Fresh & New(er)

discussion of issues around digital media and museums by Seb Chan

Fresh & New(er) header image 2

A new strategic plan for the Powerhouse

September 16th, 2009 by Seb Chan

A few days ago we published our new Strategic Plan to be implemented over the next couple of years. The plan has come together through focus groups with external stakeholders, communities, specialists; as well as a long process of rethinking and reorganisation within the Museum as well.

This has been the most broadly consultative ‘strategic plan’ I’ve been involved in developing and it makes sense that the key tenets of the Museum going forward are ‘openness and transparency’. And from my perspective I’m pleased that digital engagement is well represented, as is the promotion of an internal culture of experimentation.

There’s a lot of difficult transitions underway and anyone who works in a large museum or cultural institution will understand that we’ve set some pretty difficult targets.

But thats what’s change is about.

I’d be keen to hear any feedback on the Strategic Plan . . .

Tags: 9 Comments

  • Pitch-perfect in my opinion. Makes total sense that the web is becoming part of the exhibition/programs remit of the museum, rather than being in some weird ‘marketing’ ghetto (not that it has been, but the PHM is showing the way).

    I also like the Creative Industry partnerships. Makes sense for the museum to be a nexus for society’s creativity and design.

  • I just loved this Seb – thanks for sharing it.

    These points struck me in particular:
    * The integration of multiple media across programs – something we have been discussing here
    * The Teacher Fellowship Program – be keen to hear more about that
    * The 10% plan for staff creativity
    * The emphasis on evaluation and accountability
    * The emphasis on learning and excellence

    Good luck with it and be keen to hear how it progresses.

  • Mia

    I have digital strategy envy! I love the values – and they create a positive framework that allows for priorities to be determined even as technological, media and political landscapes shift over the life of the strategy.

    Out of curiosity, what’s the definition of ‘digitise’ for ‘Document and digitise the existing collection at the rate of 1,500 objects per year’?

    And it’s interesting that the goals and measures for ‘Build a culture of museological excellence and research’ are more traditional. Is that because traditional measures are still valued by staff, or because they’re difficult to measure otherwise?

  • Seb Chan

    @mia ‘digitise’ – for us means fully document electronically including ‘statement of significance’ and a full complement of metadata including geo plus multiple object view photography at publication resolution.

    given all new acquisitions are done to this level, and when objects get put out on display their documentation is brought up to the same level, this should be an achievable target. personally, i hope we can exceed those targets and when combined with the open access policies make for a sizeable contribution to a sense of ‘commons’.

    as far as traditional measures go – we are still a museum! and the scholarly stuff is still very much valued – and, in fact, such measures haven’t previously been so explicitly been part of our strategic plans.

  • Thanks for sharing your plan! I’ve included a link to it from the Smithsonian’s Web & New Media strategy wiki: http://smithsonian-webstrategy.wikispaces.com/Links

  • Congratulations and thank you for sharing!
    To come up with such an ambitious yet clearly synthesized Plan surely is the result of huge work+ thought + consensus (I know for sure, being myself in the middle of our Strategy Plan setting up process).

    Plus all points highlighted by previous comments, I particularly loved:
    -the idea of more integration between exhibits + programs+ publications. This is a key point. And the melting of particular boxes is a challenge in our museum too.
    -the same with the compulsory report to all museum staff after a trip or Conference attended. Yes!
    -making more accessible the research process and results
    -the behind-the-scenes tour
    I’ll be keen to follow your implementation process. Thank you

    I’ll twitter it
    @innova2


  • julian bickersteth

    Hi Seb, Always interested to read strategic plans and to see where an innovative place like PHM is going. This one looks exciting in lots of ways, but wearing my conservator hat, I am disappointed to see no role for conservation, apart from a fleeting reference in Priority C. No goals around getting more of the collection conserved, or the role conservators can play in helping PHM become more environmentally sustainable, for instance.
    And more broadly, no role in increasing access to objects. I am at the AICCM conference in Perth, where paper after paper is showing how conservation allows objects to become accessible and reveal their stories. Hope this can be corrected. Best regards, Julian

  • Peter Morton

    @Julian I led the development of the Strategic Plan. We given focus to the Museum being a more otwardly focussed and connected institution. In doing so, there will be some things that are under the radar but neverless important in enabling the accessibility to the collection that is a recurrent theme in this Plan.

    I do not agree that there is no focus on increeased access to objects. Priorities 1A, 2B and 2C capture that. Regards.

  • Ed Rodley

    I’m totally jealous. It’s comprehensive, yet brief. Ambitious, yet concrete. And it’s loaded with values statements. One could build a real creative culture around a plan like that. Good luck and Godspeed!