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Topic: Museums

Blog Post
January 28, 2021

Convening the Cohort

Teaching with Digital Cultural Heritage Materials in the Pandemic

Last summer we announced a Mellon funded project to study how higher education instructors are adapting their practices of teaching with cultural heritage materials during the pandemic. In this post we share how our project is developing and the issues we are tracking as our research gets underway. Why are we doing this project? We remain in a similarly unprecedented landscape six months later, as the COVID-19 virus remains a terrible threat. Technology has allowed certain types of activities…
Blog Post
January 11, 2021

When to Ask (or Not Ask) Demographic Questions

People are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with sharing personal information—like email addresses, names of their spouses, and demographics such as race-ethnicity and gender—with their employers and other organizations more broadly. Many people are concerned about their privacy as more and more data are collected in a wide range of contexts. Some are apprehensive about research and associated data collection in general due to its history of racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination and mistreatment in a…
Blog Post
December 3, 2020

An Updated Snapshot of the Archival Profession

Gearing up for A*CENSUS II

In 2004, the Society of American Archivists led A*CENSUS, the first broadscale survey of individual archivists in the United States in nearly thirty years. The initiative resulted in tremendous impact for the archival field. For institutions and professional organizations, the data informed the design of new curricula and the assessment of current educational offerings; for archival institutions, the opportunity to advocate for resources, set goals, and benchmark against peers; and for researchers, the…
Blog Post
November 18, 2020

Four Strategies for Crafting Inclusive and Effective Demographic Questions

At Ithaka S+R, we regularly re-evaluate the quality and inclusivity of the demographic questions we include in our surveys, just as we do with all of the items in our instruments. These questions undergo a rigorous, iterative revision process: we conduct desk research, gather feedback from advisors, test all questions with potential participants prior to launching, and pay attention to trends in open-ended responses to our questions. All of these approaches, along with following trends in research and…
Blog Post
November 12, 2020

Findings from the Inaugural Art Museum Director Survey

Benchmarking Perspectives from Early 2020

Today, Jennifer Frederick and I published findings from the inaugural art museum director survey, funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and conducted in partnership with the Association of Art Museum Directors and the American Alliance of Museums. The survey captures the perspectives of directors from a moment in time before the COVID-19 pandemic forced closures of museums in the US, and before the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor sparked major protests against police brutality…
Research Report
November 12, 2020

Ithaka S+R Art Museum Director Survey 2020

Art museums serve a unique social role in that they operate between the public sphere, the academy, the art market, and the philanthropic sector. They are invaluable resources for scholars and also serve school children, adults, seniors while engaging broadly in the cultural life of their cities. Beyond these roles, they also have the responsibility to maintain and care for a collection of objects for future generations in perpetuity. The Ithaka S+R Art Museum Director Survey 2020 examines strategy and…
Blog Post
November 11, 2020

The Relationships That Drive Campus Collaborations

How Museums and Libraries Grapple With Institutional Barriers Towards Working Together

As collecting institutions on campus, libraries and museums have a great deal to learn from each other. Libraries have excelled in adapting to digital environments, a development that has served them especially well during the COVID-19 pandemic. Academic museums have grown increasingly sophisticated as public spaces, serving as an access point for local communities and visitors of all kinds on otherwise exclusive campuses. In this way, notable competencies have emerged in the library sector towards breadth of access…
Research Report
November 10, 2020

Structuring Collaborations

The Opportunities and Challenges of Building Relationships Between Academic Museums and Libraries

In 2019 Ithaka S+R received funding from the Mellon Foundation to study the structural relationships between academic museums and libraries. Ithaka S+R conducted interviews with museum and library directors, and in some cases other senior staff, at thirty universities. Based on these interviews, three institutions were selected for short case studies as examples of effective collaborations: University of Iowa, the Atlanta University Center, and Princeton University.
Blog Post
October 6, 2020

Ithaka S+R Is Hiring

Two New Analyst Job Openings

Are you passionate about higher education and the arts? Our work helps these organizations and their support providers—including libraries, publishers, scholarly societies, and museums— enhance scholarship, instruction, community engagement, and student success. Ithaka S+R is hiring for two new positions that will work on some of our most exciting research and advisory projects. Both roles will work collaboratively on research projects that lead to publications including grant-funded research…
Blog Post
August 19, 2020

Exploring the Effectiveness and Durability of Digital Preservation and Curation Services

Announcing a New Research Project Funded by IMLS 

With generous funding from the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS), we are pleased to initiate an 18-month research project to examine and assess how digital preservation and curation systems (DPCS) are developed, deployed, and sustained. Because our cultural, historic, and scientific heritage is increasingly being produced and shared in digital forms, libraries, archives, and museums are increasingly dependent on digital platforms to support the curation, discovery, and long-term management of digital…
Blog Post
August 17, 2020

Teaching with Cultural Heritage Online During the Pandemic

New Mellon-Funded Project

Today we are excited to announce a new project funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will explore how teaching and learning with cultural heritage collections and materials is evolving in response to the pandemic. Instructors who seek to use cultural heritage objects from museums, archives, and special collections face unique challenges when adapting to remote teaching. What is needed is deeper understanding of, and better support for these instructors in this current moment.  This…
Blog Post
June 12, 2020

How Will Museums Live Up to their Solidarity Commitments?

