The digital world

  • We all agree it will fundamentally change the nature of or work but unsure how
  • Still some levels of management control over online content delivery as they fail to understand the nature of the web
  • Mobile is the future
  • The large institutions in the States are doing interesting work around iPhone apps and mobile technology
  • Seem to be pockets of highly creative, innovative people working in this field, yet often still not being listened to across the organisation
  • Websites should be seen as a platform for social learning
  • Will Foursquare be the new Twitter?
  • Start with a strategy that must be an action plan, not just more talk
  • Challenge is traditional institutional slowness and conservatism vs. the pace of change in technology and the digital world
  • Flickr is great way to do crowdsourcing
  • Meet controversy head on – don’t try to hide it, explain it
  • Need to break out of pour silos and have an exit strategy for a digital project
  • Twittering at conferences can be very useful (go to the hashtags #aam10, #djump, #tcel and #edtmuseums for some interesting commentary)
  • Social media and online marketing has been shown to be effective – large part of movie marketing is now via the blogosphere


  • Audience has to be at the centre of all we do – understand them before thinking about the technology
  • Brands are dead – user is king!
  • Given that, museum brands are valued, especially in the blogosphere
  • Millenials are seeking understanding, the ways they learn are collaborative and participatory, they expect input and exchange
  • Don’t teach audiences, engage with them
  • It takes work and effort to build an online community, but it reaps rewards as they start to self-manage
  • PR is moving from being expert opinion to peer-generated and dialogue-driven

How we work

  • Consider the organisation the way the world see it, not how it sees itself
  • People will access content from wherever they are and their own timeframes and spaces – need to provide our content in many forms
  • Collaboration both across the institution, between institutions and with external parties will be the norm
  • Consider applying a ‘crowd-sourcing’ model to managing internal projects
  • A large pocket of education people in the States recognise that online learning is the same as the ways museum education is being approached – i.e. learner centred and museum as facilitator, do they think this in Australia? Education people are also driving lots of the digital projects

Finally via @mpedson of the Smithsonian: “The field needs emerging museum professionals to go for it” and from me (@lyndakelly61): “The field needs visionaries at all levels of our institutions, don’t just sit around talking, get out there & give it a go”.

Thanks to Swinburne University of Technology (Melbourne) and the Smithsonian Institute for Museum Studies (Washington DC) for supporting this trip.