Phil Getchell from the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston gave a talk about leveraging online collections more effectively. The MFA is another museum in the middle of an expansion project, and they have a lot of new initiatives revolving around their online collection. It sounds like most (or all) of their online projects are in collaboration with Mediatrope, a San Francisco design company. They are using a CMS called SiteBots to manage their content including the collection. The online collection has 300,000 objects about a third of them have some sort of media (usually an image). Getchell pointed out several times that most of the MFA’s initiatives were not in a finished state but they are public, and he outlined the direction they are getting developed.
My MFA is a personalized collection tool. Apparently it has about 400 active users right now but it hasn’t been advertised or marketed yet. They are working towards a few interesting things with this. Customized maps, meaning a visitor defines their own tour of the MFA and prints out a map to help them follow it, or they can send their tour to a friend in effect playing the role of curator. They are building a Flash tour too so visitors can curate their own “on-line exhibition” of works in the collections.
Print-on-Demand is a big thing for them. Currently they are selling high quality archival reproductions of artwork (going for about $75 unframed). In the future they may sell Print-on-Demand books and periodicals.
The MFA is working to add store links to related merchandise in their collections and making image licensing more obvious. Currently the MFA is using Yahoo for their shop, Getchell didn’t mention the software or if they are planning something else in the future.