GLAM/Case studies/The Children's Museum of Indianapolis/Institutional awareness

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Staff members and Wikipedians come together at a Backstage Pass event

Increasing institutional awareness and staff enthusiasm for Wikipedia naturally became a primary goal of the Children's Museum collaboration. Together with the director of web and emerging media, the Wikipedian-in-Residence organized a campaign to educate the entire staff. The initial focus was on a week-long visit from Liam Wyatt, who spoke to the entire staff at the monthly President’s Coffee staff meeting. Wyatt also assisted with a voluntary staff Lunch and Learn and the museum’s Backstage Pass event for local Wikipedians.



Throughout the first months of the collaboration, the Wikipedian-in-Residence met with staff at all levels to share the project and the potential for museum-Wikipedia collaboration, including meetings with President and CEO Jeff Patchen, the Executive Team, and the Digital Team. The Wikipedian-in-Residence also worked closely with the collections, public programs, and school services departments to establish processes and gather resources for the various projects. The public relations department was integral in sharing information on the projects, both internally to staff and externally with the museum’s audiences. Promotion of the image donation, MAPs project, and Carousel article update were all carried out through the Children’s Museum blog and other social media outlets such as Twitter.

Staff participated in the Backstage Pass event, which allowed local Wikipedians the opportunity to go behind the scenes in collections storage. This allowed staff to understand the interests and motivations of Wikipedians (mainly, that they enjoy taking photos and uploading them to Commons) and provided a way for staff and Wikipedians to get to know one another and ask questions. Staff and Backstage Pass participants were given Wikipedia buttons for their lanyards, which many still wear around the museum. Since many staff where buttons to show their support for various museum initiatives, this was a good way to spread enthusiasm for the Wikipedia project.

Curatorial staff especially became involved in the Wikipedia project across a number of projects. They became enthusiastic about gathering and sharing resources for both the MAPs project and the initiative to update the Broad Ripple Park Carousel article. They were keen to provide as much information as possible and to offer insight and corrections when necessary. This provided a sense of ownership for the articles and the content that was added to Wikipedia.

Staff were updated about the various projects as they occurred, beginning with Liam Wyatt's visit in November 2010, and continuing through the Wikipedian-in-Residence's time at the museum. Presentations were given to share the results of the student project to create Wikipedia articles and related departments were updated with other projects like the Featured Article status of the Broad Ripple Carousel, the Wikipedia Widget, the Reuben Wells DYK nomination, and the Foot Binding Shoes Featured Picture.

In the end, the Wikipedian-in-Residence became more than a coordinator for the collaboration, but also a resource for staff as interest and excitement for the museum’s contribution to Wikipedia began to grow. Staff and MAP students who worked on projects received Wikipedia buttons for their lanyards in order to show their support for Wikipedia and continue to garner excitement.



The process has resulted in a deeper understanding among museum staff about the practical implications of using Wikipedia to share the museum’s content in order to reach a global audience in addition to on-site visitors.