Today’s museums face many challenges. Among them, keeping pace with the relentless evolution of modern technologies represents the most daunting, especially for museums focused on the arts. With staff, budgets, and resources already trimmed significantly, few museums have the time or ability to make timely judgments about the potential of emerging technologies. Far too often, museums find themselves reacting to new technologies rather than taking early advantage of them to innovatively and creatively expand their audiences, their communities, and their effectiveness.
In 2010, that trend will begin to change. The Edward and Betty Marcus Institute for Digital Education in the Arts (MIDEA) is a pioneering program aimed expressly at meeting the needs of art museums, university arts and museum education programs, and the professionals who serve them. MIDEA is the result of a partnership between the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that supports innovation in the visual arts in Texas, and the New Media Consortium, a group of hundreds of world class universities and museums. The Institute will be home to a global consortium whose members will constitute a dynamic and deeply knowledgeable community of innovators. MIDEA’s goal is to provide timely, succinct and practical knowledge about emerging technologies that museums can use to advance their missions.
The Institute will actively showcase best practices in emerging applications of technologies like social media, mobiles, augmented reality, cloud computing, and others that are just around the corner. The NMC will publish a new edition of the prestigious Horizon Report for museums and house the report in the Institute. MIDEA will offer its members a wealth of online resources, regular analysis, continuous research, news, and reports. A flagship blog will host ideas and reflections authored by some of the leading minds in the museum world. Most of all, however, MIDEA will offer members a dependable, credible, and timely font of carefully vetted information and tools they can put to use immediately.
The Institute will bring together experts from all over the world on an ongoing basis to share strategies and success stories about digital applications for learning and interpretation. It will be a place where people, ideas, resources, and tools routinely mix to highlight new ways of thinking, showcase best practices, encourage innovation, and strengthen education in the arts. Trainings, workshops, and summer institutes will help keep member museums at the forefront of emerging technologies and their applications, expand their skills and capabilities, and foster collaboration among art museum professionals.
MIDEA is being built for the long term, with a business plan that includes up-to-the-moment online seminars, a richly populated database of projects, references, and analysis accessible only to members, a sliding fee structure for institutional memberships, a special program for individuals, and other revenue-generating strategies. Currently, however, memberships are by invitation only. The Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation and the NMC have committed funds to support up to 100 institutions as founding members at no cost for two years in exchange for helping shape the design of the Institute, its programs, and its services.
If you would be interested in your institution being part of this unprecedented effort, or if you wish to just learn more about MIDEA, please contact the Institute at email@example.com.