announcing museum making: a research project.
This summer and through next May, I’ll be hard at work on my thesis research project, Museum Making: Creating with New Technologies in Art Museums. Over the past three years, art museums have launched initiatives inviting audiences—from casual visitors to professional artists and technologists—to take the reigns of creative production and experimentation with new technologies. Hackathons, startup incubators, labs, 3D printing workshops, and maker spaces are just some of the offerings that fall under museum making. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Media Lab to the Peabody Essex Museum’s Maker Lounge, I’ll be investigating how these initiatives have emerged and the impact they are having on communities of creators.
While many types of cultural and learning institutions—especially children’s museums, science museums, and discovery centers—have long incorporated making and creative technologies, my research primarily focuses on technology initiatives at art institutions. Among other things, I’m interested in exploring the implications of museum making on concepts of aesthetic value and creative production.
Museum making initiatives have only been adopted in art museums in the last few years. I believe this research project is an excellent opportunity to trace the historical precedents of these initiatives, while also observing how museum making develops and imagining its implications for the future of cultural institutions. Although this is a specific movement happening right now, the debates around it address broader questions: How do change and innovation happen in cultural institutions? Who gets to make cultural and art objects? And who gets to bestow aesthetic value on these new forms of art?
I launched a blog to share my thoughts and progress as I delve into my research. Over the next few months, I’ll be reading, writing, attending museum tech events, and talking with participants of these programs. If you’re involved in creative technology at a museum in anyway, or just generally interested in the subject, let’s talk!