Can we apply the principles of how the Web operates to the running of our cultural institutions? Nina Simon discussed this idea in a paper and a mini-workshop called Going Analog: Translating Virtual Learnings into Real Institutional Change at the Museums and the Web conference last week.
But now we should be going in the other direction and applying the methods and lessons of the Web and Web 2.0 to the museum itself. How can museums be more like the Web? How can they be open 24/7? How can visitors customize their experiences? How can museums become places to talk with other visitors and sneak into the most interesting drawers and move things around?
In Going Analog, Nina cites a fun example of how museums can behave in a similar way to a wiki. She says: ‘Dick Rijken, a Dutch researcher, wanted to find a way to encourage people to contribute to local historical archives. Rather than setting up a wiki, he erected a stall at a town festival, and cooked and served food based on 17th century recipes that were in the archive. To get fed, visitors had to submit their own recipes’. Rijken came up with a clever way of acting out a metaphor for how the Web operates.
Wikis, hyperlinks, creating your own aggregate site and user-generated content are just some of the tools museums, galleries and libraries can think about when designing public programs and exhibitions. By creating an emotional response to an artwork or object, the participant will be more likely to remember what they experienced and apply it to their everyday lives.