Participatory Museum

After reading The Participatory Museum, I learned about several different methods in museum approach. The first method of museum study is the differences between traditional and participatory institutions. A traditional institution focuses on the exhibits of the museum establishment to provide information and knowledge for guests, while the participatory institution is designed for “the institution to serve as a ‘platform’ that connects different users who act as content creators, distributors, consumers, critics, and collaborators.” (1) It insures different perspectives for the museum and its guests to experience what an institution has to offer, and utilize how to gather and process the data.   There are two main factors with these methods, as their opportunity for users to create original content for the museum is very low, and expressing one’s own opinion is natural, but many people are very shy about expressing their true feelings. There were other methods to discover in participation described in the following chapters, such as the styles of Phil Kaplan’s volleyball class. In his class, Kaplan focused on addressing everyone as separate beings, he was focused on assisting everyone, and provided lessons with which they could help one another. Another method of participation would be to provide audiences with an “audience-centered” introduction, by giving the audience an experience of a museum by exhibiting the material in the way the guests want to see or experience.  (2) Materials like maps or guided tours are not “audience-centered,” as they are controlled more by the institution, not by visitors. I personally would like to know how museums can make places more visitor controlled, if not by maps or exhibit information. “‘Pull content’ is a term educators use to designate information that learners actively seek or retrieve based on self-interest.” (3) I believe this tactic would be an excellent idea. It would be quite useful in helping visitors to seek information on their own in museums, and provide them with more, and in depth, information.

Many individuals believe that museums are not worth seeing because many people think that there is nothing more to see at a museum, other than what is currently there, especially if they have already visited. The more people that use an institution, the more popular it will become if they pass on good details to other individuals.  Our world is so widely communicative through social media, etc., that if people spread the news about certain exhibits, that would perhaps help museum attendance.  In the third chapter of the Participatory Museum, a new practice is described called the Network Effect. Numerous experts in academic studies believe this to be the supporting structure of many socializing methods. This method is described as follows: “1. Individuals have personalized interactions. They create content, make choices that generate data, or provide personal information in the form of profiles. 2. An internal algorithm makes connections among the individuals. That can mean sorting profiles by interests or types . . . 3. The network content is displayed or provided back to the individuals.” (4) A few exhibits in the world, including Near, an exhibit at the Hall of Science in New York is one example of the network effect. The real question is deciding when an object in a museum should be participatory. According to the book Participatory Museum, I have learned an object is participatory as follows:  “1. Desire for the input and involvement of outside participants. 2. Trust in participants’ abilities. 3. Responsiveness to participants’ actions and contributions.” (5) The difference in how a user can provide information is based on what he or she can provide, such as information on a form that they write down for providing to museum officials, or they can donate their own personal knowledge to be used in the museum.

The Participatory Museum, Chapter 1, Nina Simon.” (1)

The Participatory Museum, Chapter 2.” (2)

The Participatory Museum, Chapter 2.” (3)

The Participatory Museum, Chapter 3.” (4)

The Participatory Museum, Chapter 5.” (5)

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