Friday, September 14, 2007

The Hypertext Museum

Today I prioritized visiting several museums that have made images of their collections available to educational users. When the intellectual property of museums has garnered such value for commercial products that appeal to status-conscious consumers, it is great to see how The Wellcome Trust and The Victoria and Albert Museum have been understanding of the needs of pedagogical audiences for visually engaging texts in initiatives praised by free culture advocates. (See the code in the tome above from the Human Genome Product for an example of a recent Wellcome installation.) At the V&A a gallery tour called "Uncomfortable Truths" made links between seemingly unconnected items associated with the slave trade, somewhat like hyperlinks that move from the linear organization of the museum's conventionally experienced spaces.

In keeping with my trip's interest in national libraries -- digital or physical -- I also went to the British Museum to visit the old reading room of the British Library. Imagine my disappointment to see that the reading room was filled with a blockbuster exhibition of ceramic warriors from China and thus not open to the non-ticket holding public.

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