Friday, November 9, 2007

Technology Training for Museum Development and Membership Professionals?

A recent post over at the Archives and Museum Informatics site regarding the "Museum Studies Programs: That Was Then, This Is Now" session at last week's MCN conference got me thinking about the way technology is taught in Museum Studies programs and whom those tech classes are really directed at? I know that technology (databases, information management, digital imaging, etc.) are necessary skills for museum collection managers/registrars and education staff, but increasingly the use of Internet technologies, including but not limited to social media, is very pertinent to the work of development and membership officers as well. Enough time has passed and enough has changed in the world since I was a Museum Studies graduate student that I honestly don't know if MS technology classes are addressing the needs of future fundraisers or not. Is social media being taught as a form of fundraising? Is e-philanthropy being discussed? Are the relative merits of Facebook as a fundraiser or MySpace for membership activities being discussed? Does anyone know?


Lynn Bethke said...

No, not yet. A friend of mine did a survey comparison of museum study and museology graduate programs. Respondents indicated that new technologies are one of the weakest areas in programs across the country. The new Johns Hopkins program may be an exception to the trend.

I know my program didn't really broach the subject in any manner. Several students investigate aspects of technology in their theses.

Allyson Lazar said...

Thanks, Lynn. It's a little hard to tell from the brief course descriptions, but it does look like the Johns Hopkins program probably addresses social media in general in their internet communications class. It will be interesting to see if, when and how other programs start addressing this issue.