Sharing collections with a community is an integral part of museum work. This includes the general public as well as scholars and researchers. In our modern world a museum’s audience not only includes their neighbors, but also a global community. How can you share collections with people around the world? Through web publishing and creating virtual exhibits.
Sharing curated virtual collections is simple with the CatalogIt HUB. Whether sharing a virtual exhibit, a list of objects for a collections researcher, or opening up your collections for discovery by the general public, the HUB is a simple and easy way to share specific collections as well as specific information about a collection.
Typically museums have only around 2% - 5% of their collections on view at any given time. This means that up to 98% of a collection is in storage, and much of this would likely never be part of an exhibit. Virtual exhibitions allow museums to share more of their collections with their community, making much more of that 98% of collections in storage accessible to the public. Whether you are using the HUB or your own website, curating a virtual exhibition is a great way to tell a story with your collections and share that story with your greater community.
The exhibition’s primary screen (a Folder in CatalogIt) will tell its overall story. Viewers have the option to dig deeper to learn more on select items in the exhibition by simply selecting the image:
Museum collections hold stories, solve problems, and resolve mysteries. For this reason, research access is key, particularly when most of a collection is in storage. Research and scholarly access is a key function of all museums. Staffing and budget limitations make it difficult to accommodate all researchers in person. Additionally, travel to a museum is not always possible for the researcher, and museum staff may not have the bandwidth to provide the access that in-person research can require. Sharing targeted lists that meet the researcher’s goals helps the museum build out capacity by accommodating researchers virtually rather than in person.
Museum staff can easily create folders of specific collections types and share one or more of those folders online or on the CatalogIt HUB. Researchers can in turn search those broad lists of collections to target specific items via searching their narrower criteria. This process also helps researchers identify objects that they would like to see in person.
Museum collections are often a source of wonder for patrons, and everyone from students to the general public can find delight and inspiration in art and artifacts. Creating and uploading groups of collection items by type, genre, date, era, purpose, or even color is a great starting point for discovery. CatalogIt enables users to create folders of objects grouped together in any theme they want. Sharing those folders on the web opens up a world of discovery for the greater museum community.
The West Virginia Mine Wars Museum is a great example of how a museum can share their collections with the public incorporating links to the HUB in their website. Explore their page to learn more about how you can use the HUB for your collection.
No matter the reason, publishing collections to the web is a great way to enrich and expand a museum audience utilizing collections that would otherwise remain inaccessible and undiscoverable in storage.
For more information and specific instructions on how to publish to the web, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for the web publishing guide- publishing via the CatalogIt HUB is included with any subscription!