Jimmy is a busy guy. Until this week he hadn't had the chance to see in person the kinds of projects carried out by a Wikipedian in Residence. We were happy to be the first to offer him a glimpse into the world of a museum-Wikipedia partnership. We started off with a breakfast with Jimmy and a handful of select staff and board members who are most directly tied with our Wikipedia projects. After sharing some background on our work, we had an incredible discussion about the role of Wikipedia in museums and schools. What we found to be the most validating was Jimmy's encouragement of the museum as an informal learning center that has the ability to help teachers and parents understand how to best use and contribute to Wikipedia.
We then had the opportunity to show Jimmy the museum. Some of the major themes that came out of our tour included:
- Our use of QRpedia codes to provide deeper levels of information about objects in exhibits, and to provide information in other languages. Jimmy had not yet had the opportunity to try out these unique QR codes that directly link to Wikipedia, and needless to say he was quite the fan.
- Our use of video to tell stories, and noting that oral history can be an important way to add information to Wikipedia. This is an area where museums can especially fill the gap.
- Our use of real objects to bring broad topics to life and provide unique ways for families to share and learn. In Wikipedia, images of these objects have spread across huge topic areas within the encyclopedia, allowing people from all over the world to experience our artifacts.
As often happens (especially after seeing Dinosphere and Treasures of the Earth), he came away very impressed. So much so that he mentioned his visit to an audience of thousands at a conference that afternoon! It was great to be able to share with Jimmy how the museum has wholeheartedly gotten behind Wikipedia. We're in it for the long haul.