Here are my quick notes from this conference held in Melbourne on 14-15 April.


After several short presentations/provocations we split inot three groups for discussion. Here are my notes from the feedback.

Topic #1: Freemium models

  • we've been doing this for a long time with our physical programs - remember that
  • but can gets lots for free on the web now
  • gaming environments use the freemium model - get in the game and buy things within it (Farmville also uses this idea)
  • SLV develop progam and put online for free for everyone, what teachers pay for is to come and have a staff memeber deliver the program
  • what people are paying for is convenience, can get content already online, pay to have it packaged and delivered to their mobile device
  • pay for social, emotional, face-to-face contact with people / a person
  • Many still object to paying (perhaps those who still have moral objection), different orgs have different ideas (eg libraries will always be free, yet MoMA charging premium for everything

Topic #2: Collaboration vs competition

  • Partership vs collaboration
  • We are all offering similar programs etc and can be seen to be competing
  • share mailing lists
  • can be easy to collaborate at the optional/grassroots level but not at the senior management level - need a receptive top level of managemnet
  • Need to answer: What's in it for us?
  • Trust can be hard
  • Often we thnk products compete but they can complement (eg SMH Good Food Guide book + app found this)
  • Dont get tied up with the branding issues - the end user usually doesnt care!

Topic #3: Social media /social inclusion

  • "Outreach" - is that what we're talking about now?
  • Digital storyteling still a vey robust way to connect and reach out to audiences
  • Context for connection? How give them a reason to connect via social media?
  • Access issues (technology)
  • Digital divide - how to engage those with limited understanding/use of the tech
  • Print is not going out of fashion
  • Tech often doesn't work
  • dont always need to use tech - manual methods sometimes work just as well!
  • who actually has access and how do they use it?
  • "future already here but is unevenly disributed"
  • continue to build community with whatever tools make sense


Nancy Proctor, Smithsonian

  • We’re in the midst of a mobile bubble – most apps don’t generate revenue, not much ROI. Quotes the  Great app bubble article
  • Costs of mobile – developing the platform, onsite infrastructure, project management/staff time, content development, marketing + maintenance (new content, new platforms)
  • How to achieve a better ROI?? Think outside the audio tour box, from headphones to microphones From we do talking to we help you do the talking” (Chris Anderson, Wired) “from interpretation to conversation” (Max Anderson)
  • The multiplatform museum – exists far beyond physical walls. Museum is a distributed network.
  • The people’s institution idea is not new, Smithsonian doing from the day it opened, we still have volunteers (also see post on crowdsourcing since 1847)
  • Use mobile to recruit the worlds to increase and diffuse knowledge, enlist collaborators globally to undertake the work
  • Chris Anderson webcast: The best curators won’t be working for you. Create a Wikipedia of the physical world
  • How do we turn apps into a true conversation and collaboration – how do we manage that internally?
  • Mobile metrics: accessibility, quality, relevance, accountability, sustainability
  • Are we using mobile as truly radical social media to connect people not just re-tweets?

Seb Chan, Powerhouse Museum

  • Max Anderson – most of our resource is taken up in caring for collection
  • Exhibitions offer experience of objects, web gives access to data cloud –museums are storytellers
  • Mobile pushes us to think about museums as more than physical experience to offering a hybrid cross-platform experience
  • We will be offering new services new customers and new users
  • Transform the customer’s notion of what a museum is and what a museum does – more than just exhibition halls
  • Museum visitor journey – pre is www; during is gallery handheld, post in mobile world, must build in re-visitation
  • 5.67% of PHM Sydney traffic is on mobile device
  • Mobile is all about context
  • Problems are encouraging take-up and appropriate content production
  • Great opps for mobile but need organisational change in structures and ways we think about what we’re offering visitors