From Closed Silos to Collaborative Networks: Digital Impacts on Museums

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Starts with results of an informal poll conducted among museum technology professionals at MCN 2011. Continues with 4 more in-depth case studies: the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), Tate, MoMA, and the Walker Art Center (WAC). What are the impacts of digital publishing on organizational structures, workflows, and institutional voice? Presented in Rotterdam at DISH 2011.

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From Closed Silos to Collaborative Networks: Digital Impacts on Museums

  1. 1. From Closed Silos to CollaborativeNetworks: Digital Impacts on Museums 7) %0 </, & , & 9$"**: B C 97& G& 10 90 /& 9$"**: ; ) </+0 "<#=& 4#D& - <H#H, 3 , <+& ; ) </+0 "<#=& >$"? /+& , 9, <+, $& >$"? /+& , ( , #3 @ & *A ( , #3 @ & *A 9"=, /+0 G& = "<*& J 0 +"$& *0 - . 6, $0 </, & , G& I , *") $/, &G& E<"$3 #+0 "<& >) D=/& 0 - <+, $6$0 & *, 7//, **& >#$+0 6#+0 /0 "<& 9, <+, $& 9, <+, $& 9$"**: 9$"**: ; ) </+0 "<#=& 9$, #+0 & 1, & E +) +0 <*+0 "<#= & ; ) </+0 "<#=& >$"? /+& , >$"%) /+0 "<& F) 66" $+& >$"? /+& ,Peter Samis ( , #3 @ & *A 9, <+, $& 9, <+, $& ( , #3 @ & *AAssociate CuratorInterpretive Media 4, #%, $*506& - . , /) +0 & 1, - . , /) +0 & 1, 7%10 *"$8&& ( , #3 &San Francisco Museum 2 0 /+"$& $, ( , #3 & &of Modern Art ! " #$%& ( $) *+, , *& "& !DISH 2011 Rotterdam, NL December 7, 2011
  2. 2. Let‘s DISH: ―Rapid digitisation is the defining trend in today‘s society. The public expects their institutions to be as active on the Internet as they are.‖ ―How do you equip yourself for these new roles, that demand new functions and new competencies in your organisation?‖ -from the DISH 2011 Call for Entries
  3. 3. And equally importantly: How do we use the digital as an agent of change in how we relate to our publics? Multiplying modes, venues, voices…
  4. 4. The Conversation began a while ago… 1984 Early digital storytelling tool…
  5. 5. And it has expanded & accelerated ever since.
  6. 6. We conducted an un-scientific survey.Attendees at the Museum Computer Network conference:• Museum director• Web Editor• Exhibit Developer• IT Systems Analyst• Curator• Marketing & Communications Officer• Education• New Media Initiatives• Visitor Services• Publications Associate
  7. 7. Question: Do you see digital publishing platformschanging the organization’s structure?• Pool of content creators has increased dramatically.• New kinds of workflows, less hierarchies.• New functional organisation, new positions, new relationships between departments (more intensive collaboration, publication planning on a longer term, trend of digital content co-production).• The way we conceive of transmitting information has changed.• The need for dedicated digital content staff is apparent and overdue.• and…
  8. 8. Question: Do you see digital publishing platformschanging the organization’s structure? ―Not sure it will happen, but there is a lot of pressure.”
  9. 9. Question: If multiple departments self-publish, what arethe impacts, if any, on institutional voice?• It is appropriately diverse.• Quality of content & writing is impacted…• Not sure I believe in ‗institutional voice‘. I don‘t think this is important anymore. So I think the impact is that this concept itself is going away.• Subject matter is often at odds with institutional goals.• What institutional voice? (That was a joke.)
  10. 10. Question: Do you see digital media as a democratizingforce in your organization? If so, how?• Yes, digital media is less controlled by curators and is deeper rooted in the organization.• It certainly broadens the pool of people who get to be custodians of the Museum‘s mission…• Yes, relatively young, junior staff are taking on more responsibility for being the institution‘s voice and our audiences are also part of our brand now.• Yes, in that younger staff members who are not part of the curatorial staff have a way to contribute stories and content via the blog or social media, whereas 10 years ago these staff would have had no voice.
