15 episodes

Join us for inspiring conversations with museum professionals using technology to tell their museums’ stories in innovative and meaningful ways.

What's On: The Cuberis Podcast Nick Faber, Director of Content Strategy

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    • 5.0, 4 Ratings

Join us for inspiring conversations with museum professionals using technology to tell their museums’ stories in innovative and meaningful ways.

    Episode 14: #MuseumBouquet and #MuseumSunshine

    Episode 14: #MuseumBouquet and #MuseumSunshine

    My guests today are Emily Haight of the New-York Historical Society and Hilary-Morgan Watt of the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. They manage the social media accounts for their respective institutions, and during the COVID-19 crisis, they’ve been collaborating on campaigns that offer a little bit of light and joy, in an otherwise dark time. You may have seen the hashtags #museumboquet and #museumsunshine, through which they’ve shared virtual flowers and rays of light from their collections.



    We had a great talk about the importance of connecting people to museums and each other through simple human gestures and explored the importance of digital media during the shutdown and beyond.



    But first, I wanted to know how these two social media managers, from two different types of institutions in two different cities became close collaborators. So, that’s where we’ll start.



    If you’d like to be a guest on What’s On or know someone else doing innovative work online for their museum—especially now—send me an email. It’s nick@cuberis.com.



    (Other links mentioned in this episode: Museums are Not Neutral & Museum Workers Relief Fund)

    • 31 min
    Episode 13: Claire Lanier from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Episode 13: Claire Lanier from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    If you work in social media for your cultural institution, there's a pretty good chance you know Claire Lanier, or are at least familiar with her work. I first interviewed Claire for this podcast about two years ago, when she was managing social media at the New-York Historical Society. She and Meredith Duncan, who was at the Museum of the City of New York, had just won MUSE Award for the #MuseumSnowBallFight campaign, in which museums around the world lobbed snow-related images at each other via social media, while much of the US was shut down during the Bomb Cyclone storm.



    Based on that conversation, I knew that Claire had a knack for using social media to connect a museum's mission with its audience, even when that museum's doors are closed. So I thought this would be a good time to check in to see how it's been running social media for the Met during a pandemic.

    • 32 min
    Episode 12: Alison Byrne and Brad Tuggle from Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

    Episode 12: Alison Byrne and Brad Tuggle from Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

    If you're listening to this in April 2020, which is when I'm recording this, I don't need to tell you how much has changed in the world since the last time I did an episode of What's On. If you happen to be listening in the distant future and don't remember what I'm talking about, we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and museums are temporarily closed to the public. Physically, at least.



    As days of sheltering in place turned into weeks, and now over a month, museum members, families, and just people in general have been hungry for the sort of cultural and educational sustenance that only a museum can provide. And some museums are using digital tools to rise to the occasion.



    A couple of weeks ago I was looking through the excellent thread of posts using the #MuseumFromHome hashtag, and I spotted a tweet from Virginia MOCA announcing the launch of a new site: Virtual VA MOCA. When I clicked through, I landed on a pretty robust site, with virtual galleries of current exhibitions, educational resources and videos made from home, and interviews with artists, who are exhibiting from home. All of this was built out on a free Google site, and it felt totally made for this exact moment. Because it was.



    I started this podcast two years ago to showcase the great work museums are doing with online content, in the hopes of inspiring other museum professionals who are struggling with content strategies. And now, more than ever, that's my goal. So I spoke with Brad Tuggle, Virginia MOCA's Director Of Audience Development, and Alison Byrne, Director of Exhibitions and Education, to ask them to share a little inspiration in this strange and challenging time.

    • 25 min
    Episode 11: Jay Cosnett and Erin Brasell of Oregon Historical Society

    Episode 11: Jay Cosnett and Erin Brasell of Oregon Historical Society

    My guests today are Jay Cosnett and Erin Brasell from the Oregon Historical Society, and they’re talking with me about their recently-launched blog, Dear Oregon.



    **FULL TRANSCRIPT**



    NICK: Hi, and welcome to What’s On, the Cuberis podcast. I’m Nick Faber.



    My guests today are Jay Cosnett and Erin Brasell from the Oregon Historical Society, and they’re talking with me about their recently-launched blog, Dear Oregon.



    I met Jay last year in Vancouver, at the Museums and the Web conference. It was my first time at MW, and I was co-hosting a content strategy workshop with our CEO Eric. I’d like to think that everyone in the class got something out of our session, but Jay, in particular, seemed to be especially excited to be there.



