The time for virtual exhibitions has come
Wikipedia has a long history of working with museums. But what about being a museum?
Now let's be honest: Wikipedia is like a digital museum. It collects and exhibits all sorts of material. But could we push that just a little bit further?
During the pandemic, we assembled several virtual exhibitions in Estonia:
Those weren't the first exhibitions of that kind in Estonia. This concept was already tested back in 2017 with the multi-language art exhibition "The decisive years prior to Independence: Moments from the Estonian art of 1914–18", and further with "The Secrets of Ancient Seas" and "Some Interesting Details in the History of Polish-Estonian Relationships". We already knew it works and we have felt the need to move in that direction for years.
In this time of lockdown, making some virtual visits to the museums might be the only way for people to get there. But this way of "visiting" could be used on more relaxed times as well.
For example, we might collect thousands of images on whatever topic (an example), but we don't really have that many ways to showcase them. Articles have limited space and if there already is one good quality image, then there is little need for another. As time passes, the more this will limit the possibility to discover great content.
When we would look at our own bookshelves, then there might not be that many encyclopedias there. This is just one way to share knowledge, but there are many more. So if we truly want to make the sum of all human knowledge freely accessible to everyone, then we must also keep extending the range of projects that prosper under Wikimedia.
Maybe the time is ripe to start a new Wikipedia sister projects – WikiMuseum? Something that is specifically designed to help tell the stories that an encyclopedia by itself cannot.
It isn't just the GLAM institutions that could work with it. There are plenty of media materials in Wikimedia Commons (an example) that could benefit from the possibility to get their own place to shine. There are great stories to tell and we are more than prepared to take this step. We already have a lot of great content. Why not find more ways to share it?
Liked thoughts and questions raised. Thanks!--Anntinomy (talk) 13:46, 12 March 2021 (UTC)