Museum Hack Will Help Shake Up Your Stuffy Institution


Do you represent a museum or other notoriously stiff-collared institution? Do you ever wish for something to make your client’s consumer experience a bit more…dynamic?

Meet Museum Hack, a group founded by hardcore museum lovers to help others learn to better appreciate the considerable wonders on offer at New York’s best-known galleries. These hackers don’t just direct tourists and locals alike to pieces they might have missed–they also turn museum trips into corporate team building events for local companies.

As longtime museum-goers, we were curious–so we asked founder Nick Gray a few questions about his passion project.

We think you’ll agree that Museum Hack provides us with a great example of how to do things a little differently.

What inspired you to create this project?

Museum Hack loves the Met and the American Museum of Natural History–they’re two of the most historic and beautiful institutions in NYC. Yet we found that our friends rarely visited these awesome museums. There’s this idea, especially at the Met, that it’s a tourists-only destination, or a place you only go when your parents are in town.

Our Museum Hack tours show the “cool New Yorker” and “hip tourist” that museums are awesome–especially if you have the right people showing you the things no one else sees on their own. So we started giving tours with a new bent — first for our friends, and now as a business.

Also: we officially launched Museum Hack tours at the American Museum of Natural History on April 6th!


Lions and tigers and cool guided tours

Have you received positive media coverage?

When Museum Hack first launched, Laura Neilson from the WSJ wrote this excellent piece about us. So far, this article has been my favorite, but if Al Roker and Today want to attend a tour and have an interview, my opinion may change.

What kind of response have you received from the museums themselves? Any cease and desist orders?

No, the Met has been very receptive to Museum Hack tours.

What sort of relationship do you have with the PR and/or marketing departments of these institutions?

Museum Hack is not affiliated or endorsed by the museums; we are an outside entity that does these tours on our own volition.

We do the tours because we LOVE the institutions, and we know there are supporters inside both museums for what we’re doing. But we do not seek out or solicit permission for what we do. (It’s called “Museum Hack,” after all.)

I would imagine that the PR and media relations departments support us in as much as we’re bringing a new audience into their museum that they might have trouble reaching otherwise.

What’s your favorite little-known New York museum fact?

At the American Museum of Natural History, I think a HUGE thing people don’t recognize is that the fossils halls are set up like an evolutionary tree, allowing you to walk the path of 500 million years of awesome change and amazing adaptations–one of the many things you’ll learn on a Museum Hack tour.

What do we think? Could the Museum Hack idea take root with stuffier clients? And wouldn’t you like to attend a team building exercise managed by a Brontosaurus?

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.