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Biomedicine in museums

Online spaces that escape the digital wall of the offical museum website

By October 4, 2008No Comments

Kostas Arvanitis at the Centre for Museology, University of Manchester, draws attention to the proliferation of museum blogs at the Manchester Museum. More and more members of staff are creating blogs “to reflect upon their own work, offer a glimpse of what happens ‘behind the scenes’ and invite people to voice their views about all these”.

Currently Manchester Museum staffers run seven: Egypt at the Manchester Museum, Lindon Man blog, Myths about Race, Our City blog, En-quire blog, Palaeomanchester and Frog blog. More might come.

As Kostas points out these are not part of the museum’s official website, but individual blogs, hosted on different platforms. Vice versa, visitors to the official website are invited to visit the staff blogs. In Kostas’ words, they open

‘new spaces’ where the Museum takes place; online spaces that escape the ‘digital walls’ of the official website of the Museum.

Kostas’ comment relates to the question about the relation between individual blogs and institutional communication that I raised in an earlier criticism of Batts, Anthis, and Smith’s paper on bridging the gap between blogs and academia. In other words, the issue here is not ‘blogs vs. website’. It’s not a question of platform. What’s at stake is individual vs. institutional online presence.

Would be interesting to see how other museums have solved the balance. For example, the staff at the National Museum of Health and Medicine run a joint private blog (A Repository for Bottled Monsters) which, as far as I can see, isn’t acknowledged on the museum’s official website. And here at Medical Museion we are currently runnng two joint staff blogs: this one in English and Museionblog in Danish, but maybe some staff members wish to start on their own — in that case I guess we would link to these from the official website.

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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