May 16, 2012  |  Tech
What Do You Want from

A view of the home page

I just came back from Museums and the Web 2012, an annual conference about the intersection of museums and technology. Museum staff from around the world presented case studies on innovative technology projects in their institutions. Highlights included the Nintendo audio guide for the Louvre, the Art Game Lab at SFMOMA, and an award-winning site on social media impact social media and museums called

Beyond interesting case studies of what’s been developed in the past year, there were presentations on what’s next on the museum and technology horizon. Many conference attendees talked about museums pioneering on Pinterest. They debated the technological fluency of museum visitors, for example whether they will use QR codes to access information in front of an object, or tweet questions about a work of art while in the galleries. All of these discussions about the next, best tool to add to the museum technology landscape came back to one question: What resources do online visitors want from museum websites?

A QR code in the MoMA galleries

For the most part, museums understand that a Web presence and social media are important tools for fulfilling their mission to engage audiences. Research and analytics consistently indicate that visitors are looking for key information on a museum website: directions and contact information, what’s on view, exhibition calendars, online collections, and occasionally video and audio. However, social media tools allow us to have far richer conversations and connections with visitors. So I turn to you as an Inside/Out reader to ask: What more can we do online to serve your creative and intellectual interests?

This post was inspired by a MoMA project called “I went to MoMA and…”, in which visitors are invited to fill out a piece of paper that says, “I went to MoMA and…” with comments, drawings, quotes, or stories. The project, which has received an overwhelming 20,000 submissions to date, has sparked many discussions among staff about how we can better support our visitors’ creativity while at the Museum or in the galleries. But what about fueling the creativity of our online visitors? So I put it up to you! Please complete this thought in the comments section: “I went to and…”