Hacking the Museum

We recently ran into Nick Gray, the founder of Museum Hack, at MuseumIdeas, and asked him to tell us about his passion-based storytelling.


How do you foster a culture of innovation in your organization?

We are still a pretty young company, and our tour guides are our lifeblood. They have the freedom to talk about what makes them passionate inside the Museum.

Our renegade private museum tours don’t have a set route or agenda. Instead, we encourage our guides to pick what pieces speak to them. What crazy stories and amazing art interests you?

The guides have really diverse backgrounds: educators, actors, scientists, comedians - and they all bring their own spice to the mix. We use their skills in many different ways. From being panelists in talks about changing museum culture, on consulting projects, and finding the sexiest butts on display at the Met… The diversity and awesomeness of our team is what pushes us forward and helps us innovate. 

Where do you go for inspiration?

New York City is a great place for technology, theater, arts, and entertainment. We often attend other walking tours or up-and-coming tourist attractions to keep a pulse on what customers enjoy.

But for the best inspiration, we go to museums! New York City is home to many awesome museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Brooklyn Museum.

Tell us one thing you do each day to stay motivated/motivate others?

Talking to our customers and interacting with people in the museum is amazingly rewarding. I don’t do it nearly as much as I should, but I know our private museum tour guides get a lot of fulfillment from that in-person experience. Making magic in the galleries.

What’s your first memory of a cultural experience?

Going to the Louvre in high school. I was jetlagged and tired and fell asleep in the lobby.

Nick Gray, Louvre. Courtesy of MuseumHack.

Nick Gray, Louvre. Courtesy of MuseumHack.


What is the next big thing for museums and cultural attractions?

We are interested in the future of entertainment and education in the live experience. With a plethora of at-home options for learning and entertainment like Netflix and Khan Academy and apps, Museum Hack believes that consumers will crave and pay for the amazing moments that you can only get in-person.


- author