Friday, March 13, 2009

News: Museums as Social Network

I just got an email this morning about a new social networking place called Creative Spaces, which looks like it's going be a really splendid and inspiring. Nine British museums have banded together to create a sort of Facebook/Flickr type of place where you create an account and then build collections of your own from the collections of some of the most famous museums in Britain. You can add comments, network with other people and start groups - and upload your own pictures and videos to your notebooks.

So, in a sense, you can become a virtual curator.

The project is part of the UK's National Museums Online Learning Project:

"The project aims to get partner museum websites better used, engage new audiences and transform the way they think about and use existing digital collections. We are developing a range of innovative and exciting online learning resources across the nine websites for pupils, teachers, and lifelong learners. These resources will provide greater access and usage of the museum partners' online collections, and utilise new technologies to encourage and support user participation."

The NY MOMA has something similar, but it's small and not very well worked out, and you can't add your own stuff. Plus it's just one museum. This one is much more well-thought-out and proves the British are, once and for all, no longer the hidebound Empiricist nation that they once were.

The project is still in serious beta, and it's apparent that a great deal of things are not quite there yet. The Search feature, for example, is not all it should be, and a great deal of the online collections are not quite as accessible as I would like. And I don't see a system for simply browsing as of yet. I do dearly wish the Science Museum were part of the list.

Still, it pleases me. It pleases me that I could have an online place to collect my favorite images, where I can see other people's choices; and I can download from the Mutter Museum, say, and then mingle them with the many things I find here, to share them with other like-minded people. Keep an eye on it, and wait: at some point, it will be less fledgling, and we can all get together and share.


rhabyt said...

A very exciting project.
There is quite a bit of buzz on the web about this.
Check out the BBC article at
and the discussion at Past Thinking ( and Electronic Museum (
I have to agree with Mike Ellis that the Brooklyn Museum has some parts of this down in a way that Creative Spaces should take notice of.

Anonymous said...

I so much love this picture.
whose is it?

Heather McDougal said...

It's a piece by Joseph Cornell, whose work I love.

ArtSparker said...

The Creative Spaces site looks like fun...thanks for the post. Will have to check out that Brooklyn Museum reference.