Linda Mathijssen (one of our former interns) asks: I'm going to write my thesis about crowdsourcing in museums. … [and] I was hoping you could help me out a bit. Do you know some good (or bad) examples on the use of crowdsourcing in museums or where I can find information/papers that are already written about the subject?
This is certainly an interesting topic for a thesis Linda. It seems almost every week there is some new post about crowdsourcing/co-curation and also what that means for our practice, especially for curators. The best place to start is with the following publication – the Fall 2009 edition of the Exhibitionist. I co-authored a paper called Exploring Social Media for Front-End Evaluation with Bliss Jensen discussing our experiences with Blogger and Facebook in developing an exhibition on evil, and there are plenty of other examples in there.
Some of my blog posts on this topic include Crowdsourcing and exhibition development, and the reportage from the Co-curation of Public History workshop at the Science Museum in October 2010: posts Part 1 and Part 2. The Shh…it’s a secret! exhibition is a classic example of crowdsourcing (albeit a small and specialised one which is fine). Nina Simon also posted about it on her blog here and I also recommend her book The Participatory Museum. If you explore her blog you'll find many more examples.
Another interesting blog I’ve come across recently that has some information on this is Know Your Own Bone, especially the post called Curator 2.0: The new duties of an evolving job which gives links to various projects.
The Liberty Science Centre in New Jersey is curating a whole exhibition, Cooking: the exhibition chefs, using a social media site (ning) which is a fascinating case study.Finally, I recommend you look through the Museums and the web conference papers as there are other examples I'm sure I've forgotten.
Hope this helps and please let us know how you get on. I’m sure you’re not alone in researching this topic Linda.