Defining Open Authority

An attempt to illustrate, define, & discuss the intersection between museum
authority & participatory digital culture. | Ask me about museums & Wikipedia.

2 months ago 7 notes open authority museums musetech culture

kineticmuseumsReblogged from kineticmuseums

Have museums always been "authoritative?"

kineticmuseums:

But more and more I’m bothered by this concept of “authority” in the way we use it. I kind of like the word trust more. Partially because trust is something you have to earn, whereas it seems like authority is something we feel that we’re owed as institutions, and I don’t think that’s healthy.

A great provocation from Koven around the idea of Open Authority. I think that the ideas of trust and authority are really intertwined, and I personally like the word “trust” in and of itself, more than I do “authority.”

I believe that the differentiation in the terms, within this context, lies in the audience that they’re being directed towards. Open Authority was developed as a means to define something that museum professionals were grappling with (sort of scared of?), in an effort to illustrate to those museum professionals that sharing control can be the best of both worlds. That definition (and term) isn’t necessarily meant to be directed to the public. To the public, the idea of trust and openness will resonate more than the term “authoritative” necessarily would.

I’m really excited about this revelation and can’t wait to dig into it more with all of you brainy people out there. (DO read Koven’s post in its entirety.) Thoughts?

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6 months ago 4 notes birthdays personal reflections mentors growing up

Goodbye 20s, hello 30s. And a reminder to hug your mentor

…Or high-five your mentor, or send them a thoughtful note. Whichever is appropriate for you. I happen to prefer hugs. 

I’m also lucky and blessed to not just have just a mentor, but to have many mentors. I’m (naturally) in a reflective mood as I embark on my 30s here in a couple of hours. My 20s, like anyone’s, held a shocking number of happy, life-changing events—motherhood being by far the most significant. Anyone who knows my hilarious five-almost-six-year-old understands why he’s forever and truly my pride and joy. But beyond Teddy, it’s my twisty, curvy, amazing adventure of a career that has made my 20s so darn interesting. And that leads me to think of my many mentors, who, each and every one, have believed in me more than I believed in myself at times. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without them, so it seems fitting to make a bit of a public thanks—a virtual hug, so to speak.

The most amazing part of it all is that 10 years ago my current job didn’t exist (it didn’t exist 5 years ago). I knew I wanted to educate, that I loved history and culture, and kids, and I also happened to be pretty geeky about online communities from the get-go. I could never have imagined how those all would come back to perfectly intertwine in the end—but in hindsight it all makes perfect sense.

So begins my incredible list of mentors, with thanks…

Reggie Moore: The social studies teacher who gave me my educator wings. She told me I could do it, I believed her, and I did it. Reggie, you’re one of those special educators who makes a lasting impact on your students. I’ve always considered myself lucky to have had you help me not only in my education, but in my career.

Cheryl Phillips: The big-thinking elementary educator who knew I could think big too, and took me along for the ride. Cheryl, you wheeled and dealed (repeatedly) to ensure others saw my potential. Those opportunities led me to where I am today, and know that I’m so thankful that you made such efforts for me.

Lori Sparks: The smart and caring coffee-shop-customer-turned-best-friend. Lori, I’ll never forget the day that you told me about The Compass School and insisted it was perfect for me. My year at Compass changed my life, and I have you to thank for it. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Jenny Mikulay: The intuitive professor who encouraged me to dream big and conquer my fears. Jenny, when I left the classroom, it was hard for me to envision how I’d make a difference in this field. Your encouragement gave me the confidence to pursue my new path, even before I knew what the end result would be. Now I see it. Thank you.

Richard McCoy: The wisecracking change-maker who dragged me along for the ride (possibly kicking and screaming). Richard, you singlehandedly created more opportunities for me than seems humanly possible. Really all I can say is—thank you for believing in me. And for forcing me to (miraculously) get over my fear of public speaking.

