Open Culture 2011 – Looking to the Future

Thankfully we were allowed some coffee before now Mia Ridge (@mia_out) – her slide deck is at

Mia says ‘The world is changing…’ – always! Audiences expectations are formed by the experiences that they have outside the museum (of course!) – Twitter/Facebook/social networks teach children how to share…. and they come into your space with more cameras/phones/digital kit than you can ever provide.

We are Lucky – but have to be smart – and not all about technology – some trends:

Transmedia – taking content and experiences across platforms:

  • in gallery
  • on website
  • social media
  • in print
  • in games
  • in audio
  • ideally audience participation changes things – a challenge to the primacy of exhibitions

You’ll have several times more visitors online than in physical space…

Augmented Reality – comparatively old (2009 tech!)
Museum in Netherlands – taking works out into public environment
Simpler – Derby Museum used QR codes to provide multi-lingual content – e.g. – will pick up language set on your phone and direct to correct Wikipedia entry in appropriate language

Geo-located – mobile – example of showing ‘historic’ images in the correct location – in the modern world – see ‘now and then’.

Or can do low-tech – example of using poster on a bus/tram shelter to put information back into environment

Crowdsourcing and Participation
Try transcriptions; image cropping; map rectification; metadata creation; experiential data – but show the impact

Example of crowdsourcing exhibit labels by allowing visitors to ask questions about exhibits via post-it notes


New audiences – new types of engagement. But be careful of overdoing ‘gamification’ – don’t want to cheapen the experience.

Game-based learning – e.g. High Tea (Wellcome), Launchball (Science Museum) etc.

Audiences used to being heard

Think about how you talk – and listen – to your audience – and be clear when you are conversing and when you are just telling them stuff.

Service design

Consistent user experience across all platforms – addresses every aspect of customer service – requires holitic strategy – an end to silos.

Common threads?

Personal, mobile and on-demand
No such thing as an off-line experience anymore – (young?) people always connected
New ways of telling stories
New ways of reaching audiences

Future proofing?

Change continues, resources limited – how to cope? People should be able to find your content (if it isn’t in google it doesn’t exist).

Make content findable, shareable, and easy to engage with.

Be authoritative – exchange links with other institutions (my ‘Newton’ is your ‘Newton’)

Bite-sized content

Fit into people’s lives – put content where they are – make it ‘snackable’ – and shareable.

Look outside

Other sectors can teach us – museums need to learn lessons and change.

What to do?

People want to love museums – so make this easy. Make it easy for the museum (and staff) to say Yes to stuff.

Start small – watch and learn – remove obstacles – repeat

Don’t ‘Keep calm and carry on’ – Get excited & Make things!

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