Museum 1.0 to 2.0

October 17, 2006 § Leave a comment

Museums as Sources of Information and Learning
The decision making process
by Lynda Kelly

Lynda Kelly writes:

Much has been written about the educational and learning role of museums (Falk and Dierking, 1992, 1995, 2000; Hein, 1998; Hooper-Greenhill, 1994) and their roles in community development and access (Gurian, 1995, 2001; Kelly and Gordon, 2002). Yet, in this increasingly rich and complex information age, less emphasis has been given to the roles that museums have as credible sources of information (Booth, 1998; Lake Snell Perry and Associates, 2001). Access to information and knowledge is probably at the greatest point now in our history than it has ever been. Therefore the resulting problems and stresses that this brings, coupled with how to actually use information are core issues that museums need to urgently address.

Further to this there is a view that museums need to move from being suppliers of information to facilitators, providing tools for visitors to explore their own ideas and reach their own conclusions. This is because increasing access to technologies, such as the Internet, ‘… have put the power of communication, information gathering, and analysis in the hands of the individuals of the world’ (Freedman, 2000: 299). In this sense, the museum needs to become a mediator of information and knowledge for a range of users to access on their own terms, through their own choice and within their own place and time, a ‘… multifaceted, outwardlooking role as hosts who invite visitors inside to wonder, encounter and learn’
(Schauble, et al., 1997: 3)

I would add to this by saying that Museums should now be looking at sending out content to users, it can start small like the Phm’s use of del.icio.us and grow into something bigger like the Brooklyn Museum use of MySpace and Flickr. As Mike Ellis of the Science Museum in London pointed out in a presentation to the UK Museums on the Web conference 2006 called Web 2.0 Why Museums are excited and scared all at the same time if museums don’t engage with sociable technologies to send out content then someone else will create the content under the museums name and it may not be in the way they want it. 

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