Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Will you be my friend?

I've noted a lot of talk in the past months about the internet and the changing meaning of friendship. I haven't actually gotten to reading what people are writing, and once I do, I'll return with a follow up post.

But these are my raw thoughts in their usual semi-coherent form.

I started blogging because one of my friends was doing it, and he was doing it on a site which combines the internet-special idea of "friending" with independent blogging - Livejournal. So I signed up, identified him as my friend, and have, in the intervening four year, accumulated around 50 individual "LJ friends," some of whom I know in real life, some of whom I have since met, and some whom I have never met but am, nonetheless, good friends with.

And all these social network sites which revolve around the idea of friending - they are all incredibly popular. And even reading a blog on a regular basis offers the idea of intimacy, of getting to know someone a little bit.

But, I wonder, can museums be your friend? This is why that issue of voice is so crucial. If there's not a real person communicating about the museum in a genuine way, I think it's harder to gain that friend-like trust. Maybe I'm wrong. But I don't feel a strong connection to the museum blogs I read, not really. I feel a stronger connection to the museum-related blogs I read, where it feels more individual, more specific. And I assume myself to be representative of others, so this is how it must be, right?

It's something to think about though... if Web 2.0 is about social connection, social collaboration and interaction, how can an institution which might shift personality with each new director maintain a sense of the personal in a blog? Or should it? I'm just not sure.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Astronomers spend millions, find nothing

I know this is a museum blog blog, so to continue under that premise, I will link to the Buzz Blog post: Nothing to Write Home About. Plus they linked to it before I saw it on BBC News.

Mostly, I think this is super cool. I'm a great big nerd, a well rounded great big nerd. And Sci-fi is one of my nerd foci. So when astronomers are willing to admit they found nothing, I think that's awesome. When it's a nothing that's a billion light years wide, devoid of even dark matter, that is super awesome. BBC Article Link.

There's my news contribution for today.


Then there's the Unicorn Museum which is a slick satire of the Creation Museum. Hey, I like unicorns as much as the next guy.


Monday, August 20, 2007


Anyone else notice that Museumblogs.org has hit 200 blogs?

This is gettin' big people....


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Truth time

I gotta be honest. For the past month or so, I have not been in ur museum blogz. But now I'm back home, settling in to a more regular lifestyle, and I'm ready to dive back in.

I just ran through my feeds. I did not read them, oh me oh my no. You all are a productive lot. I pretty much glanced at the most recent post and moved on. I read my blogs via bloglines. I am more likely, by several times, to read a post if it is syndicated in full text and not just title or title and snippet. This applies to all my feeds, not just museum and museum-related.

While I was out of blog range, I did get a chance to visit the John Michael Kohler Arts Center which is putting on an amazing show right now - all about environmental artists, mostly of the outsider and visionary persuasion. They've taken out their usual standard galleries (Art and Industry industry gallery, the Hmong Gallery, the Kohler House setting) and used the entired building as a showcase for their amazing collection of environmental artists. I do believe most of the stuff in the show belonged to them. I loved it. I've long been a fan of Eugene von Bruenchenheim, but I became acquainted with Levi Fisher Ames, Stella Waitzkin, and Emery Blagdon, among others.

I grew up in Sheboygan County, where the JMKAC is located, and I am consistently amazed by the kind of exhibition they produce and their adherence to recognizing outsider and self taught artists. I would wholly recommend making a by-trip to see this show if you have the opportunity.

Of course, I may be biased. I used to work there. And the Kohler Foundation once awarded me an art scholarship. Nonetheless, I think this is pretty cool. Plus they produced a hoodie with Bruenchenheim's chicken bone chairs on the back which I do intend to purchase.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We're coming to a museum near you.

Remember that video I posted ages ago - the I-generation? Probably not. But the premise is that folks my age and younger are often pretty well connected to the internet and technology things.

Well, we've finished our museum degrees and are out looking for jobs. Some of us have found them (yay!), some of us are still looking (just keep swimming, just keep swimming), but we're all probably going to get there in the end. For example, I have two friends that are still in the interview process. Both of them, although their interests lay in collections management, are interested in updating their potential employers' web presence.

We represent the intersection of web savvy and university trained museum professional. It seems that many museum tech people have not been trained originally as museum professionals - nothing wrong with that, just saying. Given that we are something of a shift, or even an intersection, I think it will be interesting to see what happens. Are we isolated? (No, probably not, as at least two other folks we graduated with are very involved with podcasting.) Will the degree-bearing museum person with an interest in technology shift what the museum online world looks like? (I'd wager no, actually, because, while we are passionate, most of us can't code to save our lives.) But I think there is potential. Something to keep an eye out for, in any case.

When I think of blogging for my new institution (which I haven't even started yet, due to circumstances), I imagine a blog which is, at first, very informal. Possibly even personal. Basically, I think of me blogging about my job. About the day to day of collection managing a previously undermanaged collection. And I imagine a tone very close to the tone of this blog. Because it is hard for me to blog things I am excited about without having this crazy, half-developed, decidedly non-refined tone.

Anyway, watch out for us. We're coming.