What do online trends mean for the future role of a museum? More from Kristen Purcell, at Museums and the Web 2011.

Following from my earlier post, Kristen finished her MW2011 talk by posing some ideas around the roles of museums in the digital age as follows (with my commentary):

Role #1: Information broker (she call this a “Filter”) – be a trusted source; facilitate exchange, customise information, and above all how them how information relates to them (we have found this time and time again when it comes to what information visitors want provided in exhibitions – how does this relate to me and why should I care/know about it?)

Role #2: “Curator” – a one stop shop aggregating all information about a topic, not just your own by providing related links

Role #3: The Octopus – be a “node in a network” and share. “Be prepared to loosen control but monitor conversations round your content”

Role #4: “Community builder”– museums have long had this role;, whether it be via public engagement programs or networks of specialist communities, it’s just that being online now means more people can join the conversation wherever they happen to be and whenever it suits them

Role #5: Information broker Mark 2 (she calls this a “Lifesaver”) – providing info when and where people need it

Role #6: “Tour Guide” – geo-location will change the way users access content, and it may not even be your content they are accessing at your venue, it could be your content accessed somewhere else, or even downloaded to look at later or be mashed together with other content

Overall for me, the key is still to think about the different spaces museums now operate in (physical, online and mobile – discussed here) and figure out how to integrate these in order to build community around brand “museum” while providing exciting, engaging and shareable experiences with users wherever they happen to be.

Much food for thought here.