|Title:||Beyond Online Collections: Putting Objects to Work|
|Publication:||MW2004: Museums and the Web 2004|
Many great and small museum collections around the world are on-line, accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. This really is a wonderful thing. Now what? This paper is a look at two exciting projects -- The Smithsonian National Museum of American History's exhibition America on the Move and the Peabody Essex Museum's ARTscape -- that go beyond the inquiry-retrieval model of an on-line collection as an end in itself, to one that provides the foundation for dynamic, extensible and diverse interactive offerings. While it is possible to add objects to and edit metadata in a collection database, most interpretive presentations are fixed programs that are difficult to modify. What if the same kind of browser-based administrative tools that are used to easily update collections could be modified to enable museum staff to curate, annotate, paginate and publish custom collections? Imagine curated collections, new stories, tours, on-line exhibitions, and media-rich presentations easily being added without involving designers, programmers or developers! When the dynamic collection and the storytelling tools are integrated, audiences benefit even more than the storytellers. Visitors can even create their own exhibits.