Sunday, April 01, 2007


Is there any good reason why museums shouldn't blog?

I suppose like if an institution is totally shady and is going to be lying all over their blog and be generally dishonest and/or not transparent, then no. Or even if there is shady practice (and certain well known institutions spring to mind after my course on Law and Ethics), engaging in a discussion of it would be really interesting.

I can't really think of any other good reasons though. Help me out. I mean, I acknowledge that I have a small (HUGE MASSIVE) researcher bias, and I'm trying to balance it.

List. Lists are friends:
- blogging might be passe in 1, 5, 10 years (but how many museums produced freaking laserdiscs, and blogging is way cheaper than that)
- potential to bring negative attention to the museum (if your bloggers are mean, dishonest, not open to conversation, or just oblivious)
- potential to leak information (should be some blanket policy in effect anyway about donor/NAGPRA/general information which is not public)
- potential to alienate older/non-tech savvy people (I don't really buy this one despite just making it up. Besides this is way outweighed by accessibility, younger people's involvement, and potential community building, IMHO (I'm not much for internet slang, and that one always makes me think of IHOP))
- The internet could blow up. But museum blogging would be the least of our problems then, eh?

Nothing really compelling there, nothing that can't be easily outweighed. There's gotta be something.....

PS: My abstract got accepted to Rethinking Museums. So I'll be part of a panel on Museums and Technology. I hope you're coming! I have insider info that online registration ought to be available next week, probably early in the week. Major props to the women putting this together (okay, there might be some men involved, but you are so outnumbered dudes) and doing it in such a compressed time frame. You rock!

PPS: Today, while exploring the great Northwest and taking (most of) a day away from my thesis...

I was totally INSIDE of a tree. Photographic Evidence Here.

That's a tree. I was standing inside of it. It was an awesome experience, in the awe-inspiring sense of the word. That expression on my face is one of being awed and excited. I'm telling everyone, including all you nice museum professionals. (The tree in question is located along the River Loop path at the Newhalem Visitor's Center in the North Cascades State Park, WA.)

1 comment:

Nina Simon said...


Here are some reasons my museum doesn't blog:
--it takes time and therefore money.
--we would have to decide what to blog about (espionage in general? spy museum events? opinions on espionage news?) and who would do it (our historian? our director? our educators?)
--we'd have to wade through the morass of IT/content people turf wars to set it up
--we offer a heavily branded experience; it would have to fit our brand
--it would have to serve our mission of educating visitors about espionage and, let's be honest, selling tickets.

Not that any of these are insurmountable. We overcame all of this to start a very successful podcast, SpyCast, which has about 1000 steady subscribers and over 20,000 listeners over the last six months. But, like most museums, our educator resources are maxed out and there has to be a compelling push for something like this to happen.