Wednesday 13 December 2006

Museum blogs

My workplace is currently debating the idea of staff blogging - either on the official website, or having links from the official website off to blogs like this one, which have some (tenuous) connection to our working life.

Ideum - a company based on New Mexico who consult on interactive media, web development and exhibition design for cultural, educational and not-for-profit institutions and 'socially responsible' companies - did a survey in March this year of museum blogs and community sites. Using blog searches like Technorati, Ideum found a grand total of 26 blogs that are either produced by museums for the public, or are about museums.

Ideum's research report

As Ideum point out: using Technorati's stats that it searches 29.6 million blogs, museum blogs are rarer than one in a million.

The museum blog that generates the most heat in these discussions is that of the Walker Art Center. There are five staff blogging at the Walker: a new media designer, an ex-new media designer who's now freelancing, a web guy, another web guy and the New Media Director (the only woman). Interestingly, when you hit the 'Curators' blogs' link, you get a big, fat, zero. I would have thought that at least the public programmes team would be blogging. However, it is titled New Media Initiatives Blog, so fair's fair.

CORRECTION. Thanks to the Walker for getting in touch and sending me the link to their full set of blogs. Mea culpa - I got a bit lost inside the NMI blog and assumed that the right-hand nav covered all the blogs available. Check out their full offering - including curators, outside bloggers (plein air bloggers?) and artists at their main blog aggregator.

New Zealand attempts to run online forums or blogs are, sadly, a bit lame. Case in point 1: City Gallery Wellington's Prospect 2004 online forum - way too prescriptive.. Case in point 2: the Scape Biennial blog - mostly institutional messaging, has been spammed (and not cleaned up) and got bagged on Art Bash.

A few reasons why we might be even further behind than normal: our art galleries don't have tech-savvy employees or new media departments; our scene is still small enough for people to communicate in analogue ways; our art scene isn't that interested in the public; everyone is avidly reading this stuff, but too shy to post ....

1 comment:

Paul Schmelzer said...

Thanks for linking to the Walker blog, but I've got to point out: we've got five other blogs in addition to the New Media blog. It is difficult to get curators blogging, but we've got more than 30 people on staff and as guests who blog, from a visual arts curator to local artists, outside bloggers like Bruce Sterling and Boingboing's Xeni Jardin to a one-time post by a Minnesota arts advocacy group. Good luck with your project. And do stop by to see our main blog aggregator page.