#MWXX – my Top 12. A wrap up


#winteriscoming @labreatarpits

I seem to have a theme for reporting back from conferences – a Top 12! Having attended the recent twentieth Museum and the Web Conference in LA and coming back full of ideas and inspiration here’s the Top 12 picks that I will report on at today’s @ANMMuseum #BBL (our Brown Bag Lunch PD sessions for those not in the know).



#MWXX_1 MOOC workshop and talk – I’ve long felt that MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) will shake up the way higher education is delivered, but up until this stage was questioning how these might work for museums in a sustainable way. Attending the workshop run by @debhowes opened my eyes to a platform and process that could make this a reality. Ross Parry, et al’s paper, Why MOOCs matter: the consequence of Massive Open Online Courses for museums, universities and their publics, gave great insights into MOOCs as a vehicle for organisational change and re-thinking how programs are delivered online and onsite.

#MWXX_2 Online education research@darrenmilligan gave a great paper about the Smithsonian Learning Lab and, although that’s not really a model for us, his idea of teachers as downloaders AND uploaders held great appeal. Darren and Melissa’s 2015 paper reporting on the literature review of teachers and digital is also worth reading.

#MWXX_3 Twenty years of audience research – my paper gave me a chance to reflect on what I’ve learned throughout my twenty+ years’ experience in audience research. The published paper is online here and presentation notes here. Funnily enough, I think all the audience remembered was “spies, dinosaur sex and bull sharks”…

#MWXX_4 La Brea Tar Pits and Museum – I took an afternoon off to go and visit the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum in West Hollywood. What a great experience. It really did have it all, sights, smells, context, real people doing real science and dire wolves! The one let-down was their encouragement for social sharing by visitors, yet a less than adequate wireless infrastructure. There’s a big lesson for us all there.

#MWXX_5 Meeting Mairin Kerr. I’ve long followed Mairin’s work and used her @edigital resources at work and in my former teaching. So, it was a real thrill to meet IRL. Her demonstration of a crowd sourced Tumblr used by the Beatty Biodiversity Museum for their 5th anniversary was an inspired idea I thought we could maybe try for our 25th anniversary in 2017??

#MWXX_6 Museums for kids – the session on how to make museums awesome for kids was really inspiring and some good examples of getting kids deeply involved in product development at MoMA and the AMNH. Reminded me a lot of our work with the Coalition of Knowledge Building Schools while really taking that to a new level. Great stuff!

#MWXX_7 The future of museum digital literacy – there’s always one session that makes me cranky and do mean tweets and this was the one! Rather than repeat my rant check it out for yourselves here.

#MWXX_8 Museum #Instaswap – a really great session of Lightning Talks, with this the highlight presentation for me as an example of an innovative program that got buy-in across ten London institutions. And meeting @RussellDornan was a real treat!

#MWXX_9 Prototyping and organisational changeElissa Frankle’s lightning talk, Turning the battleship: Pilots in the holocaust Museum, reminded me that if a museum with such difficult subject matter can use prototyping as a way to encourage agility and think about organisation change, then all of us can. Elissa’s presentation is here.

#MWXX_10 Birds of a feather Breakfast – OK. I usually only go to these for the free breakfast but the chat about using Falk’s identity categories as a basis for surveying online audiences I felt had a lot of potential and was also, again, an example of museums across different locations working together. BTW here’s some blog posts I did about Falk’s identity work.

#MWXX_11 Open GLAM @Smithsonianarch – the lightning talk called Give it Away to Get Rich: The Virtuous Cycle of Open Cultural Heritage, by Effie Kapsalis, made it to my list but I can’t honestly remember why. I think, as with most of the papers in that session, it was just another good example of tech disrupting organisations and forcing them into change. Watch the film about the project here (note to self – when doing a seven-minute presso always use a film!). This quote is really worth thinking about: “The change in policy has freed up a number of staff members to concentrate on more mission-critical projects” Stanley Smith, Getty (via Effie). This is something I now realise I’d been unconsciously doing in my work – contracting out tasks that can be done easily by others in order to free up skilled staff’s time to work on projects that are needed and that make better use of their skill sets.

#MWXX_12 #museumstripes Of course it wouldn’t be a web conference without some Twitter silliness – after having many striped moments throughout the conference we declared Saturday as #museumstripes day and many rose to the challenge! A great way to end what was an inspiring, exhausting and stimulating conference.


#museumstripes meets #museumspots!

#MWXX_13 Slack – OK, so I’ve added another one. I discovered Slack pretty recently (yes, I am behind the times!). The reason I mention it was that we were actively using Slack for a mobile app dev project with the team and the developers based in Sydney while I was in LA – meaning that I could keep track of all the updates and progress without having to wade through countless emails. A tool I’m continuing to experiment with (and here’s the link to the app we developed if you’re interested).

There were many other great moments that I couldn’t add to this list, but Nancy’s #MWXX wrap-up with links can be found here so you can explore for yourselves.

Kudos to Nancy, Rich, Titus and Hiroko and best of luck to them all in their new ventures.


2 thoughts on “#MWXX – my Top 12. A wrap up

  1. Russell Dornan says:

    Reblogged this on Wunderkammer and commented:
    Last month I was lucky enough to visit LA for the Museums and the Web #MWXX conference. It was an intense and interesting week, filled with museum visits, talks, workshops and meeting some great people from all over the world. I presented a talk myself, albeit a 7-minute long Lightning Talk, about #MuseumInstaSwap, the Instagram project a few of us did last year.

    This is a wrap up of the conference by Lynda Kelly, who kindly mentions my talk as one of her highlights. One of mine was meeting Lynda, so I’m very happy to be listed in eighth in her top 12.

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