Can you find a virtual museum and tell us about it? You might go for the obvious biggies-- the Louvre or Gugenheim and their many offspring, or you can look for the small, quirky and odd.
In fact, you don't even have to look at museums. After all, "museum" is really just a metaphor we are using to describe what we're after in some ways. Think repositories, cool databases, wikis that organize a load of information -- anything that might help us move our ideas forward.
I recommend starting with the Virtual Museum of Canada. Its interesting to look through the image gallery, fun & games, teachers resources, events ... with our Virtual Museum on the History of EdTech in mind. Perhaps you or others might reply to this post with comments or suggestions on which features of the Virtual Museum of Canada might be transferable to our EdTech one?
I've been wading through some of the discussions there and came across a notice about this upcoming Museums and the Web conference in Indianapolis, Indiana in April, 2009. Hey Richard, isn't that your home town? I think we should all submit a proposal and you can be our tour guide. :-)
I have done some work with Canadian Heritage Information Network (they're in charge of museums, archives, libraries nationally) over the last few years. They are very aware of how the digital world is changing their traditional model of museums. And their changing. Fast. One project I evaluated - AGORA - wraps social tools (blogs, wikis, etc.) around museum artifacts. I wonder if we should consider approaching CHIN to see if we can somehow use their software/infrastructure to host our project. No need in doing it all ourselves :).
I think approaching CHIN for their softward/infrastructure sounds like a good idea. Sylvie and Jeffery and others, could you do this? Although the ideas and names can keep coming from the Scope Conference -- there seem to be some who are very interested in developing the Museum and hopefully there can be follow-up.
I'm amazed at the number of people, sources, areas of expertise that form the foundation. I'm also interested in what people think the "future" holds -- and making a record of these ideas -- someday looking back to see if some of them came true -- like Olsen's 1984. Perhaps someone will write a new book. (Not me -- as I'm presently too busy.)
Would you like to kick it off, or would you prefer one of us does?
This is a great idea. As Jo Ann and Richard say it would be great to have an a ready-made infrastructure to get started on this. We've talked about using a wiki but wondered how manageable that would be. In any case, let me see if I can find someone at CHIN to ask!
p.s. can't believe I didn't notice that submission deadline for the Museum and the Web conference. I must have been looking at the demo proposals deadline which is Dec 31. I wonder if we decided to demo our project we would be qualify as "museum staff"?
Yes, I grew up in Indianapolis a long time ago -- pre Colts, pre Pacers, etc. The last time I was there, I could hardly find my way around!
But if you're ever there and in the downtown area there are two places to eat you can't miss (if you're a carnivore).
Shapiro's Deli -- Kosher everything and wonderful.
St. Elmo's Steakhouse -- old school steakhouse - elegant but not the least bit stuffy.
I chose the Maple Leaf Museum. At the beginning, the designers of this site included the quote “Freedom for All People” which caught my attention. In this museum you will have the opportunity to listen the sounds of a battle, some chorus and real images of the Canadian army as well. I really was touched by the message. What I perceived was:
1. I could feel touched by the message, by the sounds and the chorus.
2. My imagination was triggered. I was trying to think about what those soldiers felt when facing the combat. I became shuddered just to imagine it.
3. By seeing the meaningful images, the graveyard and the Canadian flag, the combination of colors made mournful scenery that was recreated in my mind.
4. I felt sensations about how it could be in the middle of a battlefield.
I think that this site has good elements of communication, and illustrate a “reality”. It “takes you there”. Video, audio, images, colors, animations, figures, information are well articulated.
Those elements, plus the pedagogical and design strategies I found in the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa, Ontario would balance the combination of both technological and pedagogical resources. This museum has an excellent organization, the use of black & white images and the look of the pilot are amazing. I think we can combine the necessary elements to avoid overloading a new web site and think about a quote that catches your attention at first glance. My preferred words when designing: Senses, feelings, simplicity & elegance.
Even though the site is not perfect (some links were not working and info on computers stopped in 2004), I enjoyed it for a few reasons. Firstly, I read brief biographies of Steve Wozniak, Jef Rask, Rod Holt, and Steven Jobs. They are interesting individuals to say the least. From there I came across a chronological history of the Apple computer. It has far greater history than I thought. Next I viewed the list of products many of which I never heard of before, but I have no doubt they are excellent.
Why did I enjoy viewing this site even though I am not a museum fan? Firstly, I like Apple computers dating back to the Apple 2E. Secondly, there is a nice mixture of content. I read about the creators of the Apple, viewed the evolution of the Apple, and reviewed some of the product lines.
Now if we are to design an online museum, I would think we should take a cue from this site. We need a variety of content to be of interest to many people, a webpage that is easy to navigate, and an FAQ link to questions and answers from viewers.
The museum clearly states its purpose as you enter the site. The Troops, The Times, The Technology: Past, Present and Future. The site is available in both French and English at the click of a button.
There are narratives that describe the history of the technology, biographies of folk who have made significant contributions, and stories told in part through pictures of the lives of the troops. There is also a quick video tour available as you enter the site.
Unfortunately the site is difficult to navigate despite having a navigation bar on the left and bottom of every page. There is no return to the home page, and the online tour is only linked from the Exhibits page. I like that there is an education program but it is not an online version.
