Friday, July 25, 2008

Museum Members Programs and Web 2.0

Have been chatting away with the Manager of Australian Museum Members. They want to dip their toes into the wonderful world of social media. I was going to send them these links by email but thought it better to share them with all. Kate, you will also have to take the plunge and join Facebook to view some of these links!

  • The Canada Science and Technology Corporation have been experimenting with Facebook for membership and feedback as reported at Museums and Web 2008
  • A range of museums reported on their YouTube experiences at the recent Museums and the Web conference and the paper – Beyond Launch, Museum Videos on YouTube - is well worth a read and might give you some ideas about what your intern could do for you
    This paper by Shelley Bernstein from the Brooklyn Museum about their Web 2.0 experiences is a good overview of the state of play as they are by far doing the most in this area
  • Town Hall Gallery – they seem to run their programming via the web using a blog and an active Facebook group
  • Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) – they have a nice Facebook page and the TMAGgots is pretty cool too

Kate, also check out the Australian Museum Eureka Prize fan page – I am (and will continue to) upload sound files to the site of people's experiences which is what you seem to want to do for your events. I can show you how to do this pretty easily, now that my intern Vanessa, worked it all out for us. We are using this as a test case to log the time it takes and also how people actually found out about the site (beyond just mine and Ruth's friend that is!) - so far, so good.

Just sending you that meeting request now...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Educational websites

Barbara Piscitelli was asking me about useful websites for museum and gallery education.


Barbara – you'll see here I selected mostly gallery websites as I know that's your interest.

Online educational resources:

I know this is only a taste – it's a huge web world out there, the trick is to subscribe to a few things rather than a lot. To that end, for those folks who don't already know – we have a large online network called Museum 3.0 with over 240 members. Feel free to sign up and continue these conversations – we're having a discussion about education on there right now! It's the one-stop shop for all things museum and gallery-related.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Exhibitions about pets

This question from Susan Sedgwick, Historic Houses Trust: Hi Lynda, thank for taking the time to talk with me today. As I mentioned, the Historic Houses Trust is developing an exhibition Tails of the city: Sydney's passion for pets on the history of Sydneysiders and their pets to be shown at the Museum of Sydney from 13 December 2008 until 22 March 2009. Consequently I would be very interested to view any 'Dogs' audience research material that you can share and which might be relevant.

Hi Susan – we did some forward planning research several years ago now for a potential exhibition called It's a dog's life. We found that this topic really polarised audiences – you're either a dog person or you're not. The topic had very strong appeal for dog lovers and hopeful dog owners; then there are those who actively don't like dogs and there are others who are ambivalent. Parents also feared that an exhibition like this would fuel their childrens' interest, increasing pressure to get a dog when they don't understand the big commitment to owning one. Those that were interested had many questions and topic suggestions:

  • What do dogs see?
  • What can they hear?
  • How does their sense of smell work?
  • Explain their strange habits
  • Explore their intelligence and psychology – how do their 'minds' work?
  • Life from a dog's point of view
  • See what they're capable of (working dogs, tricks, behaviour)

Ultimately, for the dog lovers they wanted to explore the human-dog relationship. They expected the overall mood of the exhibition to be light-hearted and humorous as dogs are quite amusing. However, when compared with the other topics we tested (such as ants, deep ocean, bog people) they felt it could give them nothing new, they are very familiar so what could the exhibition bring that was new? Finally, they thought the best thing about dogs is live dogs, so what else could make it exciting?

Susan, you have an interesting conundrum and much food for thought – it is a person's ingoing attitudes to pets that will largely determine their reactions to the exhibition. Personally, I dislike pets intensely and couldn't think of a more boring topic for an exhibition – but then I'm not your target audience (sorry all you pet lovers out there...)! By the way, the National Archives of Australia did a travelling exhibition about working animals called It's a Dog's Life! Animals in the Public Service and they may have done some evaluation on that – don't know who to contact there anymore though.