Blogging is a new form of communication, often falling somewhere between professional journalism and personal journaling. There are lots of people who love museums and historic sites, and they’ve spawned lots of blogs devoted exclusively to them (including this one). To give you a sense of this specialized blogosphere, Jamie Glavic at Museum Minute has conducted more than seventy (70!) interviews with museum bloggers.
Last month at the American Alliance of Museums annual meeting in Seattle, Jamie convened an informal gathering of a dozen museum bloggers to meet and chat about their work over morning coffee. I wasn’t able to catch everyone’s name, but the conversation included Rowanne Henry of Museum Stories, Chris O’Connor of the Royal BC Museum, Ed Rodley of Thinking About Museums, Jennifer Foley of Runs with Visitors, Scott Tennent at Unframed, Annelisa Stephan at the Getty Museum, and Kellian Adams at Green Door Labs.
I noticed that most of them were educators, not curators, conservators, collections managers, or administrators, which launched a discussion about the circumstances that seem to be creating this social media distinction in the museum field, including:
- curators and conservators don’t consider blogging as scholarship; it’s not regarded equal to an article or exhibit catalog for measuring job performance or professional development.
- blogs provide a place where educators can be heard and voice their opinions; curators dominate conversations in museums
- blogs require a different type of writing; curators use a language couched in academia, which usually isn’t suitable for blogs
- blogging isn’t a priority for the organization
- blogging doesn’t work well in the institutional culture of museums; blogging requires some comfort with risk and letting go
What do you think? Does the cultural divide between educators and curators continue online? Are the distinctions around museum blogging accurate and true? Share your thoughts in the comments below.