As I mentioned to begin, I was drawn to this site because of the family connection so it captured my attention. I was motivated to explore because of my interest in history and particularly the history of technology. I didn’t stay very long because once I had read what it had to offer I was done. But there are fascinating trinkets of information for the geek in you – check out the fullerphone.
The Military Communications and Electronics Museum - http://www.c-and-e-museum.org
When researching online museums, I tried to simply delve into the experiences that were being offered to me. The underlying educator in me escaped and I instantly found my "googles" curricular-oriented. I came to realize that I was drawn to this particular resource for many reasons. That is exactly what I think a well-laid out museum of any kind should do...serve a specific purpose. It is this thought that excites me while reading our posts, sharing our ideas about what we should include in the museum.
The resource that I stumbled upon and spent way too much time exploring was the Natural History Museum. Upon arrival, I noticed that the site was well-laid out, appealing and most importantly to me, not overwhelming. Wanting to view the site through a child's eyes, I instantly clicked on Kids Only. It was here that I spent the majority of my time. Any opportunity for a child to watch flesh eating beetles at work, you know they will jump on it. (as did I!). There is also a section where students can walk in the shoes of various "'ologists". Everyone knows that students are always wondering what they are going to be when they grow up. Children are also given the opportunity to virtually explore the habitats of many animals. Not only was everything in this section of the site interesting and fun, it was purely educational.
Once I finally pried myself from the Kid's page, I explored the Teacher's Resources. An option appeared where one could search for a specific key word based on any curriculum. I found this extremely invaluable. Each of us has spent hours searching for the elusive information that we set out for. Is a key word search something that we could include in our ET museum?
Being the linear thinker that I am, I think that our website must have an intended audience. How do we go about discovering who this audience will be?
- easy to access famous image collections, as they had an easy to use search feature
- having a number of featured collections allows for quick perusal of things you might not search for
- it appears that in each section of the museum, they have revolving featured collections. In other words, when something is not being featured, it is still accessible, you just have to do a bit more searching to find it. I think this is a really good way to draw people to the site without imposing artificial restraints on how long the content can be seen.
- pages in the exhibit list related audio and video clips to supplement the exhibit
- "My Personal Museum" is a neat feature that allows you to "Create your own personal museum around a theme, an artist, or your favourite objects. It's also great for school projects". It's essentially a primitive mashup tool.
- experienced some rendering problems on a few pages (I was using Firefox 3 on Windows)
The two things that stuck out to me as things we should try to incorporate were the revolving featured exhibits and mashup tool (can't figure out how this would work yet).
To quote " The Tech Museum of Innovation engages people of all ages and backgrounds in exploring and experiencing the technologies affecting their lives, and aims to inspire the innovator in everyone."
Here is another one I found called the "Museum of Unnatural Mystery"
To Quote" The Museum of Unnatural Mystery is the brainchild of Lee Krystek. Mr. Krystek had for a long time wanted to build a museum that would explore the fringe edges of science and at the same time use those subjects to get people interested in the more mundane aspects of scientific work. A brick and mortar museum was far beyond his means, but the creation of the world wide web provided a medium that was affordable enough for him to realize his dream." Please note that this site has advertising and asks you to take a survey.
The link I have provided is to a page within the museum, not it's Home page. The left hand navigate list is straight forward on the page I've provided.
This brings me to generalized Criticism #1: Flashy (ha!) Home pages. I counted 82 hotlinks on the home page, several of them duplications. The page is great if you are familiar with the content (you are a return visitor to the site), but I think the less patient folk might become overwhelmed and click on by.
What I liked about the site is best navigated from the Events and Activities page. I see their list of categories as possibilities for our purposes. Podcasts, Videocasts, Lectures, Forum, super cool Virtual Exhibits , and Social Events. I included that last category after I originally omitted it from the “relevant” list. I’ve now decided to challenge myself to see if the category has any hidden possibilities.
An excellent feature of their “Virtual Exhibits “ is that there is often a question posed at the end of a section. Evidence is given, theories are presented, but conclusions are left up to the visitor. Their set up doesn’t allow for the visitors to post their “answers“ to the questions, but that might be a nice feature for us if we were to borrow a little from this format.
I hope you find "hidden possibilities" for the Social Events category. Can't wait to hear more.
The interface is accessible and easy to navigate. However, my favourite component of the layout was the web/map that floats at the top of the site. I thought it was a cool way to organize the various pieces of the museum and to show all the different connection points. Right away I was struck by this nonlinear approach; because it invites the visitor to enter at any point and in a sense it allows the viewer to begin to author his/her own experience. It also reminds me that our stories are connected to each other in often complex and fascinating ways. It would be interesting to watch the shape of this graphic change and grow as more contributions are added.
I really like the ability for anyone to upload material. The museum encourages contributions and stories from all who visit. I like the idea that a museum space invites a diverse, democratic community.
The museum’s “Folksway Recording Project” is a simple collection of oral stories. Still, very powerful.
I also checked out “The Tech Virtual Museum of Innovation” in Second Life. Again, what appealed to me was the invitation by the museum creators for contributions. I also thought it was interesting that the real “Tech Museum of Innovation” mirrors the virtual one.
In the end I left a little disappointed and I am not sure why. The experience was not a rich one for me as I could not get a sense of the place and its culture(?). Something was missing. Still, worth checking out at:
Or read about it at...