The Indianapolis Museum of Art's dashboard (a visualisation of all sorts of information about the IMA, from the current value of its endowment to its average daily electricity consumption) is now about two years old. Today Rob Stein, the IMA's Chief Information Officer, published a long post about museums and transparency on the IMA blog:
The concept of Transparency has received significant attention in the media and online recently. This attention comes at a time when public doubt in corporations, government and corporate executives is at an all-time high. High profile failures of some of the nation’s largest and most trusted institutions have shaken our assumptions about what had always seemed to be untouchable industries. Museums have always jealously guarded their trusted place in the public’s perception, but is there a risk that this trust will someday be lost? As caretakers of this trust, what is the best way to foster open communication about the challenges and opportunities that face us as we try to achieve the mission of our museums? As comprehensive and easy access to operational information becomes the norm, how can museums embrace this as an opportunity and confront internal fears about sharing their performance metrics with the public?
This is the first in a promised series of posts that I'm looking to following. I firmly believe that galleries and museums should be doing all they can to connect with their fans. Transparency is an important aspect of this.
Daniel Incandela, Director of New Media at the IMA, is the first speaker at this year's National Digital Forum (23-24 November, Wellington). There are still a handful of places left at the conference.