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Biomedicine in museums

Biomedicine on Omeka? Are we drawing closer to a blog-and-exhibition fusion genre?

By February 24, 2008No Comments

Should this blog change its name to ‘Biomedicine on Omeka’? Maybe not literally, but the newly released web-exhibition platform Omeka (a Swahili word meaning “to display goods or wares”) provides food for thought and imagination.


Omeka is developed by the George Mason University Center for History and New Media, whose Director, Dan Cohendescribes it as a “WordPress for your exhibits and collections”. The Omeka platform uses the same type of theme-switching and plugin architecture that is used by blog platforms like ours (WordPress), but it also includes features that are of special interest for museums, for example, the opportunity to build narrative exhibits with apparently easily changeable layouts. The plugin architecture will probably invite designers to add a host of new interesting functionalities. As Cohen says, “The Omeka team is eager to build a large and robust community of open-source developers around this suite of technologies”.

This apparently looks like an answer to our earlier prayers for a combined blog and exhibition platform! Yet the really hard case—adding blog qualities to physical exhibitions (see earlier discussion here)—seems to be a more distant goal. Is Omeka really a step towards a future blog-and-exhibition fusion genre? Or should we rather begin to think the other way around: in terms of blog features transformed to the physical exhibition medium?

Erik asks (in Swedish) how it comes that so many cool new software things these days get African or Pacific names?

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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