Saturday, March 8, 2008

"So big and exciting and new and scary..."

Musematic's author wrote at length today about an interesting topic, something I've heard once or twice around the table at meetings but not in such detail as presented here. The topic is serious and wide-ranging, and almost always a moving target: how to interact and engage with the public, or how to allow our audiences to engage with our collections: clearly, not a new topic for museums but with the rapid changes in technology, something that is increasingly on everyone's minds.

I think about this all the time: it's the job of any marketing or communications professional to engage an institutions' audiences, and the change in the public's attention span in recent years, coupled with the myriad of ways that audiences want to be engaged, has made this task so much more complicated and challenging (and fun, honestly.)

I don't have any silver bullet answers at the moment, though you never know where inspiration lies or where providence leads us next, but I thought the post was an interesting examination by someone clearly very enmeshed in this debate personally. Read on.


Perian Sully said...

Hey, thanks Tim. It was a jam-packed 5 hours, the discussion dominated by the discussions about the role of museums in public life. Mostly big-picture stuff. Interesting thing is, there's not much difference anymore between big picture and the details when you're talking about this issue and/or education. It's just how you take the big picture and apply it to the day-to-day functions of a museum. It takes some thought to scale effectively.

Mike Rhode said...

I spoke with a curator in Prints and Photos at the Library of Congress last week about their Flickr project. They had a good-size team assigned to putting the pictures up and monitoring responses to them. One thing they did find disappointing was the tagging. As she noted, "blue is not a subject heading we'd use." I'm of two minds about it - if you want blue pictures, well, that's useful, but what I did notice is that most people just repeated the catalogue information or the caption - not so useful.