The Art of Relevance

What do the London Science Museum, New World Symphony, and the National Park Service have in common? They are all fighting for relevance in an often indifferent world.  

The Art of Relevance explores how mission-driven organizations can matter more to more people. The book is packed with dozens of inspiring examples, rags-to-relevance case studies, research-based frameworks, and practical advice on how your work can be more vital to your community.

The Art of Relevance was written by best-selling author Nina Simon, rooted in her experience as a museum director and activist for more open, inclusive, effective cultural institutions.

You can read the book for free online here, or purchase it as a paperback, ebook, or audiobook. Here’s Nina sharing some of the key points from the book in her 2016 TEDx talk.



NINA SIMON has been described as a “museum visionary” by Smithsonian Magazine for her community-centered approach to design. She is the Spacemaker and CEO of OF/BY/FOR ALL, a movement to build more inclusive community organizations. From 2011-2019, she was the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, leading a dramatic institutional turnaround. She has consulted with hundreds of international museums, libraries, parks, historic sites, art and cultural centers on issues of relevance, community engagement, and participatory design. Nina is the best-selling author of The Participatory Museum and the popular Museum 2.0 blog. Her work has been shared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NPR, and TEDx. She lives off the grid in the Santa Cruz mountains with nineteen people, twenty-seven chickens, three dogs, and one zipline.



Special thanks to the James Irvine Foundation for financial support of this project, Elise Granata for her incredible design work, and Jon Moscone for writing a powerful preface.