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Cities, Museums and Soft Power

By Gail Lord and Ngaire Blankenberg, Washington, American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Press, 2015, 272 pages, ISBN 9781941963036

In Cities, Museums and Soft Power, respected museum planners Gail Lord and Ngaire Blankenberg demonstrate why and how museums and cities are using their soft power to address some of the most important issues of our time. Soft power is the exercise of influence through attraction, persuasion and agenda-setting rather than military or economic coercion.

Fourteen of the world's leading museum and cultural experts explore examples from six continents of the many facets of soft power in museums: how they amplify civic discourse, accelerate cultural change, and contribute to contextual intelligence among the great diversity of city dwellers, visitors and policy-makers. The authors urge city governments to embrace museums which so often are the signifiers of their cities, increasing real estate values while attracting investment, tourists and creative workers.

Blankenberg and Lord describe 32 practical strategies for museums and cities to activate soft power. This book is for museum professionals and trustees who seek to create relevant institutions, and for urbanists and city planners who want thriving and sustainable cities in the future. In his Preface, Richard Florida pointed out the museums potential: "Museums are some of the most visited attractions on earth. They are education centres, employers and magnets for creative industries. But museums have so much more potential that the authors envision 32 ways for museums to activate their soft power. Cities will never be the same. And I bet that once they read this book urbanists will pay attention to museums - maybe even embrace them".

For more information please visit: www.aam-us.org