Defining Open Authority

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

4 years ago 1 note Children's Museum of Indianapolis museums Indianapolis British Museum Wikipedia Smithsonian

@Wikipedia & @TCMIndy

So what exactly am I doing at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis? I promised a blog post with more details, so here it is!

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is embarking on something of a cutting edge relationship with Wikipedia, something that only the smart a handful of museums in the world have begun to consider. My role as a museum studies graduate student, coupled with my new found enthusiasm for Wikipedia,  put me in a position to coordinate this museum-Wikipedia collaboration (thanks to the efforts of Angie McNew & Liam Wyatt).

I am not editing Wikipedia articles as part of this project. Rather, I am assisting with a photo and research content donation from the Children’s Museum to Wikimedia.  I have been working with museum staff to locate images, multimedia, and especially research materials, that will be helpful for Wikipedia contributors to use in updating articles. This goes beyond articles that relate specifically to the museum to include a boundless amount of topics, from astronomy and dinosaurs to historic figures and archaeology.

What’s the most unique about this collaboration is that the Children’s Museum is not focused on the quantifiable outcomes that will impact them. (These include, most notably, increased traffic to their website through external link click-throughs originating in Wikipedia). While this is certainly a perk, they are truly focused on simply sharing their resources. As the largest children’s museum in the world, their 110,000-piece collection of artifacts is an invaluable source of information that could be shared on Wikipedia, and as such, with a much (much) wider audience than can experience it in person. Likewise, the Children’s Museum is chock full of hardworking staff that research day in and day out on the content presented through their in-house (and traveling!) exhibits. This research can be made available to Wikipedia where, after the exhibit ends, it can continue to be seen by a worldwide audience, rather than the inside of a filing cabinet.

To contextualize a bit, this project is considered a part of a larger worldwide effort to promote museum-Wikipedia collaboration. Known as GLAM, Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums, it is spearheaded by Liam Wyatt who was the first Wikipedian in Residence at the British Museum. (If you’ve ever read my blog, you know as much). In addition to the British Museum, other collaborations include the Powerhouse Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and even the Smithsonian, to name a few. I’d like to think the world’s largest children’s museum has a place amongst these heavy hitters in the Wikipedia revolution. Don’t you?

So, there you have it. Museum staff is getting excited. Wikipedians are getting excited. Shoot, Wikimedia staff is getting excited! …and so am I.

More later, but in the meantime, if you’d like (even more) details about the project, check out

Post Notes

  1. hstryqt posted this
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