    JAY: So I walked in thinking, well I know a little about content strategy, but not focused on museums, this will be great. But then, in like the first two minutes, Nick says, “So, content strategy is a big topic, but what we’re going to do to get your feet wet in an actual project, we’re going to pretend that your organization is starting a blog. And I was like [clap, clap] awesome. Because, of course, we were…



    ERIN: We were starting a blog!



    NICK: A few months ago, I checked in on the OHS website to see how the blog was going. And I was so thrilled to see that their new blog, Dear Oregon, had not only launched but was producing some really rich collections-based content. So I reached out to Jay to see if he wanted to talk about the blog, and he insisted that I meet Erin Brasell, too, who Jay described as the brains behind the blog, and they joined me over Skype. Since I’d never been to the Oregon Historical Society, I wanted to know a little bit about what I’d find there, and that’s where we’ll pick up the conversation.



    ERIN: Our mission is to preserve our state's history and make it accessible to everyone in ways that advance knowledge and inspire curiosity about all the people, places, and events that have shaped Oregon.



    And it's a mouthful, and it's a pretty broad mission, but we do work to advance the mission in a number of ways, including, we have permanent and temporary exhibits, both here in the building and online. We have a research library, we do a number of public programs and workshops here in our downtown location. We also partner with other organizations across the state.



    And the Oregon Historical Society recently launched a digital collections site in 2017, which makes available online thousands of images. We also have oral histories and documents from our collections. And they're constantly being updated. So, like hundreds a week, usually?



    JAY: Yes, hundreds a week. There's tens of thousands of documents on there and the diversity is astounding. And there's just more and more stuff up there all the time. And part of what's important about that is that even though we're located in downtown Portland, we're the Oregon Historical Society. So we're really charged — we're not a part of the government, we're an independent nonprofit that is charged with — we have a duty to preserve and share the history of the entire state with the entire state.



    So one of the reasons that — my title is web strategist — one of the reasons I was hired almost five years ago was because we needed to do a better job providing services to people who aren't physically here. And so that's really where the web comes in. So the digital collections site has been a huge leap forward in our abilities to provide access to our materials to people who aren't just here.



    NICK: Awesome, and actually, I had this as a question later on, but Jay, since you mentioned being a web strategist, could tell me a little bit more about what you do at the Oregon Historical Society?



    JAY: Sure,

    • 25 min
    Episode 10: Jennifer Henel of Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art

    Episode 10: Jennifer Henel of Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art

    Jennifer Henel is Digital Humanities Developer at Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art



    My guest today is Jennifer Henel, Digital Humanities Developer at Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art.



    When we talk about museum website content at Cuberis, we break it down into four types. We call one of those types "Essential Content." This refers to the day to day work, mostly scholarly in nature, that occurs at your museum, and would even if you didn't have a website.



    Thanks to recent innovations and initiatives, more and more institutions are finding innovative ways of repurposing Essential Work as web content. Jennifer has been helping curators and historians publish their work online for years, and joined me to talk about some of the unique challenges of digitizing scholarly works. She also has some great ideas and insights for others who are looking to do something similar for their own institutions.



    **FULL TRANSCRIPT**



    NICK: Hi, and welcome to What’s On: The Cuberis podcast. I’m Nick Faber.



    If you’ve ever worked on a website redesign project, you know that it takes a lot of content to fill an entire website. But for a moment, imagine that your museum didn’t have a website at all. Think of how much content your museum would still to produce -- Catalogs, scholarly research, educational resources, labels -- all of the work that is essential to your museum’s mission and purpose. But your museum does have a website, and that work can now impact people who can’t make it to your physical location.



    When we talk about museum websites at Cuberis, we refer to that type of content as Essential Work. Thanks to recent innovations in digital technology, more and more cultural institutions are making their Essential Work available online, making it accessible to more historians and scholars, and taking advantage of the Internet’s intrinsic properties to make it easier to read and understand.



    My guest today is Jennifer Henel. She is working with Research Conservator Melanie Gifford of the National Gallery of Art to produce a new publication for the all-digital Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art. I invited her to join me to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of publishing scholarly work online, what peer review looks like for digital publications, and what sort of insights she has for museums looking to make more Essential Work accessible to more people.



