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Stewardship in the Digital Age

Managing Museum and Library Collections for Preservation and Use

Day 1

The first day of the conference proper began with welcome messages from Dr. Anne-Imelda Radice, Director of IMLS; Jay Jordan, President and CEO of OCLC; and Dr, Ken Hamma, Executive Director, Digital Policy, J. Paul Getty Trust.

This was followed by the Keynote Presentation by Dr. Elizabeth Broun, Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Dr. Broun talked about the huge remodeling efforts at SAAM, as well as their new conservation lab which is open to the public. Much of the time, Dr. Broun spent discussing how they are changing the way they view exhibitions at the museum. In the past, these were top-down curator-driven affairs, most often focused on one artist. SAAM is now trying to look at what visitors want and trying to involve their customers:

  • SAAM wants a contribution of their customers knowledge (tagging?)
  • Old participation skills will be used in new ways
  • Conventional notions of trust are changing
  • Make everything findable
  • Publish everything
  • Build capacity

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is obviously struggling to forge a niche in the new interactive world we live in. The art museum of the past-which used passive viewing of pre-selected works-is changing to reflect today’s interactive world, and trying to involv its users in the process.