In case you missed it - a two-part interview with Seb Chan (latterly of the Powerhouse, more recently leading the amazeballs team at the Cooper-Hewitt) on the 21st-century museum in Desktop mag:
In some respects, museums are at a fork in the road. Some will choose to be community venues with their programming full of timely events and event-driven exhibitions. Others, probably far fewer, will choose to double down on their collections and try to carve out a means of economic survival based on what makes them unique. Both will have re-assert their relevance based on the choice they make, and who they decide to be ‘for’.
We’re closed until 2014 whilst the building – Andrew Carnegie’s old mansion – undergoes major renovation and the museum uses the opportunity to re-imagine itself.
During this period we are purposely being promiscuous with our content. We’ve been opening up our metadata for free public access and reuse, and we’ve been partnering with many organisations to spread our speciality collections and knowledge far and wide. On the collection-side there has been the metadata release through GitHub, and work with Google Art Project and Art.sy. Elsewhere we’ve had digital content partnerships with Behance, Lanyrd and Ushahidi – speciality additions to the now traditional operations Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter . On the exhibitions–side we have shows travelling everywhere from Portland to Paris. And we have events happening across many different venues in New York.
Much like the web itself, the museum’s activities are becoming more decentralised and dispersed – and I’m hopeful that when our building reopens we will continue this sort of ‘web-like’ approach.