The Tropenmuseum is one of a host of cultural heritage institutes currently hopping on the Web 2.0 train. The museum wants to engage new audiences, and increase the number of visitors. The task to increase visibility on multiple platforms is taken pretty seriously. The museum has a multimedia producer, and has recently hired a new project manager for museum digitization. Naturally, it is their job to be interested in new media. But employees from other departments are also encouraged to reach out to users in new ways. Today, a first group of employees received an invitation to participate in a webcourse called 23 dingen voor musea. From September onwards, participants will be taught the basics of blogging, twitter, rss, social bookmarking, tagging, etc. I am very curious to see what this will lead to.
A very playful example is set by the Brooklyn Museum, one of the leading institutes when it comes to audience engagement via new media. They recently came up with a game called Tag! You’re it!. First, you have to become a member of the museum ‘posse’. Once you’ve registered, you’re ready to play with objects in the museum database, displayed on the screen via a picture and a short description. Basically, the idea is that you tag images, and get as many matches as possible with existing tags. The museum website states that the tags are meant to help people find specific objects in te Brooklyn Museum collections. Increasing the visibility of the collection is of course an interesting goal. Still, if we also take tagging to be a way of creating user-generated content, tags could also serve another purpose. Who knows, perhaps the information could serve as input for the registration and documentation of the museum collection.
On this note: Dutch readers may be interested in the evaluation the National Archives recently published on their pilot project with Flickr the Commons.