Closing date for Applicants is JULY 15thI’m Project Coordinator for Museomix UK, the only global Museomix happening in the UK and the only one that’s in English (4 locations in France, 1 in Quebec and us). The concept is not easy to explain as it’s an experience, not an event (although I tend to use both words).MuseomixUK will take place in Ironbridge (Shropshire, West Midlands) – the idea is it’s home of the Industrial Revolution and we’re trying to take things into the next revolution. I also wanted a location outside London, Birmingham, Manchester to prove that any museum could use maker communities to push things to a different level.The concept is this:3 days for different communities to come together to create:- An open museum with a place for everyone- A living lab museum that evolves with its users- a networked museum in touch with its communitiesBasically, we use the museum as a sandbox for people to create/remix a museum the way THEY want to do it.
A few months ago, I heard about We Are Museums, a 2-day event for professionals of culture and innovation being organized in Vilinus Lithuania by Diane Drubay, founder of Buzzeum based in Paris. I signed up to go immediately and then checked on the map to see where I was going.
All I really knew about We are Museums was Diane was bringing together diverse speakers to share ‘the same passion about art, innovation and culture, like all the dots which form a nebula, the image we chose to embody the conference’.
We are Museums did that and more.
The conference was more than just speakers – We are Museums arranged for lots of fringe and activities to give everyone the opportunity to network – not just sit and listen.
While every speaker added value to the conference, the following were my takeaways:Tags: Conference, International, museums
June 2nd, 2013Culture
A while ago, I was commissioned to write an opinion piece discussing the use of mobile technology and social media in the museum environment and how, if implemented correctly can develop audiences of all ages by Ian Clappison. It was an extremely time senstive piece and I didn’t fully commit to getting it done which was a good thing, as 3 months later – ta da!
Elephant in the Room – is it rude to use a smartphone when at an art gallery or museum?
My answer: No.
Smartphones are the best invention ever. Ok, maybe a bit of a strong statement but it has transformed the way so many of us live and work. They have also changed the way we interact with the museum environment.
And that’s a good thing!Tags: museums, smartphones, social media
Straight after MuseumNext, I had to fly to Lisbon for a project. By the time I got home from travelling for 10 days, all the Takeway and items I was going to talk about have been covered (and much more eloquently than I would have done!):
- Oonagh Murphy Museum Next 2013
- Claire Ross Museum Next
- Tony Butler A few reflections on social and tech innovation #museumnext 2013
- Andrew Lewis Ideas from Museumnext 2013
- Museumnext Collaborative document
- MuseumNext Tumblr of slides and more
If you’re like me, you probably missed the Welcome note from Jim. In it, he describes the challenges he faced from his first MuseumNext 5 years ago. Even with having a heavy hitter like Nina Simon the interest wasn’t there. But soon it went International with the first brave delegate from the Netherlands.
And it has grown and grown ever since.Tags: amsterdam, Culture, digital, International, MuseumNext, museums
A few weeks ago (actually, this topic seems to creep up once or twice a year) I asked on Twitter whether it was the curators’ responsibility to embrace social media and other digital technology within their roles or should it be left to the department to which these roles already exist. There were a lot of interesting replies:
Curators already have too much on their plate. They have had to adjust from a history background to working with a business model. Curators are also traditionalists - this new fangle technology isn’t going to last (eg – it has to prove itself to curators).
Yes, they need to move with the times. Curators should translate collections and digital helps that translation. Social media and other digital apps help curators with that translation so they need to use it.
From this, Kelvin De Veth agreed to write this Guest Blogs with his thoughts on the subject.
Role of a Modern Day Curator in a Digital World
It may be a bit early to give the 21st century a name, but so far it definitely seems to be the digital century. You can’t walk across Times Square or through the Louvre without bumping into crowds of people taking out their phones and iPads to take a picture and upload it to their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Museums, showcasing past and present societies, will inevitably be influenced by this advancement in technology. The curator, in particular, will be affected by these changes. His/her profession has become much more accessible to the general audience, resulting in an explosion of “Twitter curators”, “Pinterest curators”, and so on. I don’t want to go into a discussion about what a curator is or should be, but this development will without a doubt have its effects on the curators working in museums, and their relationship with the digital world.