Angie McNew: The forwardthinking museum-job-fairy-godmother who guided me into the (geeky) limelight. Angie, I’ll never know how you convinced an entire museum to wholeheartedly embrace me and this crazy Wikipedia idea, but you did. Then you saw me for more than that, and helped shape the job I have todaywhich is perfect. Thank you.

Modupe Labode: The steady, open minded professor and advisor who showed me I can write about, even spearhead, museum theory. Modupe, you have a quiet way of empowering students to take hold of their ideas. You always know what kind of help I need, and when. Thank you for helping me shape my thoughts. They’re going places.

Andrew Lih: The supportive Wiki-family patriarch and advocate and champion of all things GLAM. Andrew, you are incredible in your ability to spot the next rising star and encourage them until they succeed. You know this community inside and out, and I couldn’t have completed my year in its “formal service” without you. I’m lucky that you found me.

Ed Rodley: The brilliant mind who makes those around him feel brilliant too, and who is likely shocked he’s on this list. But Ed, you shouldn’t be shocked! I’d consider you my newest mentor (I collect them, can you tell?) It’s your interest and enthusiasm that has given me the momentum to continue on past mere grad school requirements. I see a future in our legitimately-not-crazy ideas, and I can’t wait for the journey ahead.

And alongside these mentors (see how awesomely lucky I am?) I also have a few peers who have impacted the past years just as much as those listed above. Jenny, EmilyColleen, Suse, Liam, and of course Dominic, you each have embraced me for my socially awkward quirks and love me because of them, you hear of my (and our) trials and stresses and celebrate our successes, and you encourage me to grow every day. Thank you for being there. <3

Also, because your mom is always your first mentor, I will say simply… Mom, I’m more like you with every year that passes, and I couldn’t be prouder to say that.

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7 months ago 1 note open authority museums community musetech

Radical Open Authority: When Life Happens and Museums Respond

I so appreciate Gretchen Jennings’ reflections on open authority, where she dives deeper into the role of museums as conveners of community and conversation after “life happens.” 

And her suggestion for how to more purposefully address the demands of open authority?…

We in this profession are used to being considered and careful in rolling out any initiative. But as our world moves more and more quickly, we should shape our internal systems so that when our community needs us we can be there—the forethought and consideration having already been done through advance planning and systems in place.  

The examples in this blog post reminded me of why we’re doing what we’re doing. Sometimes I fall into just looking to that next publication or conference as a way to move an idea forward, forgetting what’s at the heart of the idea. But what’s at the heart of the idea, I’m being reminded often, really matters. 

When things get stressful in my office we often try to put things in perspective by saying, “We’re not saving babies here, people.” But then I have a moment like tonight when I really think about what’s at the heart of our idea: re-establishing the museum as a safe haven for open conversations, for sharing, and for building our communities. Add to that all of the brilliant minds that I have by my side, all working together to scream from the rooftops, “open UP, museums!” and it hits me—we are making a difference. And we’re so lucky to be able to say that.

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7 months ago 4 notes open authority museums musetech community

This interview with Nick Poole, CEO Collections Trust, is so chock full of open authority goodness I just can’t even stand it. 

Here are some snippets, but I strongly encourage watching the full video. It’s well worth it. (And okay maybe I went a little crazy with the snippets.)

People are walking in and they’re equal to the institution. And so it’s no longer enough to say, “well we have this amazing stuff, and we’re going to show it to you.” We have to say, “We have this amazing stuff with you. We’re going to find out more about it, we’re going to learn about it.” And so that means that the really stylized experience of a museum…just doesn’t work anymore for the way people expect to be able to engage with the services.

It’s entirely a model built around a one-directional model, and now we’re talking about a conversation, and a conversation that happens everywhere, in real time. And so part of the idea about being responsive is really doing our job as cultural heritage institutions by making ourselves open to that kind of dialogue, rather than saying you will come and you will benefit from coming to my museum. 

It doesn’t mean less culture, and it doesn’t mean less authority, but it means more value and more sharing...

