In a blog post entitled The Participatory Museum published last week, Historypin’s Nick Stanhope and Nick Poole of Collections Trust examine the emergence of “a very simple but very important new idea about the social and professional function of museums.”
While the two Nick’s come from rather different worlds, “Nick Poole from work around cultural collections and Nick Stanhope from work in local communities,” together they look at how “web 2.0” standards are maturing into a much more sophisticated engagement approach for cultural heritage.
What emerges is a participatory museum, which uses the skills of curatorship, documentation and preservation to work with audiences to develop social capital. The museum benefits because it gets its collections digitised, tagged, shared and used. The user benefits because they can both make a material contribution to their culture and acquire new skills in the process. Society benefits because people go through their lives with a personal understanding of and attachment to the work we do.