In my modest research and conversations with curators, I have found two major, and almost completely opposite, approaches to the challenges and opportunities created by advancing technologies.
These are a group of curators who aim to make their exhibitions as innovative as possible, both in content and exhibition design. Translating and presenting the meaning of a certain history can become much more accessible to the visitor via digital media. The audience can become more involved and interact with exhibitions before or after entering the physical space. Thanks to digital media, they don’t even need to visit anymore to get the basic gist of the show.
I have heard some great ideas for interpretation, such as using social media profiles to tailor the interpretation to the visitors’ interests and existing knowledge. It may still be a while until technology allows this, though.
Traditionalists are more wary about implementing digital media in exhibitions. There is a fear that by being too focused on the digital, it will alienate the segment of the audience that is not tech savvy. On top of that, the added pressure of staying up-to-date with all recent technological development and incorporating these into exhibitions can be too demanding on the curator—especially for curators who aren’t immersed in the tech world to begin with. One can wonder how much a focus on the tech side will actually benefit the exhibition content.
These seem to be the two main camps that divide the curatorial world at the moment, and there is no real consensus about to what extent the integration of technology in exhibitions is the responsibility of the curator. We need more time to see to what extent it is beneficial, but in the meantime it will be interesting to hear what the readers of this blog think.
What are your thoughts? Should curators embrace digital/social media or should that be left for ‘others’?
There have been a few fabulous and very detailed post on Museum on the Web which I’m not going to try and compete with. Instead, after being home for a few weeks (and finally getting over jet lag) these are the items that still are prominent with me.
Facebook killed 25% of the website
While in the Tate web assessment session, we were asked to come up with a profile of an average visitor to a website. Originally we had a personal website but soon realized the profile required a more established website and as Guggenheim was within our group, they were duly elected. Read the rest of this entry »Tags: Conference, International, museums, mw2013, USA
While in Philadelphia I was invited to visit Chemistry Heritage Foundation as my sister Darlene Cavalier, who runs Sci Starter, had a meeting there. I went but must admit, I wasn’t looking forward to it (I can say that now that I’m 3500 miles away again).
A museum on chemistry? Really? It just sounded like watching paint dry. Even when I walked in I remember saying ‘well this isn’t going to take me long…’
Boy was I ever wrong!
Chemistry Heritage Foundation (CHF) has turned into one of my favourite museums on so many different levels. Read the rest of this entry »Tags: museums, Philadelphia, review, science, USA
Yesterday, I was invited to do just that at the American History Museum Tweetup that took place as part of #musesocial discussion online (Twitter).
Ten of us were privileged to this experience this week and I can honestly say it was a day I will never forget.Tags: #musesocial, curator, curator talk, smithsonian, USA
I’ve been trying to figure out how best to share my findings from the Denmark Museum Conference. There was so much insight over the 3 days, with the added bonus of having a tour of a few museums which included curators talk.
Full Storify here of all the tweets used with the tag #paatvaers
Tags: denmark, International, museomix, outreach
March 24th, 2013Culture
I recently attended the preview of V&A’s extremely popular David Bowie Is exhibition. I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of David Bowie. The one minor link is his work with Jim Henson on Labyrinth and I like the song Under Pressure. Other than that, he was just a character with a cult following I never really grasp.
Top tip: Take the Headphones!
After your ticket is checked, you are offered a headset. Take it! This is not your normal audio guide with punching in numbers. The V&A digital team has used RFID technology throughout the exhibition to automatically launch the appropriate information, song, interviews, etc depending on where you are in the gallery. This was brilliant as it meant I didn’t have to go up to the display and locate the audio guide symbol and number, nor did I have to punch the number in. This raised the exhibition to a different level for me as I found myself staying longer in areas to finish listening to what was being shared.Tags: #davidbowieis, David Bowie, digital, London, Museum, V&A