  11. 11. Case Studies
  12. 12. A partial Timeline2005: Building renovated/technology refresh.2007: Website relaunch.2009: IMA Lab founded.2010: Website re-relaunch, with a difference:Designed & built in-house.2010: New Division of Research, Technology,& Engagement under Rob Stein
  13. 13. What do these thingshave in common?
  14. 14. An emphasis onResearch.
  15. 15. An emphasis onResearch.Objective #3 in their new StrategicPlan:Establish the IMA as a research leaderamong its peers in the areas of arthistory, conservation science,information science, and visitorstudies.
  16. 16. An emphasis onResearch.Goal #4:• Become an organization where models for evaluation are conceived, implemented, and shared• Commit to long-term evaluation & the analysis of results as part of routine planning processes
  17. 17. The Education Dept.has been renamedAudience Engagement.“We’re in the process of defining whatthat means.” –Rob Stein But it will be data-driven.
  18. 18. ―It‘s not digital strategy;it‘s just strategy.” –Rob Stein
  19. 19. Emphasis on Conversational Engagement: • Free-choice learning • Intrinsic motivation • Critical thinking • Epiphanies How do you measure an epiphany?
  20. 20. Wrestling with the Perceived Authorityof the museum in the minds of thevisitors.“Authoritative” Authoritarian= we have expertise and = demanding respect withoutare willing to share it earning it
  21. 21. Tate Photo by chaoticzee, Creative Commons license
  22. 22. 4 physical sites & 19 million unique webvisitors/year
  23. 23. “Broadcasting the Museum”
  24. 24. Leonardo Live in 40 cinemas around the country “We need to be where the people are.” –Jane Burton Director, Tate Media
  25. 25. ―Be everywhere all the time—and ideally, free toeveryone.‖ Sponsored & commissioned—not internallyfunded. • Legacy Trust • Bloomberg • SkyTV • Channel 4 • BBC • Even BP Additional revenue through Tate Enterprise, digital catalogues, freemium apps & games
  26. 26. ―The Artist is core.”• The Physical• The Virtual• The Artist
  27. 27. Curators are becoming more activecollaborators.―Their voices are present in the debatealong with the artists, along with othercultural commentators, along withmuseum visitors and experts in their ownfields.‖In the Gallery • On the telly • Online • In the Appspace • At the cinema • In people’s lives, everywhere
  28. 28. Two more early adopters changing stripes:
  29. 29. ―If you want to be relevant right now, youhave a conversation.‖ -Allegra Burnette, MoMA
  30. 30. ―If you want to be relevant right now, youhave a conversation.‖
  31. 31. ―If you want to be relevant right now, youhave a conversation.‖
  32. 32. Meanwhile, at the Walker Art Center inMinneapolis, the museum as newspaper.
  33. 33. Also a Video Channel:
  34. 34. And a Re-org: WALKER ART CENTER Director Chief of Audience Engagement Chief of Operations and Chief of Finance and and Communications, Curator of Chief Curator Administration Development Design and Architecture Director, Education and Director, Senior Curator, Chief Financial Officer Community Programs Human Resources Performing Arts Director, Marketing and Director, Curator, Director, Public Relations Merchandising Film/Video Annual Fund Director, Director, Director, Special Projects Facility Rentals Registrar New Media Initiatives Fundraising Director, Design Director Librarian Information Technology Director, Director, Building Operations Program Services Assistant Director, Visitor Services Updated March, 2010
  35. 35. Now for something completely different: • Education & New Media report to new chief • New Journalist-Editor mentors curators • Builds their comfort contributing to Web • Online voices multiplied
  36. 36. http://www.changecycle.com
  37. 37. © Oakland Museum of California & Gail Anderson
  38. 38. Thank you.

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