What do Peer Networks Mean for New Member Acquisition?

Peer-to-peer marketing. Referral marketing. Network marketing. You’ve probably come across these terms as they’ve made their way into every industry and have lots of clear benefits for nonprofits like museums and cultural organizations. But, just what do they mean?

Cuseum Partners With Pioneers & MAK to Celebrate Klimt with Augmented Reality

Using augmented reality, Klimt’s iconic masterpiece “The Tree of Life” will be brought to life for the enjoyment of Pioneers attendees in celebration of Viennese modernism and on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of death of Gustav Klimt.

3 Reasons Mobile Wallet Is The Best Place For Your Digital Membership Cards

If you’re reading this, you’re likely considering introducing digital membership cards to your organization and members or maybe you’re just interested in digital tools. Digital membership cards offer a great way to help reduce the costs associated with membership processing, including: card production, shipping, staff labor, direct mail, or promotional/renewal materials.

Cuseum & Pérez Art Museum Miami Bring Exhibition to Life Using Augmented Reality

Augmented reality, the combination of real and computer-generated worlds viewed through your phone, is popping up wherever you look; in social media, advertising, games, etc! As a new, powerful tool for artistic creation and an innovative method of audience engagement, AR has the potential to revolutionize the way we experience art, and it was only a matter of time before AR entered the museum space. Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) has been at the forefront of the movement to bring AR into museums, and in December 2017, in partnership with Cuseum, they launched the first art exhibit using Apple’s ARKit.

How Your Organization Can Go Green With Digital Membership Cards

When you think about the push to be eco-friendly and how you can help, what comes to mind? Using fewer to-go cups? Opting for paper over plastic grocery bags? Turning the lights off when you leave the room? You may never have considered your organization’s membership cards when you think of things that could be greener! But when it comes to the environment, every little bit counts, and switching out your plastic or paper membership cards for something with no environmental impact will not only save your organization time and money, it’s also great for the Earth!

Museum Education in the “Age of the Internet”

As museums continue to embrace digital tools to enhance their exhibits and visitor experiences, we’re grateful to take part in the never-ending dialogue and sharing of best practices around technology in the museum. How do we use technology effectively? How do we make sure that it complements the exhibit? And, sometimes most critically, can we afford it? We headed over to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum to take part in the Greater Boston Museum Educators Roundtable conversation on the topic.

Cuseum’s 2017 Year in Review

2017 has been a year of exciting ideas, innovation, and creation! As we approach the final days of the year, it’s nice to take a look back at some of our favorite moments and remember all that we’ve achieved while looking forward to where we’ll go from here. Thanks for being a part of this journey! Here are a few highlights from this past year:

7 Things Your Museum or Nonprofit Needs to Know About Gen Z

Who is Generation Z? The next generation in line to rule the world, Gen Z is comprised of those born after 1998, the eldest of which are finishing up high school or entering college. We’ve compiled a list of 7 things that will help your organization better understand this new generation.

Cuseum CEO shares forecast on Artificial Intelligence in "Museum Practice”

Cuseum’s CEO was recently quoted in the Museum Practice article “Using AI to Understand Audiences.” Ciecko forecasts his view on how artificial intelligence will impact audience development and fundraising in the museum, nonprofit, and cultural sector.

New Revenue Streams for Museums in the Digital Age?


These days, art lovers have a growing number of options when it comes to viewing art or even building their personal collections. But for a quicker alternative to negotiating with dealers, or navigating the frenzy of traditional and digital auction houses, consumers can leisurely shop or stream from online galleries of digital works.

Marketplaces like Sedition feature digital versions of art available for download with strong focus on contemporary works.


Image: Examples of pieces & formats available at

Sedition has secured partnerships with many contemporary art museums like The Broad, Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Stedelijk Museum, ICA London, MACBA, and also features work from household name artists like Damien Hirst, Yoko Ono, Shepard Fairey, and Jenny Holzer.

Startups like Electric Objects (update: shutdown in June 2017), Depict, and Meural offer still and moving images in a slick platform that grounds an interactive display in a familiar format: a wooden frame.


Electric Objects has collaborations with Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New Museum, Museum of the Moving Image, the New York Public Library showing that museums and cultural institutions are exploring.

But with all of these marketplaces and screens for digital art and seemingly impressive partnerships in place, are there opportunities for new revenues streams for museums?

We asked a few #musetech thought-leaders for their take on this topic.

Will the cultural “consumer,” art lover, and casual museum-goer alike pay to buy digital reproductions of museum content for their devices and digital frames?

“I think this is unlikely, given the current market,” says Koven Smith, Director of Digital Adaptation at the Blanton Museum of Art. “The price point is high enough that the kind of person likely to want this is also likely to want higher “quality" and probably more “unique” work than these startups can usually afford to get with their partnerships.”

Critics agree that the combination of a disposable income and a taste for digital files seems unlikely, and are skeptical that the model will provide any sizable revenue streams for most institutions. Sales trends from Electric Objects in 2015 suggest that when it comes to digital art content, consumer tastes lean more towards GIFs and post-internet genres.

“Does anyone really want a monitor screen on their wall?” questions Ben Vickers, Curator of Digital at Serpentine Galleries in London. “My sense is that there will be a big shift when we get the equivalent of e-paper for canvas,” with a nod to the aluminum-mounted Giclee prints of Francis Bacon’s Q5 at Serpentine. “But, is there really a market?” he asks. “I think this is highly questionable.” 

What is the impact of a museum’s decision to license its collection to an online marketplace? Will it benefit museums? 

Referencing trends in Europe and the UK, Vickers cites a “deep drive coming from state funders and audience research to adopt/adapt” to these digital platforms. “The bottom is falling out on funding streams; add to this, that corporations are insisting on getting more and more from their ‘partnerships’.”

“As a result,” he explains, “museums are increasingly desperate to find new funding sources. If ‘tech land’ can guarantee workable models that offer reasonable deals for new revenue streams, [revenue from digital content] could very much happen.”

“I’m pretty skeptical about these platforms,” says Smith. “I don’t see this as a likely revenue stream for museums, particularly since most [museums] are headed more towards a free-use model as far as their digital assets are concerned.”

“I’m skeptical as to the likelihood that these platforms could become significant revenue streams for museums,” says Smith. “That said, I could imagine them being a wonderful way to spread content into new domains, the way that the Google Art Project has done by making museum content available on Chromecast. I think this kind of distribution is more likely based on a free-use approach rather than a subscription-only or other paid model. Then again, I didn’t think the New York Times’ paywall would work either, so who knows?”

But, in the end, it all might come back to what matters most.

“I strongly support art on as many interfaces as possible,” says Neal Stimler, Third Party Partnerships Producer at The Met. “We’re moving away from only one place to look at art. Works of art change and how we interact with them changes. Experiences with artworks move between and beyond any one place or platform.”

Stimler’s bottom line stresses the importance of accessibility to artworks whether they are encountered on digital displays or museum gallery walls: “A work of art is something that is made to be shared with the world.”

One of the optimal ways for museums to provide access to collections today is directly on the public’s own digital devices and displays.

What’s your forecast for the future of art collecting, streaming digital art to your own devices, and new revenues streams for museums? Let us know!

Museums that act like startups: An Interview with Amy Heibel

Back in August, we launched a blog series to explore the innovative mindsets and methods that museums embrace that resemble startups and technology companies. Today we bring you our conversation with Amy Heibel, VP of Technology, Web and Digital Media at LACMA.

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