MEET is the annual gathering of educators, evaluators and technologists working across the cultural sector, held in conjunction with the AMaGA conference. This year the theme for MEET was Looking Forward, Looking Back – learnings from offering digital education programs. Abstracts are here.

There were many lessons learned across all presentations, summarised below.

From the Art Gallery of South Australia:

  • Educators completely flipped to online programs
  • Crucial principles – collaboration and building relationships, engaging with artists, low tech materials for accessibility and access to recordings and resources
  • Tech approach to streaming was keep it simple!
  • You can make money from selling online resources (there’s some lovely products here)
  • Their programs had a far-wider reach than any on-site program, and they will continue to offer online workshops

From the National Wool Museum, Geelong:

  • Moved a Maker’s Festival to a completely online event
  • What worked:
    • 16,000+ page visits compared to possible 500 program attendees
    • Utilising the opportunity to develop digital programs
    • Supporting artists to transition to digital
    • Stop motion for crafts
    • Partnerships utilising skills and resources
    • Public gallery for sharing (39 pieces)
    • Reusing materials – thinking multiple use
  • What needed more work:
    • Login for courses
    • Live online events
    • Protection of intellectual property
    • Being seen amongst the flood of digital experiences
    • Shorter than desired visit time (1.46)
    • Integration with existing online presence

From the National Museum of Australia:

  • Stay agile!
  • Legacies of digital programming after exhibition is closed
  • Teacher engagement opportunities
  • Connecting our education products: online, onsite, digital excursions and outreach
  • Also, that the visitor profile to their online Endeavour Voyage exhibition was (eerily!) almost identical to those who manage to see the exhibition in its physical form

From LyndaKellyNetworks (i.e., me!):

Is price a barrier to visiting museums?

  • Yes:
    • Both a real issue for some, and a perception issue for others
    • They just can’t afford it – especially for families and large groups
    • Perception that the whole day out is expensive, especially when factor in things like food and parking
  • And, No:
    • Don’t have the time to visit
    • They haven’t ‘got around to it’
    • Don’t know enough about the museum
    • Not interested in the content; or worry not family-friendly
    • COVID concerns visiting public places, coupled with using public transport, social distancing and touching
  • Overall, for those that can travel, the physicality of the visit is key; for those unable to travel, digital is key:
    • But still don’t consider that digital content is worth paying for
    • Unless (for teachers) it is a digital excursion, or high-quality resources (e.g., catalogues)
    • Or a theatre / symphony performance (or equivalent, for example)

Australian Museum and Galleries Association, Multimedia and Publication Design Awards 2021 Judging Highlights and Feedback:

  • There was so much gold in this presentation I suggest you look at the whole slide deck here.

We also had great presentations from:

  • MOD. A move to a completely online exhibition has given them the confidence to offer wholly online exhibitions in the future
  • National Portrait Gallery – main lesson invest in good video content and your audience won’t even know it’s a green screen! And, their teachers will pay for digital excursions
  • MoAD who experimented with:
    • Short, sharp digital resources to support teachers in the classroom or remote learning
    • Accessible content similar format – background, story, call to action activity
    • Drawing on objects, spaces and stories to engage students

My final reflections:

  • We can (and should) be offering a remote option for conference delegates and presenters (we managed but it was a bit wild!)
  • GLAM folks are amazingly agile and positive and willing to try new things
  • Overall, MEET is a great forum!!

For more learnings from the GLAM sector check out this blog post, What the Australian GLAM Sector learned from the pandemic.

We hope to see you at #MEET2022 – fingers crossed!

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