Online Exhibitions at AAM Institutions

*AAM= American Alliance of Museums

I have recently attended several social gatherings associated with work and otherwise, and so have had too many opportunities to revise my dissertation “elevator speech.” I should say that I do not, in general, like the idea of elevator speeches. More often than not, I feel like these types of statements are overly jargon-y and sacrifice comprehensibility for concision.

“I study the socio-technical origins of digital scholarship in art museums,” I sometimes say. That’s a shortened version of: “I study online exhibitions at art museums?” “No, not like the iPads you see in galleries.” “Nope, also not mobile apps, either, though I once did a study on how ineffective those are…” “Sadly no, definitely not AR or VR.”

Yes, I sometimes struggle to articulate how my work is relevant to the world, more broadly, and my elevator speech often involves a lot of hapless gesticulating and unintended question marks. “I also work on this project about criminal records,” I’ll add, “Oh! and dioramas at natural history museums!”

Some work sounds sexier than other work, but I am making a conscious effort to allow my dissertation to also shine through as a valuable project in its own right. I think it can feel more tedious purely because of the weight that it carries at this point in my career. It is all that stands between me and the rest of my professional life, really.

So, I thought it might be helpful (for myself, as much as anyone else) to share some of my initial findings.

For the third chapter of my dissertation, I conducted an environmental scan of extant online exhibitions and online catalogues in order to set the stage for my case studies (more on those in later posts, I’m sure).

This environmental scan was very time and work-intensive. For a multitude of reasons, I only scanned art museums that are accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM) or Arts Council England. Of the 1,050 accredited AAM museums analyzed in the survey, approximately 150 featured extant online exhibitions on their institutional websites.

Scroll through the table (linked here) to view a list of online exhibitions hosted at AAM institutions included in the survey.