April 15-18, 2009
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Sessions: Abstract

Museums & wikis: two case studies   go to paper

Frankie Roberto, Rattle, United Kingdom
Rhiannon Looseley, Museum of London, United Kingdom

The open editing framework that wikis enable is an excellent way for museums to engage audiences on-line: wikis allow collaboration, and museums seek public participation and a venue for debate. The Science Museum Object Wiki and The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) Wiki were both launched separately by the authors of this paper in early 2008. Although they use similar wiki software, they differ in their aims and objectives, in their methods of engaging their audiences, and in the types of audience behaviour that have arisen. This paper introduces and evaluates both wikis. Using them as examples, it goes on to demonstrate the benefits of wikis for museums, as well as the challenges. Understanding the reasons behind the reticence on the part of certain audiences to participate, the authors suggest the 'problem' may lie in the perceived authority of the museum itself.

Session: Wikis and the Expanded Museum Community [Social Media]

Keywords: wiki, user-generated content, audience engagement, Science Museum, The British Postal Museum and Archive