Coming Soon: Profiles of Cultural Heritage Institutions – A New Blog miniSeries

Recently, I discovered my ideal graduate program – only a few months after I graduated from my own. Since the ideal is also an MLIS, this is a sadly missed opportunity.* Sigh.

Since I can’t take advantage of this amazing program*, I have decided I am going to use the course descriptions and other publicly-available information as a guide, to build my own experience and skills in the direction of Cultural Heritage Information Management.

Side note: After a serendipitous find while searching for (tomorrow’s) infographic, I have discovered that there is actually a European movement toward Enterprise Cultural Heritage, which I am currently looking into for ideas.

At any rate, one of the required specialty courses offered at The Catholic University of America (CUA) is History and Theory of Cultural Heritage Institutions. The course description on CUA’s MSLIS site states:

During a week of field visits and classroom sessions, supplemented by individual research and writing projects, students will gain an overview of the rich variety of library collections that support, and operate in tandem with, cultural institutions in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Students will learn about the programs and mission of large, nationally-known museums as well as small, community-based historical organizations. Students will be encouraged to consider changes in technology and informatics during the first decade of the 21st century, and the impact of those changes on art and museum library and archival services, collections, space allocations, staffing, and equipment.

Thus, as an independent study, I have decided to undertake profiles of historical organizations, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. Some of the focus will be in Toronto, since that is where I currently reside, but I hope to consider cultural heritage institutions in the US, and even outside of North America.

Let’s add some parameters and goals:

  1. Post one profile per week.
  2. Post 8 profiles in total, spending 2 months to complete this project (completion expected approximately just before the end-of-year holidays).
  3. Post 3 profiles of large, nationally or internationally-known museums, one at least from the U.S. and from Canada, and one from a country outside of North America.
  4. Post 3 profiles of small, community-based cultural heritage organizations, either museums or archives or historical associations/organizations. Again, one from the U.S., one from Canada, and one from a non-North American country (not necessarily the same as the example in #3).
  5. The last two profiles I am going to leave undetermined until the week before they’re posted.
  6. Post notices about which institution is up next, at the end of each profile.
  7. Include at minimum, sections on context/history of the institution, its programming, its mission statement, and the impact of changes in technology and informatics on each institution in particular.
  8. Finally, I will post a summary in the 9th week, which will synthesize the trends, commonalities, and differences among institutions based on their size, location, and mission.

NB: I will keep up my original posts (i.e. about everything else) as well as I can.

NB2: Look out for next week’s Profile, on the Smithsonian!

*For those who are interested this amazing program is the Cultural Heritage Information Management MLIS specialization at CUA. Sponsored by IMLS (who have provided funding for 17 scholarships! So if you, too, are interested, make sure you check out the scholarship information!)

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