Last week at the American Alliance of Museums Virtual meeting, Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Secretary Lonnie Bunch, and Lori Fogarty discussed the protests that have erupted across the country and around the world, in order to start a dialogue about the museum’s role in confronting structural racism in America. Since the reignition of Black Lives Matter protests by George Floyd’s murder, many museums…
Blog Post
May 26, 2020

Measuring What Matters

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in Academic Library Strategic Plans 

Equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility have become buzzwords across the higher education sector with leaders at many institutions asserting these as strategic priorities and key values. In our most recent national survey of US academic library directors, conducted in fall 2019, we included new coverage of these important topics. And, now, as we face an academic year that will likely be shaped by budget cuts and re-prioritization, we wonder about the degree to…
Blog Post
May 6, 2020

Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility

African Memory Institutions and the Response to COVID-19 

The implications and consequences of the COVID-19  pandemic can vary greatly depending on demographic, political, social, cultural and economic factors.  Therefore the regional documentation initiatives–now being undertaken by cultural heritage institutions throughout the world–are essential to capturing local circumstances and experiences. This work is vital to help future generations understand the extent of the pandemic and its vast impact.  To this end, and in collaboration with several international preservation advocacy organizations, UNESCO recently made a public…
Blog Post
April 24, 2020

The “Viral Pandemic Exclusion” Clause in Business Interruption Insurance Policies

After one month of quarantining to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the economic impacts of closing small businesses and cultural centers are becoming apparent. In the weeks and months to come, affected organizations will seek relief from numerous institutions for these sacrifices, which were necessary to comply with local orders, decrease the burden on the healthcare industry, and save lives in their communities. The form that relief will take remains to be seen. In cases where cultural organizations…
Blog Post
April 13, 2020

To Survive This Pandemic, Some Museums are Pivoting to Virtual Engagement 

Museums are in trouble. Consider the three primary sources of revenue for museums: earned revenue from visitors, private support, and endowment income. The first is indefinitely suspended, advocating for the second is increasingly difficult to justify during a public health crisis, and the third has been dramatically reduced by losses in the market. The Met and MoMA are laying off hundreds. While the threats those museums face are not necessarily existential, many other museums with smaller budgets will…
Blog Post
March 18, 2020

Cultural Organizations & COVID-19

Documenting Virtual Engagement Strategies

Efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 have fundamentally, and in many cases permanently, transformed the landscape of cultural consumption. As of Monday, March 16th, over 400 major US museums have closed their doors and ceased their traditional programming. While this is an essential part of collectively weathering a public health crisis that is likely to overwhelm the US healthcare system in a matter of days, these closures invariably introduce a deep degree of precarity for hundreds of…
Blog Post
January 23, 2020

Brooklyn Museum’s Paid Internship Program

When considering the themes of the art world in 2019, money seems to dominate the narrative, perhaps slightly more than usual, and from a few different angles. Jeff Koons reclaimed the title of most expensive sale of an artwork by a living artist at $90.2 million. Protests addressed the controversial philanthropy of Kanders and the Sacklers, among others. Museum staff unionized at the…
Case Study
January 23, 2020

Internship Program Evaluation

Brooklyn Museum and Citi Foundation

Citigroup and the Citi Foundation have supported two years of paid internships through the Brooklyn Museum’s education department. The $125,000 grant is part of the foundation’s “Pathways to Progress” initiative. In 2017, Citi Foundation committed $100 million to this global effort to support pathways into careers for emerging professionals. The funding allowed the Brooklyn Museum to hire twenty interns, ten for the summer of 2018 and ten for the summer of 2019. The goal for this funding was to provide…
Blog Post
January 22, 2020

Copyright Education for Cultural Institutions

A 21st Century Approach for Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Today, Ithaka S+R is co-publishing, with Columbia University Libraries, a summary report about a roundtable held over the summer about Copyright Education in Libraries, Archives, and Museums. This is the latest step by a group of copyright experts and educators towards strengthening and sustaining copyright education for memory institutions and the research and educational missions they serve.  Ithaka S+R’s, in close partnership with Columbia’s Rina Elster Pantalony and Lyrasis’s Tom Clareson,…