NODEM 2013 Conference has ended
Tuesday, December 3 • 2:00pm - 2:15pm
Ask The Museum - The Uses of a Q&A Tool in a Museum

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In recent years a growing number of museums’ Q&A-websites, services and online events have emerged. The Finnish Museum of Photography introduced its “Ask the Museum” (in Finnish “Kysy museolta”) online service in 2011. A step further was taken in January 2013, when six other museums adopted the service and the common main page for “Ask the Museum” network in Finland was launched. 

The idea of the service is simple: anyone can send a question to a participating museum related to its field of expertise and the member of museum staff who knows most about the subject answers within a week. Most of the questions and answers are published on the participating museum’s own “Ask the Museum” website. Images can be attached both to questions and answers. The public can also browse and search the published answers, comment them and share their knowledge about the subject. Each museum’s own “Ask the Museum” website gradually builds up to be a public data bank of the museum’s field of expertise. 

“Ask the Museum” system also includes a possibility to collect data related to the museum’s field of expertise for museum’s internal use: each participating museum has its own backend which can be used as a database for recording knowledge which is not directly about museum’s collections or objects – that is intangible heritage, even museum’s tacit knowledge.

The launch in January 2013 was preceded by a project in which seven Finnish museums developed the system together with Flo Apps Ltd and Kide Concepts. The Finnish Museum of Photography coordinated the project. The aim of the project was to achieve a Q&A tool that can be brought into use in several Finnish museums or even nationwide. At the moment the “Ask the Museum” network is negotiating with The Finnish National Board of Antiquities (NBA) for the NBA to assume the responsibility to develop the system further and to coordinate the process in which new museums adopt the system.


Maria Virtanen

Maria Virtanen works as a curator at the Finnish Museum of Photography She co-ordinated the project in which seven museums adopted “Ask the Museum” online service.

Tuesday December 3, 2013 2:00pm - 2:15pm PST
Stockholm City Museum, Auditorium Ryssgården, Slussen, Stockholm, Sweden

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