DASER – Museums in the Digital Age


I was thrilled when I was asked to provide introductory remarks to this month’s DASER discussion on the topic of “Museums in the Digital Age.” DASER—D.C. Art Science Evening Rendezvous—is a monthly discussion forum about the intersection of art and science.) And then, when it came time for me to actually prepare my remarks, I was perplexed. How could I possibly compress any coherent thoughts on this subject into just 4 minutes (especially given that I teach a 13-week graduate course of the same name for the Johns Hopkins University museum studies program)? I stopped feeling sorry for myself when I came across Matthew Lincoln’s video “The Three-Minute Dissertation.” If he could distill such a complex and considerable effort into such a pithy presentation, surely I could craft a set common threads for consideration during the panelist presentations and discussion that followed. In my remarks, I attempted to interrogate three long-held beliefs about what museums are—but within the fresh context of the digital age. You can access my my slides here or watch the video below.

Far more interesting than my introduction, however, were the presentations that followed. You can see evidence of this in the #DASER Twitter discussion.

The lineup of presentations:

  • Skin & Bones Mobile App: The Promise of Augmented Reality for the 21st Century Museum: Robert Costello, National Outreach Program Manager, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.; and Diana Marques, Smithsonian Fellow and Scientific Illustrator, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. (Check out the app here)
  • The Art Historian’s Macroscope: Museum Data and The Academy: Matthew Lincoln, PhD Candidate, Seventeenth-Century Dutch and Flemish Art, University of Maryland, College Park (Here are his slides and notes.)
  • NAS Great Hall Mobile AppLee Boot, Associate Research Professor and Associate Director, Imaging Research Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Check out the current app here…next version coming soon!)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s MediaLab. Experiments and Provocations at the Intersection of Art, Technology, and the Museum Experience: Don Undeen, Senior Manager, MediaLab, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City (Learn about the fascinating work of the MediaLab here.)

Thanks to J. D. Talasek for inviting me to speak and to Alana Quinn for your organization and outreach (and fab live tweeting!). I’m looking forward to attending future DASER events and so should you—join this fabulously smart and engaged group of people who are jazzed about the opportunities at the intersection of art and science! Also note that these events are live webcasted so you can participate even if you’re not in the DC metro area.

One thought on “DASER – Museums in the Digital Age

  1. Thank you for summarizing this, Dana, since I couldn’t make it. I like the visuals in your presentation and was happy to see the Archives’ crowdsourcing activities canonized. Keep up the fabulous work!

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