Tate Trumps

We have been talking briefly about the phone application Tate Trumps in the class on Friday and I have judged the application rather quickly and said its not really good. Today, I have actually took the time to go to Tate Modern (since I am spending time in London) and try the version of the game where a user can actually play in the museum.

I gave up rather quickly, knowing what more or less is the application about and having some background knowledge. I saw the app rather as a tool of digital mediation that the museum tried to set with user, than a fun game. And since most of the art pieces I have chosen were not included in the game, I got mad and closed the app. However, my friend who has probably never been into Tate during his five years in London took over and was so keen to find some artwork that would actually be also in the app that he started running around Tate and seeing the art. In that moment, I realised that the app actually works and it is nice tool to engage the user to go around museum, read the text about artist and just browse around. It is a nice way to discover art in a little different ways, really helpful for those who find the art boring by itself and would not necessary go to museum (like my friend). I actually caught him playing the game even after we left the museum.

So for those of you who were interested in the app and listen to me, when I said it is a waste of time and horrible app, I am sorry and I change my mind  because I saw the way it actually worked in real life.

Museums and copyright

After reading the article Social Work by Pam Meechan, I was left wondering about the question of copyright. I have waited til class if we will maybe touch upon this topic but we did not so I decided to write my last blog post about this.

First, let me start with the quote from Meechan’s text that made me start thinking about this whole copyright issue

”A rush to digitize collections sees most museums with online, copyright-free collections. Faced with the impossibility of tracking the misuse of images, many museums and galleries have relinquished copyright except for blatantly commercial purposes. The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore in 2012 removed copyright restrictions  for more than 10 thousand images.”

After reading this part and Meechan’s article in general and his thought about digitization of museums and the artwork of museums, I was wondering where we should actually draw the ‘copyright line’? Are museums breaking copyright by putting their art works online, by doing virtual tours? Are visitors breaking copyright by taking pictures and posting them online? Is there even a proper way to track the copyright in this age?

World intellectual property organization (WIPO) published a 72 pages long document about the issue of museums and copyright. It is free for download at their pages and it is definitely interesting if someone wants to read more into it. This manual also addresses the issue of copyright in the digital age, which is getting more and more complicated. This is why WIPO states, that there is not a model for every museum but in the future the copyright will be check individually as it is such a complicated topic.

It is apparent, however, even from the type of work conducted with profit-oriented companies, that a “one-size-fits-all” model will not work, particularly given the digital divide that exists between economies in the industrial and developing countries. Instead, a program or service where experts, engaged specifically for this task, are able to assess each opportunity on a case-by-case basis would greatly enhance the respect for the IP system and educate owners and users about IP. (WIPO’s own integrity as an organization and its ability to harness a vast wealth of knowledge about IP can only assist in this regard.) It is by these means that WIPO will ensure that museums have their issues addressed as the interpreters, repositories and distributors of the vast intellectual wealth of society.

But with such a dynamic growth of the internet age and digital art, will there come a time where we will eventually lose the sense of copyright completely?

Museums and Libraries

After reading the article “Museums as Agents of Social Inclusion” by Richard Sandell, I have started wondering how museums are actually like libraries. I have a degree in Librarianship so I can view a lot similarities between museum and libraries but what I have never thought before is actually the “social inclusion” that museums offer to their visitors. (Maybe this things has been discussed in class in more details or maybe my points are completely wrong in this article but as I have missed the class, I do not know what was said so I am bringing you this article.)

Before getting to the social inclusion part that I would like to comment on. I would like to quote Howard Besser and his text from 2004 where he states what is the difference between museums and libraries (he also talks about archives which I left behind in the further commentary as I have no in depth knowledge about the this field in general). I really like the differences he points out between these institutions.

“The traditional library is based upon the individual item, but it is generally no unique. Archives manage groups of works and focus on maintaining a particular context for the overall collection, Museums collect specific objects and provide curatorial context for each of them. These distinctions of the fundamental unit that is collected and why affect each institution’s acquisition policy, cataloging, preservation, and presentation to the public.

