April 30, 2011

How can specialized museums enlarge their audiences?

Catalan Modernism Textiles- Photo: Kippelboy. CC-BY-SA
Two days ago I just visited the Textile Museum and Documentation Centre of Terrassa, were I did a private Backstage Pass with their documentalist. Thanks Silvia! In the 19th century the city played an important role in the industrial revolution, specializing in woollen fabrics, and today there is a major Catalan Modernism legacy as a result of the city's importance at that time. So this museum has a huge collection of more than 40.000 textile pieces, from coptic textiles to XX century suits. To provide ideas and support for design professionals and also to promote and disseminate research, the Centre offers full access to more than 20,000 documents on textiles from all eras and cultures: fabrics, original designs, sample-books, dress and complements, via IMATEX, but people and professionals don't use it as much as they would like.

The museum is located 20 km from Barcelona, ​​and we could say that is not full of visitors. It's not a tourist destination, although I'm sure it would be the paradise for any patchwork designer. Museum workers told me that they make heavy efforts to spread their collections, but it's very difficult to connect with a larger audience.

So...wich is the best way for these types of institutions to spread their assets and their collections? Developing an own website? Wikimedia Commons? Flickr? How can we convince the managers of these specialized museums that opening the access to their collections might be salvation?

April 28, 2011

Miserachs Meeting

Xavier Miserachs "Barcelona, 1962" CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
It's been a month since last Glam-Wiki meeting at Museu Picasso. During last 4 weeks, I did a tiny kind of a museums tour, visiting some of the museum professionals I met at the event. We are preparing quite interesting glam-wiki projects. I'll post about them during the next weeks.

Our next Glam-wiki activity at Barcelona will be The Miserachs Meeting, next may 6 at MACBA, the museum of contemporary art of Barcelona.

Xavier Miserachs was a quite known catalan Photographer. In February the Miserachs family deposited 80,000 photographic images at MACBA, as well as documentation and several notebooks. This treasure trove, is structured around the series that produced some of the most important photography books in the history of the art in our country. (+ info here) To spread the artworks, MACBA uploaded some albums to Flickr, and convinced the family to release some photos with CC-BY-ND.

On May 6th, catalan wikimedians will meet the curators at the library of the museum and will improve the Xavier Miserachs wikipedia entry, an edit-a-thon focused in one biography, with the best resources. Curators, books and Wikipedians focused on just one topic, as the British Museum's Hoxne Challenge  of last summer.

Once we've done it, we will translate the entry to other languages such as spanish and english. We'll tell you about it!

April 03, 2011

Museum-management students editing on Wikipedia

Conxa Rodà, from Museu Picasso, is really engaged with the idea of GLAM-Wiki collaborations and has already started a wikiproject: 
Museu Picasso coordinates, with the Pompeu Fabra University, a post-graduate programme in museum management. We have started a Wikiproject where students must create or improve wikipedia museum-related entries. You can view Wikiproject page here (in Catalan).

Museum director, Pepe Serra, during a class

Appart from this, following the meeting GLAM-WIKI we just held, several institutions have contacted me. Mainly, these days I  have been solving very basic questions about how Wikipedia actually works, more than doing GLAM stuff. 

In my opinion, these are good news, because it shows that there are many curators and researchers interested on us. Museum proffessionals want to discover all about wikipedia categories, watchlists, policies and guidelines, and they are quite curious about it. Over the next several weeks I will meet all those people interested. I'll tell you about it!