re-imagining museums

Photo by _Robert_C_

Photo by _Robert C_

Museums are changing.

That is, the smart ones are.

Museums are getting involved in social media, just as many corporations and brands are: some of them brilliantly, some less so, as we all stumble up the learning curve and discover that online communities are not just another place for an “e-blast,” an impersonal press release, or an automated newsfeed.

So yes, museums are using the tools of the internet to reach audiences old and new, to build their brands, to raise awareness of their programs, collections, and exhibitions. For a look at how museums are using microblogging tools like Twitter, take a look at Beth Kanter’s recent interview of Amy Fox, otherwise known as @museumtweets.

But a few of them are taking that extra step, and playing around with the implications of social media — exploring community-driven content, collective intelligence, crowd-sourcing, and more — and integrating it into what they do and why they do it.

Take a look at what Nina Simon is doing over at Museum 2.0.

And don’t miss Seb Chan’s work at Fresh + New(er) in Sydney, Australia.

And be sure to notice what Jake Barton is doing over at Local Projects.  You’ll recognize some of his projects, and, if you’re at all like me, wonder with barely concealed impatience and excitement as to what he’ll do next.  Wildly creative projects.

I’m starting to frame some research around this phenomenon, as part of my MBA program at the Simmons School of Management in Boston, so I’ll have quite a bit more to say on the subject over the months to come.

In the meantime, if you’re in the Boston area, and want to help get my research started, why not join me for an hour’s conversation about museums and Web 2.0?

I’m running two informal focus groups this coming Thursday and Saturday.  Details are below.  What do you think about museums, technology, community?  What can a museum be?  What should it be?

Thursday, October 23
6:30 – 7:30 pm
Room W-205
Main College Building
Simmons College
300 Fenway
Boston MA

Thursday Focus Group RSVP:


Saturday, October 25
1:00 ­ – 2:00 pm
Room W-205
Main College Building
Simmons College
300 Fenway
Boston MA

Saturday Focus Group RSVP:


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