The Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center

Today is Tuesday, October 16: Open 10am-8pm
Directions & Admission

Learn More about the MAH Model

The MAH’s work is local, but our vision is global. We believe in bringing people together to build community, whether in museums, libraries, theaters, parks, churches, or something else entirely. We are inspired by colleagues around the world who are also working to build stronger, more connected communities–and we want to help.


How to Make a Pop Up Museum (PDF) by MAH staff
Business Model Case Study of the MAH (PDF) by Mark Robinson for Arts Marketing Association (UK)
The Art of Relevance (book) by Nina Simon
Museum 2.0 (blog) by Nina Simon


We offer onsite training at the MAH to immerse you in our model for community participation and help you develop skills, tools, and approaches that will work in your own context.

In 2018, we are offering our first-ever Community Participation Bootcamp. This two-day training will be led by Nina Simon, MAH executive director. You will learn the theory and practice of how to open your organization to robust community participation. Topics include community-first programming, getting to know your community, social bridging/bonding theory, identifying community assets and needs, developing participatory processes and products, and empowering community partners at your site. While we will tour some of the MAH’s participatory programs and exhibitions, this workshop is not museum-centric. We welcome professionals from diverse community/civic/cultural sites. Find out more about this Community Participation Bootcamp and register now.

The MAH also hosts MuseumCamp, an annual 3-day summer professional retreat. The retreat includes direct program experience, workshops on community engagement, fellowship, leadership development, and plenty of fun. After five years of an open application process, the 2018 MuseumCamp will be a “reunion” offered to former Camp alumni first. If you are a former Camper and would like to register, you can do so now.


Visit us in Santa Cruz and see our work first-hand. You can visit on your own anytime, but if you want a richer experience, we offer:

  • 1-hour personal tour of the facility with a MAH staff member relevant to your work ($100)
  • 4-hour immersion, including a personal tour, private meeting with the executive director, and shadowing of a program or staff meeting ($500)



Are you looking for a focused workshop at your site, or another form of learning about the MAH model? Please contact us with your needs to learn more.