Up Close: Roxanne Nelson, AIA, LEED AP

Bio_NelsonR_2037.jpgArts Principal Roxanne Nelson recently presented Resiliency Planning: Preparing to Preserve and Protect at the American Alliance of Museums 2017 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo with HGA colleague Ariane Laxo, LEED AP ID+C. In the following, Nelson highlights three big takeaways from the conference.

Omnichannel Technology

Technology continues to become more integral to the museum experience. A retail term, omnichannel is being used to discuss how to expand the visitor experience. An omnichannel approach means using multiple avenues to engage the visitor—physical location, social media, mobile applications, and web sites. The focus continues to head toward personal devices, such as your own phone, to reach expanded content while at the museum.

Agile Design and Fail Forward

Agile design is the latest term for “design thinking,” a design process developed by the Stanford D School. The process includes using cross-functional teams to iterate and generate design solutions to problems through rapid prototyping. The idea behind rapid prototyping is that each prototype is not precious, so it can either succeed or fail and you can quickly learn from it, change it, and redo the process. An example would be trying to improve visitor flow at the ticketing desk by creating inexpensive mobile units with different configurations. Fail forward is about learning what does not work and changing it, eventually evolving to a successful outcome before investing resources in building a permanent solution.

Sustainability + Resiliency

Sustainability is a continuing topic at museum conferences—whether it is about sustainable collections storage or climate change. Museums are very active in the conversation about the environment.


This brings me to the resiliency session that Ariane Laxo and I led. The session focused on helping museums prioritize and prepare for various risks. Ann Trowbridge, Associate Director of Planning at the Smithsonian Institution, and Pat Hamilton, Director of Global Change Initiatives at the Science Museum of Minnesota, also presented their institution's stories—from planning for flooding to reducing energy usage. At the end of our session, we had an interactive workshop to demonstrate a resiliency evaluation tool that can help institutions start the conversation and prioritize the biggest risks. The tool is really about helping museums successfully manage risk.

Learn more about the resiliency evaluation tool and how campus museums can engage students in resiliency in this video with Roxanne Nelson.


Topics: Arts & Culture, Community, Education


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