Jennifer Foley

Bio: I'm an art historian by training with a doctorate in Southeast Asian art history. I've taught kindergarten to college, worked in grantmaking at the community and federal levels, been involved with community outreach and arts organizations in cities on the East Coast and Midwest, and gained a black belt in public programming. In the middle I spent several years training in social science research methods for educational research and evaluation. In 2007 I found my true home in art museum interpretation and education. Art, people, programs, making, thinking, conversing, learning, researching, evaluating, and communing. Art museum interpretation is where it's at.

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2 thoughts on “About

  1. Dear Jennifer,

    Thanks for your blog post about your experiences with design thinking. I’m very curious to learn more, and sorry to hear that the workshop(s) you attended were less-than-satisfying and that the ideas generated in the Ideate phase were not prototyped, tested, and implemented.

    I’m curious to know what conference presentation you attended in which graduate students showed proposed museum projects developed via the design thinking process? And also curious to know where the workshops were that you mention? In the workshops I lead, we always build and test ideas with visitors, and the staff leave trained to continue with the process.

    I run the blog Design Thinking for Museums (www.designthinkingformuseums.net), and I’ve been working with museums around the country on implementing design thinking strategies in projects ranging from digital strategy to exhibition redesigns. Many ideas generated through the design thinking process have been prototyped, tested, and iterated in the museums I collaborate with, and you can read about some of them in a recent paper I co-authored with the Getty and Queensland Museum at the 2014 Museums and the Web conference:

    I’d love to hear more about your in-house experiences trying design thinking, and what you think museums can do to move from ideas to action and implementation.


    Dana Mitroff Silvers
    twitter: @dmitroff


    • Hi, Dana,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s a bit of an evolving process for us at this point, and I haven’t given up on the potential that I saw in going through at least the first few steps of the process. At the moment we’re looking at a number of ways to structure our collaborative processes, but I foresee giving design thinking (including the prototyping, testing, and implementation phases) another try. Going through part of the process really highlighted for me the need to have a plan for taking it to the end of the process (which is the part that takes more time and needs to be structured into a more long term work plan), and not have it fall off the radar.

      The graduate student presentation was a thesis presentation rather than a conference presentation. They used the museum as their research subject.

      Perhaps we can connect at one of the museum conferences!



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