    Jennifer joined me over Skype from the National Gallery of Art. Before we dove into the technical aspects of her work, I wanted to know more about the Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Arts.



    JENNIFER: Sure. It is the scholarly production of articles, etc, relating to Netherlandish art, Flemish art, Northern Baroque paintings, by and large, Dutch Art, that kind of spans the 1400s - I'm making large generalizations here -- through, I'd say the early 1700s, depending on the subject matter. And they are deep scholarly dives, often, into a particular painting or paintings, that sort of thing.



    It is a community of these various historians that are spread out throughout the world, and they can all contribute. And they aim for quarterly publication, though it just depends on what is coming up when they produce certain publications.



    So that is what the journal does.



    NICK: So you just started working with them -- or recently started working with them -- as a digital humanities developer. What is your role there, and what does that title mean?



    JENNIFER: So I am working on a specific new publication that is part of the journal offerings. It's going to be slated for next year. We're aiming, I believe, for late June to push this out. And what I'll be doing is, I'm working with a scholar, Melanie Gifford, on her research on the Sir Peter Paul Rubens painting The Fall of ...

    • 30 min
    Episode 9: Adrienne Clark of Museum of Pop Culture

    Episode 9: Adrienne Clark of Museum of Pop Culture

    If you’re like Adrienne Clark, you might find that you have more in common with your museum's audience than not.



    Before she was the Museum of Pop Culture’s Content Manager, Adrienne was a member of the museum and a fan of their collections. And because she can empathize with her audience on that level, the MoPOP blog and Instagram feed always feel vibrant and relevant.



    I came across the MoPOP blog a few months ago as I was scanning through hundreds of museum websites, and her work immediately stood out to me. Not just because of the subject matter -- as you’ll hear, I’m also a fan of the museum’s topics -- but because of the content’s voice.



    I wanted to know how she developed the voice of the MoPOP blog, so I asked Adrienne to join me for a Skype call.







    **FULL TRANSCRIPT**



    NICK: Hi, and welcome to What’s On. The Cuberis Podcast. I’m Nick Faber. My guest today is Adrienne Clark, Content Manager at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.



    As someone who produces content for your museum, how often do you think about your audience? It might sound like a trick question, but in my opinion, it should always be the first thing you do as you sit down to write an article, take a photo, or produce a new web page.



    If you start out by asking some simple questions -- Like, who is this content for? What value do we expect to give them? And how could this shape their experience with our institution? -- you can ensure that your website, your blog, or any other digital content you create is making an impact and reinforcing your relationship with your audience.



    And if you’re like Adrienne Clark, you might find that you have more in common with your audience than not.



    Before she was the Museum of Pop Culture’s Content Manager, Adrienne was a member of the museum and a fan of their collections. And because she can empathize with her audience on that level, the MoPOP blog and Instagram feed always feel vibrant and relevant.



    I came across the MoPOP blog a few months ago as I was scanning through hundreds of museum websites, and her work immediately stood out to me. Not just because of the subject matter -- as you’ll hear, I’m also a fan of the museum’s topics -- but because of the content’s voice.



    I wanted to know how she developed the voice of the MoPOP blog, so I asked Adrienne to join me for a Skype call. But first, I’ve never been to her museum, so I wanted to know what I could expect to see if I ever got the chance. And that’s where we’ll pick up the conversation.



    ADRIENNE: Well, the first thing you'll see is a big, colorful kind of crazy-looking building designed by Frank Gehry. It's right underneath the Space Needle. You can't really miss it. The monorail, which you probably would have seen swooping through the neighborhood goes straight through the building as well. So that's the first thing you're going to see, and you're gonna go, what is this place?



    Inside, you're going to see exhibits on music -- Nirvana, Pearl Jam -- exhibits on science fiction and horror film, as well as indie games. And right now we have a huge, massive -- our biggest exhibit to date -- of Marvel Universe of Super Heros, so a pretty cool addition.



    NICK: Awesome. Yeah, I noticed lately that you've had a lot more Halloween related content, so I was wondering how much horror is actually on display in the museum. Is that a pretty big part? Is it like film in general, or are you pretty genre-specific?



    ADRIENNE: It's actually one exhibit that focuses on horror. You're seeing a little bit of my joy of horror as well, I'm a big horror film fan. And every year we do a kind of initiative called "31 Days of Horror", but we only have four or so events, so the rest of that is filled out with content. It's our bread and butter this time of year.

    • 29 min

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