On Tuesday morning of this week, I showed a slide illustrating the growth of the museum blogosphere at the Association of Science-Technology Center’s annual conference. When I returned from the conference, I was surprised to find that the slide I had shown was already quite dated. My original slide, which I put together about 10 days ago, showed 211 blogs in Museum Blogs directory–today there are 233. We’ve received more than 20 new submissions to museum blogs in a little over a week.
At the Museums and the Web conference in April, I predicted that we would reach 200 museum blogs by the end of the year. It now appears that we might be closer to 300. The numbers are an indication that blogging in the museum world is becoming mainstream. It’s no longer about starting a blog, but rather using blogging tools to achieve various tasks. We’ve seen blogs that: support exhibits, help organize docents, share the museum Director’s vision, conduct direct marketing, re-publish articles from museum publications, help with professional development, explore specific topics or issues, as well as blogs that are used as simple content management systems inside existing sites.
It is also interesting to note that many institutions now run multiple blogs. While the Walker Art Center always has, the Smithsonian, St. Louis Science Center, Powerhouse Museum, Exploratorium, and many others now have more than one. Apparently blogging is contagious within institutions. Once tried, museums find other ways to use the technology.