Openlab is convening an unconference, talks, and a planning workshop in Washington, DC on December 1-2 to “to accelerate the speed and impact of transformational change in the GLAM (gallery, library, archive, and museum) sector” in order to “to increase and disseminate knowledge; to encourage civic dialogue and engagement; and to support individuals in their right to access and participate in culture.” The brain child of Michael Peter Edson of the Smithsonian, much of OpenLab’s work seems to be focused on using digital technologies to solve age-old questions, such as “what needs to change in galleries, libraries, archives, and museums?” and “what is missing in the current funding and support landscape for GLAMs and the humanities?” It’s all a bit nebulous and unclear, but that’s the core nature of an unconference. Nevertheless, it’s one of many concurrent efforts to increase the impact of museums in society (and yes, we’re still in the fragmented stage).
The first day on December 1 (today) is the unconference and a series of Ignite talks from 2-7 pm in Arlington, Virginia that’s free and open to the public. The second day, however, is by invitation only and devoted to small group planning. OpenLab has attracted the support of the American Alliance of Museums, American Library Association, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Society of American Archivists. A quick scan of the participating institutions shows a diversity of institutions, mostly large and mostly from the Mid-Atlantic. Looks like no museums or historic sites west of Minnesota, south of Virginia, or north of Connecticut will be attending in person.
The Ignite talks (I’m assuming these are short provocative TED-like talks) will be streamed live via YouTube starting at 5:30 pm Eastern today, plus you can follow what’s happening on Twitter using #openlabworkshop. For those working at historic sites, you might be most interested in Eli Pousson at Baltimore Heritage discussing a new online school focused on local historic preservation.
Thanks to Lee Wright at The History List for alerting me to this event!