The California Networks for Collaboration (CNfC) is a multi-year project of the California Association of Museums that is directed in collaboration with 13 other statewide partner organizations.

Project Overview
To help realize the California Networks for Collaboration project and the networked, collaborative partnerships that are at the heart of it, a framework organizes the project’s scope into four distinct phases: 

Continuum for Collaborative Learning


Phase 1: Discovery 

In 2013, the CNfC applied a systematic approach to discover institutional needs through crowdsourcing and identified the most important critical issue facing the California museum field–– Connecting with People: Engagement and Accessibility. (This leading issue is the focus for all following phases.) For the Final Report on Phase 1, click here; for the Phase 1 Executive Summary, click here

Phase 2: Exploration 
In 2015, the CNfC brought “Learning Collaboratives” or study groups together to establish a baseline understanding and best practices for engagement and accessibility. For the Final Report on Phase 2, click here, or read more below.

Phase 3: Research 
In the near future, the CNfC envisions undertaking a statewide action research project that seeks new knowledge to inform the museum field’s understanding of access and engagement, particularly for those communities who do not visit museums. 

Phase 4: Co-Creation 
In the final phase of the project, innovation teams will self-organize around a single identified critical issue related to the work accomplished across this continuum’s previous phases. 

Key Findings for CNfC Phase 2: Exploration
In Phase 2: Exploration, the California Networks for Collaboration offered professional development opportunities to museum professionals and cultural sector colleagues across 12 regions throughout the state. In almost every region, three unique Learning Collaboratives–– or what might be more readily recognized as study groups–– were offered over a six-month period, from July–December 2015. The Learning Collaborative participants came together in a “blended” learning experience (i.e. both in-person and on-line) with the following programmatic offerings:
Monthly in-person meetings
Recommended resources and activities curated by national experts
A field trip to a local museum to explore a case study 
Online discussions in between meetings
Monthly webinars with content experts

Each study topic stemmed from the most important critical issue facing the California museum field (identified in Phase 1: Discovery)–– Connecting with People: Engagement and Accessibility:

  • Accessibility Learning Collaborative : Participants worked together to gain sensitivity and practical tools to intentionally design for diverse audiences’ experiences inside and outside of the museum. 



Listen to statewide participants reflect on their key learnings in this panel discussion, here.

  • Audience Research Learning Collaborative: Participants joined together to learn how to think “evaluatively” in designing small, practical audience research studies to collect meaningful data. 



Listen to statewide participants reflect on their key learnings in this panel discussion,
here. 

  • Engagement Strategies Learning Collaborative: Participants came together to deepen shared insights and practices to effectively align institutional goals and directly engage the communities they serve. 


Listen to statewide participants reflect on their key learnings in this panel discussion, here.

In conclusion of their studies, Learning Collaborative participants documented their key learnings in final knowledge products with the hope that museum colleagues near and far might apply these most poignant takeaways and recommendations to their own practices. You may access and download these knowledge products here.

If you believe that you may be interested in learning more about the CNfC Phase 2: Exploration in more detail, please follow this decision tree to see if the final report is for you:

Has this decision tree piqued your interest!? You are welcome to download CNfC Phase 2: Exploration final report here.

For more information and background about the California Networks for Collaboration project overall, here is a list of additional documents ready for download:  


For questions or further information about the CNfC project, please contact:

Emily Todd
Administrative Coordinator, California Association of Museums
admin@calmuseums.org 
831/471.9970x101


This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant number MG-10-14-0010-14, and with the generous support of all CNfC partner organizations: