Mapping Open Source in Museums

We’re working on a project to map open source in museums, the results of which will first be presented at MCN next month. Along with some data mining and visualization from the GitHub API (we’ve identified about 120 museums on GitHub with nearly 1500 public repositories) we’ve also put out a survey.

If you use or release open source code for your museum, we’d love to hear from you.

Thanks so much!
Greg Albers (@geealbers), J. Paul Getty Trust
Aron Ambrosiani (@AronAmbrosiani), Nordic Museum

Getty Leadership Institute – Call for 2019 Applications

The Getty Leadership Institute in now accepting applications for the 2019 executive education programs for museum leaders. Please consider whether this might be the right opportunity for yourself or if you’d like to nominate a colleague in the museum field.  See: 

Online: March 4-9, 2019
Residency: March 25-March 30, 2019

NextGen 2019 is a blended-learning experience for the museum field’s emerging top talent. The program is designed for mid-level managers with three to five years in a new position. The program blends one week of online learning and one week of residency in a collegial environment at CGU. The curriculum is intensive, while also offering time for self-reflection and practical application of materials and concepts. Modules explore individual leadership styles; team dynamics; diversity and inclusion; audience development; and the future of the museum field. 

GLI 2019
Online: May 6-18, 2019
Residency in Claremont, California: June 7-22, 2019


The renowned Executive Education Program for Museum Leaders is entering its 40th year. The program is designed to help experienced top-level executives become better leaders to strengthen their institutions’ capabilities and advance the field. This intensive management program is for CEOs, Directors, COOs, and senior-level museum executives who influence policy, effect change, and are in the first two to seven years of their position. Program participants take four weeks of intensive courses that blends two weeks online and two weeks of residency at CGU and includes practicum sessions at Los Angeles area institutions. Academically rigorous, the program emphasizes leadership development, strategy, organizational culture, diversity and inclusion, and change management.
For more information, and to apply, visit:

Toni Guglielmo, PhD
Associate Director
Getty Leadership Institute


Digital Content Producer

The Digital Content Producer is responsible for digital content development and coordination for the Celebrating Scotland’s Art project. The post holder establishes and supervises content creation, working with public facing departments, creators, designers and external contractors. The producer oversees the development and production of content including audio and video, and its accuracy and tone across media and platforms.

References: Copywriter needed for website

Hi All,

We are working on rewriting our website copy and would love to hear if you have any recommendations for a copywriter we could potentially hire for a freelance job. U.S. Museum experience preferred.

Look forward to hearing from you all.


Webinar – The Art of Collections Management Technology

If you’re interested to hear some high-level findings from the collections management study BPOC conducted on behalf of LYRASIS, please join this free webinar, The Art of Collections Management Technology, on Wednesday June 27th at 3 – 4pm EST / noon – 1pm PST.

To register, visit:

The webinar is based on a joint presentation Megan Forbes and I gave at AAM in Phoenix.

User testing a new online survey platform for museums

We are a group of researchers from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bath and we are developing an online survey platform for museums. We aim to make this tool available free of charge, but we would like to receive your feedback first to ensure the editor is clear and easy to use.
We would now like to invite you to try out this platform for about 5 minutes and complete a survey about your experience in using it. We expect that trying out the platform and completing the survey will take 10/15 minutes in total.
The survey itself contains full instructions about accessing the platform. You can find the survey at:​.

​We appreciate your input.
Dr Daniela De Angeli
Jay Didcott

MW congratulates the winners of the MW18 GLAMi Awards!

Winners of the 2018 GLAMi Awards Announced in Vancouver, B.C.

Download the Press Release (PDF)

More than 550 leaders from museums, libraries, archives and galleries around the world gathered at the MW18 Conference in Vancouver on Friday, April 20 to recognize the year’s best innovations in the sector at the annual GLAMi awards. Winners were selected by an international committee of judges, chaired by Steven Beasley, Director of Digital Media at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, and Jane Alexander, Chief Information/Digital Officer at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Since the dawn of the Internet age, galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (referred to as GLAMi institutions) have been pushing the envelope on what technology can do to preserve, display, and showcase cultural treasures. MW’s annual conferences have been a platform for showcasing and disseminating this important work since 1997. Formerly the “Best of the Web” Awards, the GLAMies were relaunched at MW’s 20th conference in LA last year to showcase the best work the cultural sector has done to engage, inform and excite people both on the Web and across myriad emerging and ever-changing platforms. Whether it’s social media, virtual reality, augmented reality, audio and video tours, apps, or anything in between, the GLAMi Awards honor the projects and people that allow us to visit far-away places, explore ancient artifacts, or connect with the natural world, using amazing, often cutting-edge technologies and practices.

MW’s 22nd conference wrapped up in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Saturday, April 21, with attendees from more than 25 countries and 300+ worldwide galleries, libraries, archives and museums. Judges were assigned to 1-2 categories and read all submissions in those categories. No judge was assigned to a category in which their museum entered a submission. The annual North American gathering of the best and the brightest in the cultural and tech sectors is an opportunity for museum professionals, product developers, researchers and students to talk innovation as it relates to the stewards of the world’s history and heritage. Next year’s conference and GLAMi awards will be hosted in Boston April 2-6, 2019.

This year’s GLAMi Award winners include the following. Complete descriptions of the winning projects are listed at

2018 GLAMi Co-chairs Jane Alexander and Steven Beasley congratulate John Stack of the Science Museum, London.

Education categoryWikiWelcome, Stockholmskällan and Wikimedia Sverige

Exhibition and Collection Extension (Non-Traditional) categorySend Me SFMOMA, SFMOMA

Exhibition and Collection Extension (Traditional Website) categoryRethinking Guernica, Museo Reina Sofia

Exhibition Media or Experience (Linear Media) categoryMaking Art Concrete: Works from Argentina and Brazil in the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros videos, J. Paul Getty Museum

Exhibition Media or Experience (In-gallery Interactive) categoryGaze Tracker, The Cleveland Museum of Art

Groundbreaking category: TIE! ARTLENS Gallery, The Cleveland Museum of Art and Contactless Donations Experience, National Museums Scotland

Marketing and Promotion categoryScience Museum Group Websites Relaunch, Science Museum, London; National Railway Museum, York, National Science and Media Museum, Bradford; Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester; Locomotion, Shildon

Museum-wide Guide or Program categoryHeadhunt! National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australia

Apply Now! Scholarships for MCN 2018

The Museum Computer Network (MCN) is now accepting applications for scholarships to attend its 2018 annual conference in Denver, Colorado.
MCN was founded in 1967 to support professionals working to transform the way cultural organizations reach, engage, and educate audiences using digital technologies and new media. In 2018, MCN will explore the theme of Humanizing the Digital.
We’re pleased to offer scholarships to 15 innovative museum professionals to join the MCN community at the annual conference. Each scholarship includes:
  • Complimentary conference registration
  • Choice of one complimentary professional workshop the morning of Tuesday, November 13, 2018
  • A $400 (USD) stipend for travel and food
  • Complimentary room at the conference hotel for three (3) nights: Tuesday, November 13, to Thursday, November 15, 2018
  • An opportunity to meet with MCN board members over lunch during the conference
  • Complimentary MCN individual membership for one year
In return, each scholar will present a five minute lightning talk on a digital project they have worked on and enrich the conference experience for others by sharing conferences themes and ideas on social media.
Apply today online. Applications are due by April 30, 2018 at 11:59pm in your timezone.
The MCN scholarship program is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors.
Please feel free to forward this message to others not on the listserv who may be interested. For questions, contact

Chatbots in museums: hype or opportunity? 


Chatbots have caught the headlines recently with businesses starting to adopt them to stimulate conversation with customers. But what are chatbots? How do they work? What can they do for museums and their audiences?


Stefania Boiano, InvisibleStudio LTD, UK
Ann Borda, University of Melbourne, Australia,
Pietro Cuomo, Art in the City, Italy
Giuliano Gaia, InvisibleStudio LTD, UK
Stefania Rossi, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Italy


museums, chatbots, artificial intelligence, gamification, teenagers


Chatbots, also known as talkbots or chatterbots or bots, are growing exponentially in their use by marketers and online businesses in enhancing customer experiences, often as messaging applications that can personalise the interaction (e.g. recommender systems) (1).  Simply put, chatbots are computer programs that mimic conversation using auditory or textual methods. More specifically the functionality of chatbots use natural language processing that has a history rooted in artificial intelligence (AI). 


One of the earliest such natural language applications was a chatbot called ELIZA developed from 1964 to 1966 at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory by computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum. ELIZA originally was created to use simple pattern matching and a template-based response (prewritten scripts) to emulate the conversational style of a psychotherapist. ELIZA generated a wave of global community interest in building a conversational bot that could pass the Turing Test

Turing Test:

Published in 1950, Alan Turing’s Computing Machinery and Intelligence addresses the overarching question: Can machines think? (2)

The Turing test in its most simple form is carried out as a sort of imitation game.  The test has a human interrogator speaking to a number of computers and humans through an interface. If the interrogator cannot distinguish between the computers and the humans then the Turing Test has been passed. This quest found an audience through the Loebner Prize (begun in 1991), which has taken the form of an annual competition designed to implement the Turing Test.


Building on the pattern-matching techniques used in ELIZA and advancing natural conversational language capabilities, American scientist Richard Wallace developed A.L.I.C.E. (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) in the late 1990s.  A.L.I.C.E., also known as Alicebot, is acknowledged for its pioneering programming using Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML) which is an XML schema for creating natural language software agents. Wallace released the first version of AIML in July 2001. He has since established Pandorabots Inc. – an AI company that is distinguished as one of the world’s earliest chatbot hosting services and publishes the Pandora API on which A.L.I.C.E.  was based and which enabled it to become a three-time Loebner winner in 2000, 2001, and 2004.  


Concurrent to A.L.I.C.E. developments, Jabberwacky was being conceived by British programmer, Rollo Carpenter.  Jabberwacky was intended to simulate “natural human chat in an interesting, entertaining and humorous manner”.  The emergence of the Internet provided Jabberwacky with a dynamic database of thousands of online human interactions from which to process responses.  Jabberwacky under the guise of ‘George’ and ‘Joan’ won the Loebner Prize in 2005 and 2006 respectively.


In 2008, Jabberwacky launched a new iteration rebranded as Cleverbot.  Like Jabberwacky, Cleverbot is designed to learn from its conversations with humans (more than 150 million to date according to Wikipedia).

Excerpt from real user chat test of
cleverbot application. Cleverbot website (c) 2018.
(accessed 3 March 2018)

It draws on past interactions to determine future questions and answers.  To try out its capabilities, you can chat with Cleverbot on the official website:

IBM Watson:

In the endeavour to extend question answering (QA) capabilities posed in natural language, IBM Watson was conceived in 2006 as a QA computing system with the goal of outperforming human contestants on the U.S. TV game show Jeopardy!  IBM Watson was developed as part of IBM’s DeepQA project by a research team led by David Ferrucci.  Watson became the first computer to defeat contestants on the TV game show Jeopardy!, notably in a special match between Watson and Jeopardy! Champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. More recently, the Watson capabilities have evolved to take advantage of new deployment models (e.g. Watson on IBM Cloud) and new machine learning capabilities to “adapt and learn”.

Recent developments:

Chatbots in general are reaching milestones in artificial intelligence capability, as well as their pervasiveness in consumer facing products and services.  For example in 2014, a chatterbot called Eugene Goostman won an AI contest marking the 60th anniversary of Turing’s death (Turing Test 2014 organised by the University of Reading) in which 33% of the event’s judges thought that Goostman was human.  In development since 2001 and originating from St Petersburg, Goostman is portrayed as a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy. The Goostman bot has competed in several Loebner Prize contests since its creation, finishing second in 2005 and 2008.

Created from AIML technology by programmer, Steve Worswick, Mitsuku is a web-based chatbot available on Kik Messenger. It is among a growing number of sophisticated bots that can answer questions, play games, and capable of basic reasoning in QA.  Mitsuku is a three-time winner of the Loebner prize in 2013, 2016, and recently in 2017.

Generally, the term ‘chatbot’ has referred to a software application that engages in a dialogue with a human using natural language. Most early advances have been associated with written language, but with advances in speech recognition, there is a narrowing of these associations.  An early example is Naturally Speaking which was developed in 1975 by Dr James Baker (Carnegie Mellon University), as a simple speech understanding system that was called Dragon. Dr Baker worked on the system until 1982 when he and his wife, Dr Janet Baker, evolved the software into Dragon Systems, a Voice Recognition System.  Other advances in the speech recognition sector have been made possible by VoiceXML which has been published in a series of standards since the release of version 1.0 in the year 2000.  The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has recently announced a new W3C Community Group on Voice Interaction, which aims to explore beyond the system-initiated directed dialogs of VoiceXML applications.

In just a couple of years, there has been an exponential rise of voice assistants such as Apple Siri launched in 2010, Google Now in 2012, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana in 2015, and Google Assistant in 2016. Using natural language processing and Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, these assistants connect to web services to answer questions and respond to user requests. Recently, Google Home and Amazon Echo have started becoming consumer features in the home.

Social media platforms are similarly incorporating chatbot functionality.  The year 2017 witnessed a particular hype cycle as Facebook opened up its Messenger platform and API to developers, providing an opportunity for anyone to build a simple chatbot on Facebook with ease. Twitter followed suite in April 2017 by opening its direct messaging channel to chatbots. WeChat has  had chatbot functionalities for a few years now, and Slack and other messenger services are coming on board with open APIs.   

Museums and chatbots:

Within this informal history of chatbot developments, it may not be surprising that museums and galleries have a track record in experimenting with new ways of communicating and with the use of emergent technologies to reach their audiences (3), (4), (5).  Emerging free chatbot-creating platforms (e.g. Chatfuel, Chatterbot Eliza, among others) and the availability of open APIs, for instance, can offer both large and smaller museums the opportunity of experimenting with chatbots with relatively low effort while keeping costs and staff resources at a low level (5), (6).

Museums already have precedence in piloting technologies encompassing artificial intelligence and natural language processing with few resources (4), (5). Combining in-house or simple production methods with design thinking practices, museums can be enabled to develop interesting products. 

There are in fact a growing number of Museums currently going down this route, and using bots to engage their audiences.   

Below is a selected list of cultural organisations, discoverable at the time of this publication, that are experimenting with bots as part of their audience engagement programming:

Selected List of Museums using Chatbot Applications for Audience Engagement:

Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum :

The Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum in Paderborn Germany has an early experience of using an avator bot introduced as MAX. Developed in 2004, MAX is a conversational agent that directly engages with visitors through a screen as a virtual museum guide. 

The Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York City:

The Cooper-Hewitt has been a pioneer in chatbot technologies with the creation of the Object Phone in 2013 – a service powered by Twillio that a visitor can text or call to ask for more information about a museum object in the collection. In 2016, Object Phone became a subscription service so that a visitor can receive a daily update.  Anyone can participate in trialling the Object Phone: and signing up.  In the words of Micah Walter, Director of Digital & Emerging Media:

“I think institutions like museums have a great opportunity in the chatbot space. If anything it represents a new way to broaden our reach and connect with people on the platforms they are already using. What’s more interesting to me is that chatbots themselves represent a way to interact with people that is by its very nature, bi-directional”.
Micah Walter, July 4, 2016.


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Send Me SFMOMA is an SMS service that provides an approachable, personal, and creative method of sharing the breadth of SFMOMA’s collection with the public. According to Jay Mollica, Creative Technologist, there are thousands of unseen artworks (only 5% are shown in Galleries at any one time) that can now be discovered through this application by texting 572-51 with the words “send me” followed by a keyword, a colour, or an emoji and the visitor will receive a related artwork image and caption via text message.   

Send Me SFMOMA blog. (c) SFMOMA
Source: (accessed 3 March 2018)


Carnegie Museum of Art – Carnegie Museums, Pittsburgh.

Similar to the SFMOMA application, Carnegie Museum of Art has developed an SMS-based interaction called Muse which aims to leverage the Carnegie Studio’s user-centered design process and to make use of leading-edge technologies like natural language processing and image recognition.  Source: Jeffrey Inscho, Carnegie Museum of Art, May 19, 2017. Source:

Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

In March 2017, Anne Frank House in Amsterdam launched its own Facebook Messenger chatbot that allows users to discover the History of Anne Frank – both her personal history and practical visitor information.  Not simply a collections discovery bot, this application offers various conversation paths, allowing users to follow different paths in the Anne Frank story with concise information and links to additioal content, for example, excerpts from her diary to the context of World War II at the time.  See: Anne Frank House – Published on Apr 3, 2017.

The National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus

The National Art Museum in Belarus has also utilised the Facebook Messenger chatbot capability to create a conversational digital guide released in May 2017.   A visitor can interact with the bot at: . Source: The first Facebook chatbot guide for the National art museum of the Republic of Belarus available on Vimeo – published by NODUCK, May 2017.

The Museum of Australian Democracy

The Museum marked its 50th anniversary of a landmark 1967 referendum in which Australians voted overwhelmingly to amend the Constitution to include Aboriginal people in the census and to allow the Commonwealth government to create laws for them.  This landmark year lead to the launch of a referendum chatbot that allows visitors to learn about the historic and current impacts of this vote through chatting with it on Facebook Messenger. Directed towards children and accessible to adults, it uses simple gamification and responses, including emojis.

“Using a chatbot as a visitor engagement tool is innovative amongst Australia’s cultural institutions. It acts like history in your pocket and is helping MoAD spark a conversation about the significance of the 1967 referendum. We’re hoping it will be an effective way for people to get the facts, hear Indigenous perspectives on the referendum and reflect on its continuing relevance today.”

Source: Marni Pilgrim, Digital Engagement Manager.  When a nation votes Yes, history is written and a chatbot is born. Canberra Times Media Release 25 May 2017 


Not unlike the quick adoption of Facebook Messenger among some of the Museum examples, there is a certain trend in Twitter bots such as the Museumbot that pulls open access images from a number of archives such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other museum archive bots are steadily growing on Twitter, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art LACMA bot, New York Public Library NYPL postcards bot, and the Museum of Modern Art MoMaR bot. A more comprehensive list can be found on Twitter from John Emerson.

The House Museums of Milan Chatbot : Case Study

This snapshot of museum and gallery innovations in chatbot deployment provides the background for a more detailed Case Study about the chatbot work undertaken for The House Museums of Milan (7).   Of interest to readers is the twofold consideration of the developers and curators in the creation of The House Museum chatbot – namely:

  • to attract and engage teenage audiences to these sites – a notoriously difficult public to engage in museums who are identified with high levels of distraction and highly adapted to the use of social media (6),(7),(8)  AND
  • to consider interactivity, such as gamification, that can interest and sustain attention by teenage and visitor audiences.  (7),(8)

Gamification of chatbot applications is not yet pervasive among museum developments. The Referendum Bot developed for the Museum of Australian Democracy is one example of a gamified bot.  The challenges encountered in the House project are described further below as an insider view. The process of chatbot development in this case was also intended to be model for how to make best use of a technology that is still in its infancy, and how to consider promising applications supporting audience interaction, for example, in self-guided tours and education (6), (9), (10).

Goals of the chatbot project:

The House Museums of Milan is a group of 4 historical homes in Milan (Poldi Pezzoli Museum, Bagatti Valsecchi Museum, Necchi Campiglio Villa and Boschi Di Stefano House Museum). When the House Museums launched a strategic initiative in 2016 that aimed to motivate people to visit the four museums through a single digital guide, they approached InvisibleStudio LTD (a London-based cultural innovation studio) to introduce gamification into the engagement process, specifically to attract younger audiences.

The founders of InvisibleStudio, Stefania Boiano and Giuliano Gaia, had already experimented with earlier chatbot technology in 2002, while working at the Museum of Science and Technology “Leonardo da Vinci” in Milan. You can find more details about this chatbot development in the MW 2003 paper: Make Your Museum Talk: Natural Language Interfaces For Cultural Institutions. (11)

This pioneering work provided important lessons in the development of this first chatbot. A key problem was that the chatbot was developed to mimic a Leonardo da Vinci character with whom the user would interact/”chat”. This set high expectations for the user experience, and led to frustrations when the bot was not able to understand the user beyond simple introductory chat.  Consequently, user issues occurred quite soon in the conversation. (11)

With these lessons in hand, InvisibleStudio decided to change their approach when creating a chatbot for the House Museums project. The chatbot would only be used as a tool to help users solve a game set in the real physical environment of the museum. Thus, this approach could shift the user’s focus from the conversation with the chatbot to the actual exploration of the Museum galleries.

Poldi Pezzoli Museum Chatbot – Photo (c) InvisibleStudio

The chatbot game was developed using Facebook Messenger, and is directed mainly to young users and teenagers to engage them in exploring the four homes. Exploration is encouraged by users in looking for hidden clues that lead to a final discovery.  The gaming activity is set in the context of fighting a mysterious Renaissance magician (based on a real historical figure) that provides a further incentive to engage with the application.

In this way users’ attention are drawn away from the limited conversational skills of the chatbot and invited to observe the collections with more attention while using the chatbot as a “virtual companion” in the game. Other key features had to be tweaked before publishing the application, such as making conversations more realistic by studying real chats on Facebook Messenger, referencing objects which the user can actually see “here and now” in the galleries, and finding the perfect length for the game (11), (12).

Another key challenge is the necessity of keeping open a continuous online connection between users and the chatbot. This can prove tricky in historical house museums, where the older infrastructure is comprised of complex layouts and thick walls which can prevent wifi or an even distribution of wifi connections.

Boschi Di Stefano Museum Chatbot – Photo (c) InvisibleStudio

The chatbot was tested with teenagers aged 16-18. The pilot was conducted by InvisibleStudio with 80 teenaged students from local high schools in Milan.  This pilot provided the following results:

  • 90% of students managed to complete the game
  • 30% had connection problems
  • 34% were worried for their data traffic
  • 88% found the length of the game was right
  • 72% evaluated the game as highly entertaining
  • 66% found it a useful learning tool, especially if it was used with another student or in a small group.

These results offered some clear directions for the final development stages. Especially interesting for the developers was the fact that students liked using the chatbot in small groups, rather than on their own, because the game triggered collaboration within the team and created a friendly competitive environment with other teams. (12)

Challenges still need to be addressed.  These are mainly related to the Facebook Messenger platform itself.  For instance, teenagers seem to be abandoning it at an increasing rate. WhatsApp appears to be much more popular, but WhatsApp has not opened its API to third-party software yet.  Thus creating a chatbot in WhatsApp is much more difficult at this stage although industry rumours suggest that WhatsApp will open its API soon (13).  When this happens, museum chatbots could be developed for a potentially larger audience (e.g. teenagers), and potentially a larger uptake which does not depend on a subscription (e.g. Facebook) as the situation exists currently.

Concluding thoughts:

What emerged from this project is that the convergence of chatbots and gamification can be a powerful tool to involve younger, digital savvy generations visiting museums in novel and interesting ways (5), (6), (7), (9), (10). Our findings particularly suggest that users enjoy interacting with a chatbot in a game context, and this engagement can provide a smarter way of leading younger audiences to interact with objects and historic environments with greater attention.  However with all the successes of this chatbot launch, there also remain challenges that need further consideration beyond the scope of this paper. As mentioned above, the availability of a wider range of chatbot platforms is one such challenge. A more involved issue is the pace and quality of the bot conversation which emerged as a critical aspect of this project. The present chatbot application required a bigger effort from the developing team to create engaging and realistic non-linear narrative lines, and this will be part of a continuing iteration in future developments.

Bibliography, References and Resources

(1) Dale, R.  The return of the chatbots. Natural Language Engineering 22 (5) 2016 : 811–817. doi:10.1017/S1351324916000243

(2) Turing, A. M. (1950) Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Mind 49: 433-460.

(3) Borda, A. and Bowen, J.  Smart Cities and Cultural Heritage: A Review of Developments and Future Opportunities. IN Proceedings. Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA London 2017), BCS, London, pp 9-18.

(4) Bordoni, L., Mele, F. and Sorgente, A. (eds). Artificial Intelligence for Cultural Heritage. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2016.

(5) Boiano, S., Gaia, G. and Caldarini, M.  Make Your Museum Talk: Natural Language Interfaces for Cultural Institutions. Museums and the Web 2003. URL:

(6) Boiano, S., Cuomo, P. and Gaia, G.  Real-time Messaging Platforms for Storytelling and Gamification in Museums: A case history in Milan. IN Proceedings. Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2016), London, UK, 12 – 14 July 2016. URL:

(7) Fors, V. Teenagers’ Multisensory Routes for Learning in the Museum. The Senses and Society, 8:3, 2016, 268-289, DOI: 10.2752/174589313X13712175020479

(8) Endo, Tasia. “Teens use tech to talk art: Amplifying teen voice and art interpretation.” MW2016: Museums and the Web 2016. Published March 10, 2016. Consulted September 29, 2017.

(9) Kelly, L. and Russo, A.  From Ladders of Participation to Networks of Participation: Social Media and the Museum Audiences. MW2008: Museum and the Web Conference, April 9–12, Montreal, Canada.

(10) Cawston, Rob, Daniel Efergan and Lindsey Green. “It’s in the game: can playful digital experiences help organisations connect with audiences in new ways?.” Museums and the Web: MW 2017. Published January 31, 2017. Consulted September 29, 2017.

(11) Boiano S. and Gaia G., 3 Lessons learnt from Building our first Museum Chatbot… 15 years ago!  Invisible Studio website. Consulted February 28th, 2018. URL:

(12) Boiano S. and Gaia G., 5 Tips for Involving Teenagers in Your Museum Using a Chatbot. Invisible Studio website. Consulted February 28th, 2018. URL:

(13) Mool, T. (2018) Chatbot Trends: The Year of the VoiceBot, WhatsApp Bots, MaaP. NativeMSG. Consulted February 28th, 2018 URL:

CENIC Conference Convenes California Cultural Institutions with R&E Community

This is short notice for California museums and cultural and educational institutions if it’s not already on your radar.  CENIC is the Corporation for Educational Network Initiatives in California and connects research and educational institutions, schools, and libraries across the state with its high speed, low-latency network, providing Internet access and application support for R&E activities.  Several museums and cultural institutions, including the Exploratorium, are also connected to CalREN, the high-performance R&E network operated by CENIC, and are exploring ways of engaging audiences using connections to the network and to interconnected R&E networks across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, and South America.  I’ll be on a panel there talking about cultural and educational uses of R&E networks along with representatives from SFJAZZ, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Getty Museum.

CENIC’s annual conference will be held March 5th–7th, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, California. The conference brings together CENIC’s richly diverse community, with participants from all education segments, including public and private research universities, public libraries, scientific, cultural, and performing arts institutions, private sector technology businesses, public policy and government agencies, and R&E partners from across the country and around the world.

Conference keynote speakers include Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, Kireeti Kompella, Senior Vice President & CTO, Juniper Networks, and Ilkay Altintas, Ph.D., Chief Data Science Officer at the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

The full conference program is online now.  Attendees can choose from more than forty sessions, including the following, which may be of particular interest to attendees from scientific and cultural organizations:

  • Cultural preservation in sessions such as Visualizing Cultural Heritage: Research Engagement on the Pacific Research Platform and Creating a Network for Digital World Cultural Heritage Preservation and Analytics.
  • Presentations from technology leaders in Scientific and Cultural Institutions on Regional, National, and International R&E Networks.
  •  Sessions on cybersecurity including panels on Workforce Development in R&E Environments and Revoking Attackers’ Phishing License in R&E Environments.
  • Opportunities for collaboration with museums, public libraries, and universities in sessions such as Riding the WAVE: Student-led Docent Program for UC Merced’s Wide-Area Visualization Environment, and More than Internet Access,  which describes how libraries across the state are using high-speed broadband to expand programs and services in collaboration with other research and education institutions.

Conference registration is now open!  You can register here. >

 Looking forward to connecting with other museum and cultural institutions in Monterey!

Royal BC Museum Leaders to Guest Co-Chair MW18

Rich and I are delighted to announce that David Alexander and Lucy Bell from the Royal BC Museum will be Guest Co-chairs of the 22nd North American MW Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia 18-21 April, 2018. David is Head of Archives, Access and Digital at the Museum, and Lucy is Head of the Museum’s First Nations and Repatriation Department. Find out more about David and Lucy, and their contributions to the MW18 program! With their broad experience and multi-disciplinary expertise, David and Lucy are ideally positioned to help us ensure that participants at MW18 connect with peers in multiple areas to raise the standards and impact of cultural practice globally. Please join us in welcoming David, Lucy, and the entire Vancouver cultural community to MW18!

David Alexander, Royal BC Museum
Lucy Bell, Royal BC Museum


After the inaugural sell-out conference, REMIX returns to New York on March 22-23, 2018 aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s aircraft carrier & at A/D/O, BMW Mini’s new design hub. REMIX explores the intersection of culture, tech & entrepreneurship bringing together thought-leaders from many industries to tackle the big ideas shaping the future of culture, creative cities and the creative economy. Attended by hundreds of creative leaders worldwide each year REMIX is made possible by support from our global partners inc. Google & Bloomberg, happening in cities inc. London, New York, Sydney, Melbourne and Dubai.

Following our last NYC summit held at Google HQ, MoMA & Bloomberg HQ, we’ve been inundated with requests to do another one. So we’re excited to reveal our line-up for our 2018 NYC summit. Speakers inc.

– Robert Hammond, Co-Founder, HIGH LINE
– Laura Clayton McDonnell, VP, Global Digital Transformational Leader, MICROSOFT
– Linda Boff, Chief Marketing Officer, GE
– Eric Nuzum, Senior VP Original Content, AUDIBLE
– Keir Winesmith, Head of Web & Digital Platforms, SFMOMA
– Kevin Slavin, Chief Science & Tech Officer, THE SHED
– Edward Roussel, Chief Innovation Officer, DOW JONES
– Nick Gray, Founder, MUSEUM HACK
– Adam Gerhart, CEO, MINDSHARE
– Brett Wallace, Artist in Residence, LINKEDIN
– Steven McIntosh, Director, Education & Family Programs, BAM
– Loren Hammonds, Co-curator, TRIBECA IMMERSIVE
– Jake Barton , Founder, LOCAL PROJECTS
– Whitney Donhauser, Director, MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
– Julia Kaginsky, Director, NEW INC
– Justine Hyde, Director Library Services & Experience, STATE LIBRARY VICTORIA

Latest speakers at & see what it is like to experience a REMIX NYC – Earlybird offer! Save up to $250


Chrysler Museum of Art Website RFP

The Chrysler Museum is currently seeking respondents to submit proposals for the redesign of

The Chrysler Museum of Art is one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums, with a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. We have been recognized nationally for our unique commitment to hospitality with our innovative gallery host program and our Perry Glass Studio is a state-of-art facility with a reputation for cutting-edge performance evenings.

All proposals are due on March 2, 2018, and must be submitted electronically following the instructions outlined in the RFP. 

Chrysler Museum Website RFP

Collections Management Survey

You may have seen that BPOC is partnering with Ithaka S+R on a collections management study, on behalf of LYRASIS and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to investigate the technology landscape and evolving tactics and strategy around collections management in museums. Here’s the press release:

The study will be a combination of survey and interviews and the survey part is now ready. I hope you will take time to participate. This is a great opportunity for all of us involved, directly or indirectly, with collections management to share how we are using those systems and the challenges and opportunities we face. Please contribute your voice and opinions. We will be reporting out to the community starting in Spring of 2018 and already have some confirmed conference sessions to discuss our findings, which we envision will be relevant and valuable to the collections management communities, museum leadership and the vendors who support us.

Collections management is a broad topic and fundamental to our missions and so the survey is necessarily detailed. SurveyGizmo tells us it should take 19 minutes to complete, it also grades it low on Fatigue and high on Accessibility, with all but the last question requiring that you write something rather than select an option or grade a statement. It can be anonymous if that helps with your candor, but we’re hoping you’ll let us know who you are.

Here’s the link: please take the survey or forward to a colleague who will.

CFParticipation: Digital Art History Summer Institute

Advanced Topics in Digital Art History: 3D and (Geo)Spatial Networks

June 4-16, 2018 in Venice, Italy

Digital Technologies for Historical and Cultural visualization are transforming the ways that scholars can study and represent works of art, as well as growth and change in urban spaces and structures.

With the support of The Getty Foundation as part of its Digital Art History initiative, The Wired! Lab for Digital Art History & Visual Culture at Duke University, the University of Padua’s Architecture and Engineering program and Venice International University are collaborating on a Summer Workshop that will support interdisciplinary teams focused on the hard questions of Digital Art History as a discipline, a set of methods, and a host of technical and institutional challenges and opportunities.

After five editions of two-weeks summer workshops introducing concepts and methods for digital art and architectural history through hands-on tutorials and collaborative project development, the program for 2018 will shift to focus on advancing the field of digital art and architectural history through a combination of project-sharing, technology exploration, and academic discussion. After the initial two-week gathering in Venice, we still stay in touch as a community over the course of the next year, reconvening for one week in 2019 to write up and assess our work.

This workshop is different than our earlier Visualizing Venice workshop iterations in that we are asking people to apply as teams of 2 or 3, and with a Digital Art History Mapping and/or Modeling project already in place, and which they hope to develop further in conversation with the group. The focus of applicant projects does not need to be on Venice or Visualizing Cities, though projects related to those themes are welcome. We will expect participants to share their working projects files with the group, and will work with selected participating teams in advance of the meeting to customize the curriculum to fit the needs and interests of the group.

Alums of our previous introductory workshops are welcome to apply, as are new participants, from the US and abroad. Thanks to the generosity of the Getty Foundation, we are able to offer support for tuition, travel, board and accommodation expenses.

More Info and Application at

Deadline: January 5, 2018

Getty Leadership Institute Applications Now Open for 2018!


 Online: March 5-10, 2018

Residency: March 26-March 31, 2018


NextGen 2018 is a blended-learning experience for the museum field’s emerging top talent. The program is designed for mid-level staff with three to five years of museum management experience and extraordinary leadership potential as recognized by senior-level executives. The program blends one week of online learning and one week of residency in a collegial environment at CGU. The curriculum is intensive, while also offering time for self-reflection and practical application of materials and concepts. Participants examine their individual leadership styles, team dynamics, institutional needs and perspectives, and the future of the museum field.


GLI 2018

Online: May 14-26, 2018
Residency in Claremont, California: June 8-23, 2018


The renowned Executive Education Program for Museum Leaders is entering its 39th year. The program is designed to help experienced top-level executives become better leaders to strengthen their institutions’ capabilities and advance the field. This intensive management program is for CEOs, Directors, COOs, and senior-level museum executives who influence policy, effect change, and are in the first two to seven years of their position. Program participants take four weeks of intensive courses that address current trends and challenges in the museum field. The program blends two weeks online and two weeks of residency at CGU, and includes practicum sessions at Los Angeles area institutions. Academically rigorous, the program emphasizes leadership, strategy, organizational culture, and change management.

For more information, and to apply, visit:

Havelock North History

Havelock North

Named after British General Sir Henry Havelock, the town of Havelock North was founded in 1860 to provide land for small farmers and working-class settlers.

This followed the purchase of land in 1858 from Maori owners, of land previously known as ‘Karanema’s Reserve’. However, most sections ended up in the hands of speculators and wealthy pastoralists.

1859 sale of sections and by 1860 township development had started Early a860 a pub had opened

Havelock North was founded by the government in the late 1860 to provide land for small farmers and working-class settlers. However, most sections were bought by speculators and wealthy pastoralists, which prevented small farms from developing. The township was named after British general Sir Henry Havelock to commemorate his role in suppressing a rebellion against British power in India.

Havelock North started as plain Havelock. Another Havelock was founded in Marlborough about the same time. This caused problems for postal authorities and in 1910 the chief postmaster suggested the Hawke’s Bay township should change its name. Locals were incensed and members of the town board travelled to Wellington to protest to the minister of internal affairs in person. A name change was not enforced, but from this time ‘Havelock North’ was used informally.

Like other towns in the region, its growth was restricted by large pastoral stations on its fringes. The founding of Hastings in 1873, and the routing of the regional railway line through Hastings the following year, limited the growth of Havelock North for the next few decades.

The first orchards appeared in the 1870s, but they were not common until the early 20th century. Bernard Chambers established the first vineyard in 1892. Private schools were opened in the town to cater for the families of wealthy runholders.

Major town south-east of Hastings, with a 2013 population of 13,071. Havelock North is the urban centre of Hawke’s Bay’s wine country. Locals call it ‘the village’.

WMA 2018 Annual Meeting: Call for Proposals! Deadline 11/17

The Western Museums Association announces the Request for Proposals for WMA 2018, which will be held in Tacoma, Washington on October 21-24. With the theme of INSPIRE, The WMA is requesting session proposals that address how museums can inspire their staff, community, and the world to take action, work towards change, and promote unity. 
Through the theme of INSPIRE, we will focus on the ways museums inspire action, change, and unity.  
  • How can museums inspire communities to take action? 
  • How can museums be agents of social change / social justice?  
  • How can museums increase diversity in their exhibits, programming, and museum staff/boards? 
  • What cross-sector, unconventional partnerships can be formed between museums and other organizations? 
  • How can we make museums more inclusive places? 
We would love to get proposals from the Museums and the Web community – and have your perspectives represented at the Annual MeetingPlease review the Proposal Guidelines before you complete the Session Proposal Form.   
Share your ideas and perspectives with the Western museum community. 

Submit a WMA 2018 Proposal Today!
Contact with any questions.

MW18 Proposal-writing Workshop

Procrastinator’s salvation! Join the MW18 proposal-writing workshop at 5pm EDT on Thursday, September 28 via Facebook Live or in person at the historic Peale Center to polish or – let’s face it – write your #MW18 proposal. Get help connecting to possible co-presenters and past research on similar topics. Think through how to make your paper and presentation accessible. Most importantly, get yourself to Vancouver April 18-21, 2018!

RSVP (tours of the Peale start at 4pm)

Can’t make it then? A video archive of the session will be available after the event. Also feel free to contact MW with questions about your proposal.

MW18 Live Twitter Chat September 20, 12:00 EDT

Join MW’s Nancy Proctor and guest co-chair Sina Bahram for a live Twitter chat on Wednesday, September 20 at 12:00 noon (EDT).

Nancy and Sina will help you formulate or refine your MW proposal, think about accessibility in your findings and presentation, point you to relevant past research, and connect you with others who may be working on similar topics.

Don’t have a topic in mind yet? No worries. Follow along @MuseWeb on Twitter and the #AskMW18 hashtag to be inspired or throw out a few questions about some of your ideas!

About MW18

The Call for Proposals for MW18 papers, workshops, professional forums, and how-to sessions is open on the MW18 website through September 30, 2017. Proposals for demonstrations and lightning talks will be accepted through December 31.

MW conferences do not have pre-determined themes; instead, the program is built from the ground up based on what the community proposes. You can propose a session on any topic relevant to the field. The program is selected by an international committee of cultural heritage professionals, and reflects the issues and ideas of greatest interest and urgency in each year.

Authors submitting proposals by September 30, 2017 are notified if their paper has been accepted by December 1, 2017 when the draft program is announced and registration opens. Authors proposing demonstrations and lightning talks are notified by February 1, 2018 if their proposal has been accepted. We endeavor to contact and give feedback to authors whose proposals have not been accepted as well, but due to the volume of proposals received, we cannot guarantee we’ll be able to do this in all cases.

You can find the entire archive of past MW papers since the conference’s founding in 1997 freely available online.

Learn more about the conference in Vancouver next April.

Best Practices for Polling Visitors onsite

Hi Everyone, I am wondering if you can help me figure something out.

We are interested in “polling” our visitors to get an idea of their main reason for visiting us on any given day in order to better understand what is driving our fantastic upswing in ticket sales. Can you make any recommendations on best ways to collect this kind of data?

As a background, we are located in downtown Cleveland, and we are near 3 sports stadiums, a convention center, many concert venues, and other event spaces. We are looking to get insight into whether our visitors came downtown specifically to visit us, or if maybe they are in town for a sporting event, concert, or convention and added us to their itinerary, etc. We believe the more insight we can get into this the better we can deliver amazing experiences for our visitors.
Right now the majority of our ticket sales are at our onsite box office which means we do not have contact information to do a follow up survey after they visit, and we are marketing hard to get the word out for people to purchase in advance online so we can collect contact information in our CRM/Ticketing system. Our online sales are improving but we aren’t quite there yet. So, the ‘poll’ will need to be asked on site.

We are considering asking a multiple choice question at the box office at the time of sale but I’m afraid that will slow down our purchase path too much when we already have long lines especially on weekends.
What do you think we should do to get the most data but not disrupt the visitor journey? Have any of you tackled similar data collecting? I’m all ears and welcome any and all insights.

Heidi Quicksilver
Interim VP of Technology
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Gear up for MW18 by joining a Community of Practice on Immersive Storytelling, Online Collections, or Accessibility!

Find colleagues and collaborators for your MW18 presentation – the Call for Proposals is open now!

MW Communities of Practice (CoP) are a new way to continue and grow the conversations and collaborations that start at MW conferences, through online and in-person interactions year-round. Kicked off at MW17 by leaders in the field, CoPs include both cultural heritage professionals and providers of innovative products and services in the field. CoPs enable practitioners from around the world to share data, best practices, case studies and knowledge about topics of common interest as well as to collaborate on research and projects to help the community get better at its work.

Sign up and find out more on the wiki:


Immersive Storytelling

Online Collections

2017 IDCA Awards deadline extended to September 15

The deadline for submitting your entry to the 2017 IDCA Awards has been extended to 15 September. Don’t miss your chance to take part in this year’s edition of the International Design and Communication Awards for cultural organizations

Museums, cultural institutions and their agencies have ten days left to enter the 2017 IDCA Awards, with entries closing on 15 September.

Organised by cultural communications agency Agenda, the annual competition rewards excellence in design, innovation and creativity at an international level. Submit your project or campaign by 15 September for a chance to win one of six awards.

The winners, announced during the ceremony in Los Angeles on 8 November, will be presented during an exhibition, featured in the 2017 booklet and promoted through an international press campaign.


Applications: 10 March to 15 September
Selection: October 2017
The IDCA Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles: 8 November 2017
Exhibition of the winning projects in Los Angeles, during the 19th Communicating the Museum conference: 6-8 November 2017

Are you submitting an innovative digital project to the IDCA Awards?
Make sure to also enter the competition for the 2018 GLAMi Awards. Organized by the Museums and the Web Conferences, the GLAMi Awards (formerly Best of the Web) recognize and celebrate the best work in the field to engage, inform and excite people both on the Web and across the myriad networked platforms and contexts innovative cultural practices take us. Nominate your or other leading projects by March 2018!

MW18 Call for Proposals closes September 30!

The Call for Proposals for MW18 papers, workshops, professional forums, and how-to sessions is open through September 30, 2017. You may propose demonstrations and lightning talks through December 31.

Join us in Vancouver for MW18, April 18-21, 2018! Learn about the most innovative and trend-setting projects of the year and meet international leaders in the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) sector.

Do you have or know of an innovative project completed between April 2017 and April 2018? You can nominate it for a GLAMi award until March 11, 2018!

MW conferences do not have pre-determined themes; instead, the program is built from the ground up based on what the community proposes. You may propose a session on any topic relevant to the field. The program is selected by an international committee of cultural heritage professionals, and reflects the issues and ideas of greatest interest and urgency in each year.

Authors submitting proposals by September 30, 2017 are notified if their paper has been accepted and the draft program is announced by December 1, 2017 when registration opens. Authors proposing demonstrations and lightning talks are notified by February 1, 2018 if their proposal has been accepted. We endeavor to contact and give feedback to authors whose proposals have not been accepted as well, but due to the volume of proposals received, we cannot guarantee we’ll be able to do this in all cases.

Want to know what an MW program is made of? You can find the entire archive of past MW papers since the conference’s founding in 1997 freely available online.

Need help attending MW18? Apply for scholarships and volunteer positions by December 1, 2017.

Sign up to get the latest news and updates  for MW18 in Vancouver.