Working with Digital Humanities Students in Museums: Why We Should, How We Can
Friday, November 4, 2016 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Session Leader: Philip Leers, Project Manager, Digital Initiatives, Hammer Museum
Co-Presenter: Max Evjen, Exhibitions Technology Specialist, Michigan State University Museum
Speaker: Brinker Ferguson, PhD candidate, University of California Santa Cruz
Speaker: Alex Gonzalez, Public Programs Fellow, The Studio Museum in Harlem/The Museum of Modern Art
Speaker: Kristen Mapes, Digital Humanities Coordinator, Michigan State University
The emergence of Digital Humanities programs in colleges and universities has had the fortuitous side effect of producing students with skills that museums desperately need. Digital Humanities students are fluent in digital interpretation, accustomed to using empirical data to illustrate theoretical arguments, and trained to think critically about our institutions. They have a lot to offer museums, and museums have a lot to offer them in turn. This panel will explore the possibilities of forging partnerships between Museums and Digital Humanities programs, and the conditions necessary for making those partnerships meaningful, sustainable, and mutually beneficial. For example, the Hammer Museum designed and taught a course through the UCLA Digital Humanities Department, wherein students developed digital resources about their campus sculpture garden. In another example, the Michigan State University Museum has employed a Digital Humanities student as an influential voice in designing their digital strategy. This panel will include representatives from these museums and Digital Humanities programs and others to discuss in detail how joint projects came about, how relationships between partners were managed, and how collaborations might continue in the future. Attendees will come away with practicable recommendations for starting such partnerships in their own institutions, and a sense of how transformative those partnerships can be for both student and museum. Learning Outcomes: Awareness of how museums are working within the Digital Humanities. Benefits to museums working with DH students: -Inclusivity: inviting outside voices into your institution. -Outreach: connecting directly with members of a vital student audience. -Mentorship: introducing bright young people to the experience of working in a museum. Benefits to DH students working with museums: -Experience: applying their studies to a real-world project. -Access: to the museum’s staff, infrastructure, collections. -Exposure: via the museum’s platforms. Potential opportunities for partnering with DH programs. Practical steps for creating successful collaborations with DH programs.