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The Futurist

Ask a Curator Day

Ask a curator day

Starting in New Zealand and ending in Hawaii, this year's Ask a Curator day had over 600 museums taking part. 

This is the world's once-a-year chance to engage with the minds behind the greatest museums in the world in 140 characters or less.

I asked a bunch of curators a bunch of questions. Here's what happened...

Museums and galleries don't just house the most beautiful and significant objects in the world; they also house some of the greatest thinkers, researchers, historians and curators in the world. While participatory programs and online exhibitions are helping museums stay up to date in their physical space, special events like Ask a Curator day allow the world get to know the people behind-the-scenes.

Starting in New Zealand and ending in Hawaii, this year's Ask a Curator day had over 600 museums taking part. This is the world's once-a-year chance to engage with the minds behind the greatest museums in the world in 140 characters or less.

So with that many people talking, what was being discussed? The first question I read was a biggie:

What is the biggest challenge in the museum to introduce new technologies to be a museum 2.0?

 @museodelprado: To overcome objections of part of the staff that cannot understand the importance of the web 2.0.@mart_museum: To explain that it's not about tech but about access to heritage and public mission@msupoznan: Old-fashioned mentality, money and the problem of new technologies quick [email protected]chipstone_org: Making sure your technologies don't break down mid-exhibition, or if they do, that you're able to fix them.

Then I decided to follow up with a few of my own...

What prompts museums to develop an online presence? What are the goals you are trying to achieve in moving online?

 @museodeltessuto: As a small Italian museum we hope to let ppl know we're here!@ROMtoronto: Our promise is, 'to connect people to their world & to each other'. Guides our objectives online!@RBJMason: Bringing the collections and our expertise to a wider audience!@GettyMuseum: One of our missions = disseminate info broadly. Images, online or not, serve as primary tools for research.

A follow up to @ROMtoronto: Is it any harder to gain funding for online endeavours since the benefit won't be specifically within your area?

 @ROMtoronto: Sometimes. Shifting priorities to creating awareness helps. Try to do more w/ free tools online, like social

How do you break the stigma of "stuffy museums"? Is this still a problem nowadays?

 @ISMLockport: Open the windows a metaphorically air the place out@RenoMayCenter: It is when the perm. collection does not change. We have to bring in traveling shows to keep it fresh.@RBJMason: Well people often ask me if I considered stand-up comedy instead of archaeology.@MuseumofHealth: We need to try to be more participatory, to get the community involved in developing content.@MuseumofNature: Throw a fabulous party! http://t.co/jCEb4QdVSm #naturenocturne

Ask a Curator day turned out to be a fascinating insight into the world of museums. While my questions (and I had many more than what I listed here) had interesting responses there were thousands more tweets that were just as insightful. A great way to spend five hours on Twitter, and a great promo for all museums involved.

You can read all the questions and responses on Twitter here.

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