Bio-Inspired Museum
— in collaboration with the Biomimicry Academy
The next generation of museums will be a bioinspired living system which is integrated into his environment and community.
From September 2019 to May 2020, We Are Museums and the Biomimicry Academy held a 9-months research-project to identify how museums could be transformed to connect with their communities and neighbours better, inspired by Nature.
We Are Museums and the Biomimicry Academy wants to think museums with a new perspective. Museums are safe and livable places where transformation is the heartbeat of the provided experiences. Creating living spaces where everyone can feel free to learn, share, think or act is an essential milestone when it comes to building sustainable communities. By facilitating new connections and productions and creating a unique network, new communities-based biodiversity is created. The richness, a modern museum's community, lies in its randomness.
I felt strongly a large museum with a huge garden where city dwellers can be connected to nature.
— Meskerem Assegued, Director of the Zoma Contemporary Art Center (ZCAC), Ethiopia
How can museums be inspired by Life's Principles to envision new relations with visitors?
Research conducted by Diane Drubay on the social applications of Life's principles and biomimicry thinking on museum models and practices.
The research uses the approach of permeability as a source of inspiration to create such a multi-cultural, multi-purpose, and multi-function museum ecosystem by looking at it on three levels: a macro level based on morphism and openness, a systemic level inspired by porosity and infiltration, and a meso level with the importance of redundancy and diversity.

by Diane Drubay
The natural water cycle never ends and, so do museums. Transformation is fully-part of our lives, and museums are now ready to evolve and start their cycle inspired by Nature.
How can museums become part of the local ecosystem and nurture a symbiotic relationship with their visitors?
Research conducted by Silvia Solís (Architect / Costa Rica), Hanna Hoch (Designer / United States) and Natasha Nathan (Architect / Malaysia) during their studies at the Biomimicry Academy.
The aim of the student's research is to demonstrate how to foster symbiotic relationships between museums and their neighbors and local communities through bio-inspired innovation to create a 'living museum ecosystem'. Their project specifically focuses on Biomimicry for Social innovation in the frame of Museums. How can we apply nature's intelligence to human society, to change the way we grow our museums and lead the organization, to transform our culture and achieve social sustainability.
The team started by understanding the state of museums today and analysed the key stakeholders' core strengths and challenges to aknowledge the operating model of the museum ecosystem. Then, through the research of various organisms and ecosystems, the team identified trees and mycelium (fungi) and their mutualistic relationship as a promising natural solution.

The team demonstrated how the characteristics and functions of this relationship in the forest ecosystem can act as a guide for museums and their neighbors within the social ecosystem. By following natural systems' structures, museums and neighbors can learn to connect and co-create to improve the efficiency and quality of communication, and together create a more resilient museumhood.

Co-authors: Silvia Solís, Hanna Hoch, and Natasha Nathan. Credits: We Are Museums and Biomimicry Academy Germany.
Social ecosystems exist at every level of society, from global to local, and like the tree and mycelium in the forest ecosystem, the focus of this project is on individual relationships between two parties, museums and neighbourhoods/communities (these terms are used interchangeably). Following the model of energy conversion and transfer in the mycorrhizal relationship, the Social Ecosystem Graphic demonstrates the transformation and exchange of energy between museums and neighbors in the form of ideas and information.
Co-authors: Silvia Solís, Hanna Hoch, and Natasha Nathan. Credits: We Are Museums and Biomimicry Academy Germany.
When a museum develops or receives ideas and information in any form (artifacts, artwork, cultural practices, knowledge, specimens, etc.), teams working at or with the museum have to decide where and how to approach this information. Influenced by internal and external forces, the result is a transformed version of the information. These new and transformed ideas and information from the museum are exchanged with the ideas and information from the neighborhood via exhibits, events, online, workshops, word-of-mouth, and various other formats. But, neither the neighborhood nor the museum would exist without the people, who both facilitate the exchange of information and ideas, and give value to the information and the social constructs of museums, neighbourhoods and communities.
This research has been conducted with the support of:
Alexander Debono (Mentor, Museum Thinker and Culture Strategist, Malta), Diane Drubay (Main Mentor and Founder of We Are Museums, France), Fabian Feutlinske (Mentor and Business Lead of Biomimicry Academy, Germany), Paul Hoffman (Mentor and Operation Lead of Biomimicry Academy, Germany) and Asha Singhal (Mentor, Executive Design Lead at Biomimicry Frontiers, Canada)
by Silvia Solís, Hanna Hoch and Natasha Nathan
by Silvia Solís, Hanna Hoch and Natasha Nathan

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