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Trend Setter: Trend Hunter Spots Rainworks: June 23, 2011

Museum Social Enterprises

Rainworks Omnimedia Supports Clean Water and Literacy Programs

by: Tiana Reid

Reposted from:

It’s a common argument that many traditional museums aren’t progressive and that they fail to capture people’s attention, especially in the digital age. Rainworks Omnimedia, a Chicago-based social enterprise museum, is unlike your typical age-old museum on many levels. By producing traveling museum exhibitions for natural history and science museums, Rainworks Omnimedia harnesses technology, multimedia and intriguing narratives in order to engage museum-goers of all ages and interests.

Founded by Gail Vida Hamburg, Rainworks Omnimedia brings together a plethora of writers, academics, illustrators, researchers, historians and academics to create complex and invigorating traveling exhibitions. The 2011 programming schedule includes the following absorbingly titled exhibitions: ‘Brave New World: On Technology and Trends,’ ‘Glam: The History of Beauty,’ ‘Pure Elegance: The Wonder of Mathematics’ and ‘Economia: Money Matters… The Exhibition of Personal Finance.’

As the only social enterprise in the museum industry, Rainworks Omnimedia gives a portion of after-tax, post-sustainabiltiy proceeds to clean water and girls literacy programs in less-industrialized countries. Founder and CEO Gail Vida Hamburg had been a social entrepreneur since the late 1980s—she started a clothing line handwoven by women in Malaysia, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan—before social entrepreneur even had a name. What’s more, Hamburg started Rainworks Omnimedia as a response to what she calls “the commercialization of museum science education with Hollywood film brands.”

Rainworks Omnimedia is transformative on many levels: as an education tool, as a business model and as a giving inspiration.