…To me, what technology does is enables you to unlock the whole of the museum experience for the user. By pointing this window (tablet, etc.) in their hands…you empower them with the capability to interpret the knowledge and the intellectual content of that experience. And then more than that.you allow them to open up their own voice into that experience. You allow them to not just sense the history that came before them in the room, but you enable them to become a participant in their history, to leave footprints, essentially, on the experience.

This is about permanent, irrevocable culture change in the museum sector. And it’s about saying if we start to be open to these experiences, if we start to become part of our community rather than offering things to the public, that means we will ultimately become more relevant, more loved, more useful, more interesting, more engaging for people.

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7 months ago 93 notes

usnatarchivesReblogged from usnatarchives

todaysdocument:


"…the purpose of the Archives is to make all these records accessible but it’s unusual for us to do it with Twitter and Tumblr and all the rest, but I firmly believe the founders would have been very happy about that."
-Cokie Roberts’ remarks during the Records of Rights reveal this morning

At Today’s Document we’re working to make it much much less unusual to share our records on Tumblr &amp; Twitter (and the rest…). But be sure to check out the new Records of Rights exhibit in person if you can!
usnatarchives:

This morning was the Big Reveal for the first document to be displayed in our new Records of Rights exhibit!  Deputy Archivist Debra Wall (in yellow) and journalist Cokie Roberts revealed the 14th Amendment at our tweet up. The public voted online, and the 14th Amendment received over half the votes. The other documents from the vote will be displayed in the David M. Rubenstein Gallery over the upcoming year. Come and visit us: http://www.archives.gov/nae/visit/rubenstein-gallery.html

todaysdocument:

"…the purpose of the Archives is to make all these records accessible but it’s unusual for us to do it with Twitter and Tumblr and all the rest, but I firmly believe the founders would have been very happy about that."

-Cokie Roberts’ remarks during the Records of Rights reveal this morning

At Today’s Document we’re working to make it much much less unusual to share our records on Tumblr & Twitter (and the rest…). But be sure to check out the new Records of Rights exhibit in person if you can!

usnatarchives:

This morning was the Big Reveal for the first document to be displayed in our new Records of Rights exhibit!

Deputy Archivist Debra Wall (in yellow) and journalist Cokie Roberts revealed the 14th Amendment at our tweet up.

The public voted online, and the 14th Amendment received over half the votes.

The other documents from the vote will be displayed in the David M. Rubenstein Gallery over the upcoming year. Come and visit us: http://www.archives.gov/
nae/visit/rubenstein-gallery.html

Download high-res photo

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8 months ago 6 notes open authority open GLAM open content mcn2013 museums digital humanities museum tech

5easypiecesReblogged from 5easypieces

Koven responds to the Open Authority spectrum & the Reggio Emilia model

5easypieces:

I’m listening to Lori Byrd talk about the Reggio Emilia learning model as a possible framework for implementing Open Authority in museums and similar institutions. I was struck by something she said that was a component of that model, which is that the teachers learn along with the students, rather than “dumbing down” the material. How amazing would it be for museums to interact with their communities in this way? Think of a curator looking at visitor interaction as a way of increasing his or her knowledge, rather than simply dispensing it. Yowza.

I’ve always had issues with the word “engagement”—I feel like we toss it around without really having a clear definition of what it means, but this model, to me, finally looks like what I think we really want when we use that word. I just wonder whether we have the courage to attempt it.

So thrilled to see this resonate with Koven and others today, here on the final day of Museum Computer Network. Tons of great conversation about the ideas around open authority that I need to still fully digest. My main takeaway right now is that I adore the museum tech community and how supportive, constructively critical, and brilliant they all are.

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8 months ago 1 note

An Open Authority debate? Questioning 3D mashups

Both Suse Cairns (linked above) and Koven Smith have great responses. The discussion is already so rich, I’m just going to leave it at “Enough said!”

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