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The museoblogosphere.

Museum blogging is rapidly growing, but you’d hardly know it reading the New York Times‘ article on web use in the special Museums section today: the only blog listed is the Walker’s. No reBlog or Eye Level, Pulitzer Contemporary or the Katzen, or any of the handful of other art museums that are testing bloggy […]

Museum blogging is rapidly growing, but you’d hardly know it reading the New York Times‘ article on web use in the special Museums section today: the only blog listed is the Walker’s. No reBlog or Eye Level, Pulitzer Contemporary or the Katzen, or any of the handful of other art museums that are testing bloggy waters. But the article does reiterate what I think is an important point for all museums considering launching blogs–make an effort to resist the impulse to micromanage blog content. Aside from some common-sense blog rules–don’t bash other institutions, minimize expletive use, resist gossiping about co-workers, f.ex.–we at the Walker are given fairly wide berth to use blogs for what they are, an informal, human medium. And, thankfully, it comes straight from the top (Kathy Halbreich tells me this democratic approach is the lasting legacy of former New Media Director Steve Dietz). From the Times:

“We had to learn to relinquish our curatorial authority, to get noninstitutional voices,” said Kathy Halbreich, the director of the Walker. “The blog gives us a multiplicity of voices.”

Robin Dowden, who runs the Walker site, said that in addition to being educational, it helps promote a community. “In the beginning we were a bit afraid,” she said. “But one thing we realized is that our audiences are smart and they want to be engaged.” As a result, the Walker does not edit what bloggers contribute.

For more, check out Eric’s series The State of Museum Blogs or conference notes by Eric, Brent and Nate from Museums & the Web last week.

  • Eric says:

    I agree it is a rather shallow look at what museums are doing online, but I think it makes the two most important points.

    1) Museums reach more people online than they do with other media (for less cost)

    2) Museums can use their online space to turn a profit (with a small investment of time and money)

    While that’s not all that could be said about museums online I’m happy so many people will at least see those two points.

  • Very interesting article and idea… having an alternative, a blogger life online is definitely a plus for the writer.

    Museums on site and online are two presences that complement each other. Bloggers often are sources of unexpected richness of resources. I noticed that for some large cinema online magazines, editors are used to help bloggers leave comments – to standardise the quality of the texts – but never the content. Its a very valuable entry point for people who want to participate in giving voice to what they see. I also like your site here very much. Thank you.