January 27, 2009
Before I visit Washington, I want to be able to go to the web and select items Iím really interested in from the entire Smithsonian collection. When I wake up the next morning, I want in my inbox a PDF of my personalized tour to see these objects. When Iím standing in front of an object in a museum, I want to see or hear more information about it on my cell phone. When an event happens related to an object Iím interested in, I want a text message about it. I want to know when itís feeding time for the pandas, or when Lincolnís handball will be on public display. And I want to easily share this information with my classmates, my friends, my family.
Cohen: “This is the Smithsonian not as a network of museums but as a platform for lifelong learning and cultural engagement.”
I’ll add that I love the unabashed fetishism of it — “I don’t love the museum! I love the THINGS it contains!” It’s a vision of cultural membership, not in a changing curatorial space, but in the artifacts and art objects themselves.
It’s not using the new information networks to try to obliterate the physical world, but to exchange one relationship to it for another. And I think that’s pretty cool.