Both libraries and museums are repositories, but libraries are user-driven. The role of the library is to provide access to a vast amount of material through which the user freely roams, making his/her own connections between works.  The user chooses which items to look at.  Museums, on the other hand, are curator-driven. Historically, they have only provided access to limited holdings, usually exhibited through a particular interpretation or context, as provided by curatorial and educational staff. The museum provides a framework of context and interpretation, and the user can navigate within that smaller body.”

What I like about Sandell’s article is that he actually differens between three kinds of social inclusion museums which are the: the inclusive museum, the museum as agent of social regenaration and the museum as vehicle for broad social change. Each of these museums have certain goal as to achieve cultural inclusion, improbe quality of live for individual or influence positive social change. These goals are achieved through various things such as public debates, education, enoucaring personal development and access for those who were excluded. This is what makes in my eyes a museum a community center which is one of the most important function of libraries as well.

Maybe these things seem obvious for someone but I have personally never thought of a museum as community center which is why this article left such a huge impact of me and made me think how libraries and museums are actually alike and how many functions have their in common.

Also, for someone who has not studies librarianship before, this is an interesting article about how libraries actually influence the whole community in the given place: http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2013/04/community-centered-23-reasons-why-your-library-is-the-most-important-place-in-town/

What points would you say that libraries share with museums?

Interactive experience

“Visitors are under no obligation to engage with free-choice exhibition enviroments…and yet, they do.” – T. Roppola

On Friday we have talked in the class about the “Contextual model of learning” by Falk and Dierking and how this models can influence the museum experience, more specifically how to properly understand museum from the point of view of the visitors. This model was developed in the year 1992 and long time has passed since then. Yet, I still believe that this model is not outdated and can be used.

I would like to use this model on a Museum of Selfies that I have presented in the last post and tried to apply this model to this museum. This post will be my thinking (writing) out loud. And more for me to try to understand the model properly  rather than for ‘knowledge-gain’ by my blog readers (fellow students).

Contextual model of learning consists of three categories: physical, social and personal.Physical context corresponds to the structure of exhibition, its architecture, selection and exhibition. It is build according to who is the exhibition for and who is the ideal visitor. I think this context is really important for the Museum of Selfies because the structure of exhibition and the exhibition itself must be very well thought through in order for visitors to take a lot of photogenic pictures with the work of art. The display style must be approachable and literally screams “take a picture with me”. Therefore, I believe that the physical context is almost the most important in this case because if the exhibition would not be convincing from this context, the motivation for visitors would decline and badly recieved.

“Design as an integral part of visitor experience, implications for structuring the nature of visitor experience – rather than simply providing a more or less attractive medium for presenting content” Macdonald, 2007

With the social context it really matters in what company are we visiting this museums with. Is it people who are against taking pictures with museums? Or people who want to take pictures of everything there is? I believe that the good company of ‘fellow photographers’ is very important while visiting this museum. Otherwise, the full experience of this museum will not be reached.

When speaking about personal context, we are speaking about the subjective knowledge and prejudice. Furthermore, about the motivations, expectations, interests and beliefs prior to the museum visit. Of course two people will never have the exactly same personal context. However, while visiting the Selfie Museum, I believe that people with instagram, sense of humour and good outfit might have the best experience.

I wrote this article as I was thinking that it will be interesting to see the model in a real life example and I would definitely want to see some of my fellow students try as well.

The era of selfies

We have touched upon this topic in class many times but even if we didn’t, I think I would still chose this topic to write a blog post about. It is important to state in the beginning that I am a supporter of selfies and instagram so of course I stand behind the right to take pictures in museum. For me, taking pictures in the museum is part of the experience. Also, taking a unique photo makes the museum visit more personalized for me, furthermore it enhances the museum visit and makes it more memorable.

