Fiero! Museums as Happiness Engineers

Think about the museum of the future. What do you see?

No matter what image came to mind, I bet one emotion stood out: the museum made you happy. The museum of the future isn’t some far-off new space — it’s an opportunity awaiting museums here and now. And it starts with one goal: making visitors happy.

In 2009, Jane McGonigal — a leading game developer and researcher — delivered a lecture at the AAM’s Center for the Future of Museums. She discussed how museum experiences should be like games: happiness-generating experiences that give visitors a way to meaningful way to contribute to society. Her ideas are as relevant now as they were then, and point the way for museums looking to reinvigorate their programs, inspire visitors, and become community centers known for visitor happiness.

We’ve summarized her ideas in the slides below. Read on to find out why becoming happiness engineers can unlock the enormous potential of museums for social change.

Download the PDF version of these slides.

Fiero! Museums as Happiness Engineers” is a lecture by Jane McGonigal given at Washington, D.C.’s Newseum as a presentation by AAM’s Center for the Future of Museums in 2009. Jane McGonigal, PhD is a world-renowned designer of alternate reality games that are designed to improve real lives and solve real problems.

Find out about our consulting work with museums, or send us an email to find out more about how we can help your institution with audience development.

Originally published at on March 21, 2016.

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