Archive for February, 2010

Digital Curation

I know it’s been ages since I posted anything, but I have recently become inspired to start a series of blog posts about museums. I know I have written about museums in the past, such as the Buchheim and, of course, the BMW Museum where I work. But I thought it would be good for me to keep a focus among my blogs….so museums it is!

A hot topic at the moment is museums, particularly in new museums and the curation of new exhibits, is the idea of the Virtual Museum. My first contact with this idea came while I was at my new job; the online tool department transformed the collection of the Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) into a Second Life platform. That means those who are registered on Second Life with their own digital self, or sometimes called an avatar, can virtually walk through the museum and view digitized works of art!

At first the idea struck me as disappointing; why would someone look at a mini-copy of a work of art on his or her computer screen instead of going to see the actual work? But then again this goes back to the issue of movie theaters having problems with viewers streaming movies online…

The advantage to digitizing museums has one crystal clear advantage; education and research. Although many museums still have The other interesting idea behind the Second Life museum is that it differentiates itself from online museum archives, which have already been around for a few year, in spatial aspects, presentation, and pedagogical strategies. Welcome the birth of digital curation…

I read an article in the New York Times (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 8.Feb.2010) entitled “Online, It’s the Mouse That Runs the Museum.” The article explores the advantages to digital museum presentation and curation. Because of the general knowledge of social media platforms (a.k.a facebook and Twitter), web users are becoming more accustomed to having influence on subject material. At the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which will open in Warsaw in 2012, a virtual platform allows web users to support the collection by sending their own photographs, videos, etc. Even more exciting is the French project for the Museum of Afghan Civilization, which only exists in digital form. Its goal is to allow people in Afghanistan to share photographs that are taken there in areas where computers are scare. A new way of communicating culture! The founder of this museum stated, “Curators are starting to realize that they can be challenged by the audience.”

What a wonderful idea! I’ll have to admit, I’ll be excited if at some point I cross paths with a digital curating project!


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