Today is the start of #museumselfie day on Twitter where we are encouraged to “… share a#MuseumSelfie – whether you work in a museum, are a museum mascot or one of the lovely visitors – post your pictures using the tag on January 22nd!” More from @CultureThemes here and @MarDixon here. It has also led to some interesting musings about visitors taking photos in (mostly art) museums and the merits, or otherwise, of this practice. Ed Rodley’s piece, Tilting at Windmills Part Three, gives an excellent and comprehensive overview of the issue, raising a whole lot of questions I hadn’t thought about before (and a range of really useful links). Ed has also added More Photography links which are a fun read. In her annual wrap-up of trends, Internet futurist Mary Meeker noted that “… people are now sharing 500 million photos each day and that number is poised to double year on year.” (emphasis added)
So, photography in museums is here to stay. Instead of lamenting it, as both Rodley and Nina Simon point out, museums can use this as much-loved behaviour as an opportunity to involve their visitors while also seeing what grabs their attention.
Finally, it’s worth noting that “selfie” was the Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 word of the year, “… with the earliest usage [recorded] as far back as 2002”, attributed to a drunken Aussie: Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer [sic] and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.
So Aussie museum folks – that’s certainly something to celebrate!!