Thursday, September 18, 2014

Refreshing the Blog Roll

Guzel and I took some time this week to review and refresh the CFM Blog roll (see right-hand column). These blogs are some of my “go to” sources each week for news and thoughtful commentary. In addition to checking URLs, deleting a few blogs that weren’t posting very often (or had changed focus), we added four, all great, and I recommend them for your reading list, too.

First, to inform your thinking about museums and social justice (the focus of the Alliance’s 2015 annual meeting) keep an eye on The Incluseum: a blog dedicated to encouraging social inclusion in museums. I met the coordinators of this site, Aletheia Wittman and Rose Paquet Kinsley, at their home base in Seattle last year. They use their blog to share resources (like the recent post on the ArtMuseumTeaching.com series on multiculturalism in museums); interviews (such as their conversation with William Harris about the release of the Alliance’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy); stories of inclusive practice at museums (c.f. Santa Cruz MAH’s pop up museums); and essays by academics and practitioners (such as Hannah Hong Frelot’s manifesto “Seven Ways to make the Museum System a Better Place for People of Color.”)

One blog favorite I’ve recommended before, but neglected, until now, to include in the roll, is Lucy Bernholtz’s Philanthropy 2173. (Its name is a nod to Woody Allen’s Sleeper, which is set in that year ). Lately, Lucy has been focusing on the ethical and cultural issues of digital data, including the implications of current events and musings on how data will change philanthropy.  It’s also worth browsing her older posts—a good library of essays and commentary on a range of topics in philanthropy: charitable giving, impact investing, politics & policy, not to mention her hilarious recurring feature, “Philanthropy Buzzwords.” (Which reassured me that yes, I can giggle when someone says “philanthrocapitalism.”)

AMNH MicroMuseum Session, from the Mooshme Blog
The last two additions to the list report from the front lines of museum practice. Barry Joseph, Associate Director for Digital Learning uses Moosha Moosha Mooshme to share his latest projects at the American Museum of Natural History. Games design, augmented reality, 3D scanning and printing—Barry has the kids in the AMNH Youth Initiatives mastering skills many museum staff will envy. Thanks to Barry, I understand how Minecraft is more than just a video game. It’s a whole virtual world in which you can grow trees. And dinosaurs. When I’m populating the “Museum Examples” sections of TrendsWatch for technology trends, I often peek at Mooshme to see what Barry is up to.

Ed Rodley of the Peabody Essex Museum shares his thoughts on a wide range of topics at Thinking About Museums. To get hooked on Ed’s commentary, just read his “Tilting at Windmills” series from last fall on immersion, experience and participation, and picture taking in the museum. Ed also reviews exhibits (like Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gallery One) and does a fabulous job of reporting out from conferences such as Museums & the Web and AAM—if you can’t attend, peering over his digital shoulder is often the next best thing.

I also hope you are following the Code|Words Project on Medium, an experimental blogging /publishing project that Ed instigated along with Rob Stein and Suse Cairns. Ed’s own recent contribution to that collection is “The Virtues of Promiscuity, or Why giving it away is the future,” urging museums to loosen our control of digital assets in order to spread our shared cultural heritage. “Survival,” he observes, “lies in the widest, most promiscuous spread of the cultural seeds we steward and create.”

Speaking of promiscuous ideas, these blogs are a pretty good way of spreading gametes of information across the web. I hope they fertilized thoughts that you, in turn, will share through your own social media, or at the water cooler.

And please use the comments section below to share URLs for your favorite blogs, and why you love them.

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