of my favorite museums. It's quirky, confounding, and exquisitely strange--and that strangeness captures my imagination in a way that more typical exhibits and presentation styles...

  • Paint a Bug!

    Paint a Bug!

    Bit

    by Nina Simon on March 18, 2010

    Loved this simple element in a small children's museum in Brazos Valley, Texas. An old VW bug and a whole bunch of paints. Apparently they scrape it every few months - it's been used for this purpose...

  • A really friendly way to tell people not to touch things in an exhibit

    A really friendly way to tell people not to touch things in an exhibit

    Bit

    by Nina Simon on February 11, 2011

    From the Maira Kalman show at the Skirball. Apparently she bought a bunch of shoes from the thrift store and painted these while the exhibition was being installed.

  • How NOT to Design Flip Labels

    How NOT to Design Flip Labels

    Bit

    by Nina Simon on September 13, 2010

    Oh, Yosemite Visitor Center. You have committed the sin of using flip labels to convey false interactivity while making it harder for people to enjoy the content. Here is an image of three sisters...

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