Welcome to Digital Underground, one of many blogs at the Met.
"Blogs at the Met," you say? Perhaps, like many folks, you aren't yet aware of all the awesome digital output of the Museum. My goal in this post as well as in the weeks, months, and years ahead is to share with you all the digital work that goes on at the Met and The Cloisters.
It's been 21+ days since I joined the Met after 21+ years at Columbia University and the Graduate School of Journalism there. I see this as the latest step in a three-decade, one-way love affair with the world's greatest museum.
The top question I've gotten from people outside the Museum is: "What does a Chief Digital Officer do at a museum?" The title is cropping up across many kinds of institutions and means different things in different places. In my mind, the role is to help connect the physical museum experience with the digital, the in-person with online (I discussed this idea, using different contexts, in a TEDxNYed talk last year).
The Met, with its two million square feet of exhibition space and hundreds of thousands of objects on view at any time, can continue to build a virtuous circle between the physical and digital experiences. More than six million folks physically come to the Met and The Cloisters each year, and we have more than forty million visits (twenty million unique visitors) through various digital initiatives. How can the digital projects encourage more people to plan in-person visits, and how can the physical visit encourage more people to connect with the Met digitally?
I work with a terrific Digital Media team here that explores areas over which I obsess: web, social, mobile, video, email, data, geolocation, digital learning, and much more. There are teams working to ensure the information about the collections across seventeen curatorial departments is accurate and current. The Media Lab explores "ways that new technology can affect the museum experience for our staff and visitors, in our galleries, classrooms and online," as Don Undeen explains in this Digital Underground post.
In future posts, my colleagues and I will share some of the exciting new initiatives we're undertaking, as well as point out some of the pioneering and often fun projects that already exist.
I am convinced that for all the new things we might want to do, the key is to remember that we already have so much great content that can be repurposed, resurfaced, repositioned, and reintroduced to the world.
I hope you will take this opportunity to explore some of our great resources, including:
82nd & Fifth (One work, one curator, two minutes at a time)
Connections (Met staff members offer personal perspectives on works of art)
Artwork of the Day and our Collections database
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
Apps & Games
Met Around the World