I have wanted to see the Kusama exhibition since September. However, my time schedule was very tight at that moment so I have postponed the visit. But when my roommate came and showed me her photos from the Kusama exhibition, I said I need to go and couldn’t wait any longer. Did the pictures of the exhibition and hashtag #kusama on instagram made me go to the exhibition more than the advertisment of Louisiana museum itself? YES! I mean, for the museums, it is a sort of free advertisment. Visitors come to the museum and later post pictures using many sorts of hashtag and then they add location. Other users like this which makes the pictures even more visible to the “people of internet”. This process leads for more people come to the museum and be more interested in the exhibitions. So is it really a bad things for museums to allow to take selfies? 

I think it is time for museums to accept the selfie era and embrace this time. Louisiana museum took this process part further and made their visitor’s picture feel appreciated by liking them in reward which creates a perfect interaction between the user and museum.

Speaking about the selfie era, in January 2014 museums started to encourage the project #museumselfie (Here are some pictures: http://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/gallery/2014/jan/22/museum-selfie-day-in-pictures). This article described museumselfie day as “a Twitter project aimed at raising awareness of the great collections being housed by national and regional museums across the globe“. Honestly, as I said before, museum selfies is one of the of advertisment that museums can wish for. (Even make up companies send girls make up in exchange of posting pictures on their instagram so other girls will see the brand of make up and eventually end up going to drug store to buy that exact same make up because they have seen someone else use it only. Make up companies made in last year so much money of instagrammers so why can’t museums?)

Of course, some museums have taken the era of selfies to extreme level. Manila opened their first selfie museum called Art in Island. The whole museum is designed for users to take selfies in. To read more abou this museum, you can go for example to this link: https://www.good.is/articles/worlds-first-selfie-museum

My question is, are you pro or against the selfie culture in museums?

Museums without building

Building a culture, not a building.

In today’s age it is certainly possible to have a museum without the building of the museum. The question is where we should draw the line to where to call it a museum and where the term museum might be rather an overestimating term. One of the examples is a mobile museum where a museum is movable (RVs or buses) where the museums come to a person rather than vice versa. Furthermore, one of the examples might be also virtual museum. What about a museum that is not online or movable but has the exhibition but no building?

In this particular case, I will be speaking about the Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art (MOTHA). And yes, word hirstory (sometimes called herstory) is not misspelled. MOTHA might be (or is) definitely one of the museums with huge cultural impact. Only in United States 1 from300 people identify themself as transgender (whether drag queen, genderfluid, transvestite or transsexual). Which means that all around the world there are thousands of people that this museum would be relevant to. However, the only museum that deals with this kind of topic is the Transvestite Museum of Peru. Furthermore, according to the RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Raja Gemini, , drag is also a visual art which I could not agree more. So Transgender Hirstory and Art should without a doubt to have their own museum.

To know about the MOTHA museum, you can go see their pages (sfmotha.org). I can only guess that the sf in the url page means San Francisco. Because where else would this museum stand than in the original heart of transgender culture? At their pages, MOTHA describes itself as “the preeminent institution of its kind, the museum insists on an expansive and unstable definition of transgender, one that is able to encompass all trans and gender non-conformed art and artists. MOTHA is committed to developing a robust exhibition and programming schedule that will enrich the transgender mythos both by exhibiting works by living artists and by honoring the hiroes and transcestors who have come before.”

However, the problem is that MOTHA does not own any building. MOTHA comments on this fact at their pages: “Pending the construction of MOTHA, the museum will function as a series of autonomous off-site experiences in North America and throughout the world.”

My question is, where do we draw the line of what is a museum and what is just a “institution” owning the exhibitions? Is MOTHA a real museum? Does a museum have to have a building in order to become a museum? Or if MOTHA moves its exhibitions around the world, is it a type of mobile museum?

According to ICOM Code for Ethics for museum “The governing body should ensure adequate premises with a suitable environment for the museum to fulfil the basic functions defined in its mission. ” However, does this premises have to be one place or can it be multiple buildings throughout the world?

About myself


My name is Alzbeta Krijtova and I come from Czech Republic. I have studied Information Science and Librarianship at Charles University in Prague with semester abroad in Germany where I did Media and Management courses. I am interested in finding about museum mediation and museology in general as it is also a full degree bachelor at my home university and I always wanted to know more about it. With this course I am hoping to gain a better understanding of what museology is and how it affects our part of studies.