Museum Sage increases visitor engagement, viewer empowerment, personal growth, and social connection. 


Your museum can host self-guided Museum Sage experiences for your visitors.


  • Self-Directed Experiences: You can offer visitors a web app so they can use their cell phone to play Museum Sage with their friends, family, book group, colleagues, or even on a first date.

  • Staff-Hosted Tours: Your volunteer staff can host a daily, weekly, or monthly tour-like gathering for visitors. Docents explain the Museum Sage process, make sure visitors can find the app in their cell phone’s web browser, send them off in groups, and convene them at the end to share stories, observations, and insights.

  • Special Events:
    PARTY NIGHT – Make your museum party a memorable event.
    EXHIBIT OPENING – Add excitement to your exhibit opening by offering your visitors a fresh, inclusive experience.
    SPECIAL GROUPS – Expand community outreach to special groups such as young adults, K-12 teachers, community-based organizations, corporations, and other special-interest groups.
    DONOR EVENT – Engage the minds and spirits of your major donors as a thank-you for their generosity. Show them how their gifts are being used to engage a museum visitor in a personal conversation with art or history.


  • Use of the Museum Sage process in your museum year round.

  • Use of the Museum Sage web app, which lets visitors guide their friends. Your museum gets a unique password.

  • Training for your volunteer staff via cell phone video chat.

  • Training materials.

  • Ongoing support for your docents by Museum Sage staff.

  • Marketing materials: posters, animations, etc.

“By tying in personal questions, the art piece becomes intricately connected to the speaker’s internal dialog. The participant feels, ‘here is part of me, something I’ve been puzzling about, now it’s in concrete form.’ Forever more, they ‘own’ the discussed art object because of that direct, personal, connection.”
— Mary Lewis, Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) Trainer
“The [Museum Sage] experience offers a new, exciting, and eye-opening way to appreciate and connect with the artwork of a museum. Our patrons walked away from our PEM/PM party night with thoughtful answers and deeper connections to the collection.”
— Doneeca Thurston, Adult Programs Coordinator, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem MA
“On the invitation of Beth Merritt at AAM’s Center for the Future of Museums, I was blindfolded at the Phillips Collection by the Guide collective, [Museum Sage]. These lovely Midwesterners have found a way to make museums personal. Astounding. I haven’t enjoyed myself more in a museum in a very long time.”
— Mary Case, Qm2 museum management consultants


VISITOR ENGAGEMENT: Museum Sage creates a strong emotional connection between your visitor and their museum object. Museum Sage gives younger museum-goers the kind of highly interactive experience they now expect.

VIEWER EMPOWERMENT: Museum Sage can help museum visitors feel less intimidated by art, history, or by the museum in general. Participants don’t need any particular knowledge of art to use Museum Sage.

SOCIAL CONNECTION: Museum Sage is a great opportunity for participants to connect with their date, their spouse, their co-workers, their school group, their friends, or people they don’t know yet.

PERSONAL GROWTH: This isn’t just a way to get museum-goers to look at art and historical objects. Museum Sage develops mindfulness by using non-visual senses to explore the museum. And Museum Sage participants walk away with real insights that address their personal problems and opportunities.


Museum Sage [formerly called Art-o-mancy] was one of 20 organizations cited in the American Alliance of Museum's annual forecasting publication, TrendsWatch 2015:

"A group of museum enthusiasts has created 'Art-o-mancy,' an activity that turns any museum into a “personal oracle.” Participants formulate a serious question related to their life, then are led through the museum by a guide. When they feel inspired to stop, their guide helps them explore how whatever they are looking at sheds light on their inquiry. Museum Sage has been conducted at the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Phillips Collection, among others.”

From the chapter 'It’s Personal: one size does not fit all.' Published by the American Alliance of Museums


Laurie Phillips introducing a life-changing audience engagement game called Museum Sage, at the New England Museum Association 2016 conference, where she was one of four keynote speakers.

Smithsonian Tweet about MSE.png

Twitter comment from SmithsonianAffiliate, Nov. 9, 2016


Comments from museum visitors who have experienced Museum Sage:

"This type of healing modality was quite beneficial for myself and obviously had tremendous positive impact on others within our small group. Our medical, mental health, and whatever therapies can only do so much, where healing modalities such as Museum Sage can put finishing touches on our journeys.” — Steven  

"Inspiration speaks to us in so many ways, and with Museum Sage I’ve discovered a new way. It was deep, timely and answered more questions than I brought with me. Doing it in a group deepened the experience and I learned every bit as much from the others' experience as I did from my own." — Anne 

“My group experienced four areas of Chinese/Japanese art pieces which now have found their way into our hearts.” — Alan



  • de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA

  • Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

  • High Museum, Atlanta, GA

  • Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA

  • Portland Museum, Portland, ME

  • Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN

  • Brick Store Museum, Kennebunk, ME

  • Museum of Russian Icons, Clinton, MA

  • St. Louis Museum of Art, St. Louis, MO

  • Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria, BC, Canada