Friday, December 01, 2006

What is Museum 2.0?

Hi. I'm Nina Simon. I started the Museum 2.0 blog in November of 2006 to explore the ways that the philosophies of Web 2.0 can be applied in museums to make them more engaging, community-based, vital elements of society.

What started as a humble research project turned into a community space. Since 2006, Museum 2.0 has been read by over 650,000 people, with about 30,000 accessing it every week from countries around the world. I hope you will join this community of thoughtful people sharing experiences around active audience participation--Museum 2.0.

What do I mean by 2.0? “Web 2.0” is not just a buzzword; it’s a definition of web-based applications with an “architecture of participation,” that is, one in which users generate, share, and curate the content. The web started with sites (1.0) that are authoritative content distributors--like traditional museums. The user experience with web 1.0 is passive; you are a viewer, a consumer. Web 2.0 removes the authority from the content provider and places it in the hands of the user. Now, you are a participant. You determine what’s on the site, and you judge which content is most valuable. For a longer explanation, press play below.

I believe that museums have the potential to undergo a similar (r)evolution as that on the web, to transform from static content authorities to dynamic platforms for content generation and sharing. I believe that visitors can become users, and museums central to social interactions. Web 2.0 opens up opportunity, but it also demonstrates where museums are lacking. The intention of this blog is to explore these opportunities and shortcomings with regard to museums and interactive design. I hope you will join the discussion, and help frame the future of museums--Museum 2.0.

There are lots of useful blog posts here, from explanations of technologies to reviews of exhibitions to design methodologies. To start exploring, click a post or label in the topic list on the right, or click here to see the "core" Museum 2.0 posts in reverse chronological order. You can also check out my 2010 book, The Participatory Museum, which is a comprehensive, practical guide to visitor participation in cultural institutions.

And what about me? As of May of 2011, I am serving as the Executive Director of The Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz, CA. Previously, I ran a consulting firm, curated The Tech Virtual Test Zone at The Tech Museum, designed virtual experiences with the Electric Sheep Company, and worked as the Experience Development Specialist at the International Spy Museum. If you would like to discuss opportunities for collaboration, internships, or wild projects, contact me.
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