Paper Session 2: Rethinking How and Where Users Interact with your Collections and Video

Tuesday, April 4th: 9:30am - 11:00am

MIT Museum’s digital (r)evolution


MIT Museum’s new home is open and welcoming the diverse communities of Cambridge, Mass. This paper will detail how a new online home was delivered in parallel to the successful physical move to the museum’s new location at Kendall Square.

With the aim of laying solid digital foundations for the museum’s programmes to thrive in the coming years, MIT Museum, in collaboration with Cogapp, have developed a modern, accessible, API-based, headless, web frontend. Presented in its fullest form to date, the museum’s collection interface enables casual browsing and research on a level that, until now, has not been possible online. 

In this paper we will describe the thinking behind this approach as well as the benefits and learnings that we have made during this 18 month project.

We’ll discuss how the new museum brand was interpreted for the online experience and how the museum’s mission is woven into the tools provided by the new website. We’ll explore how our approach provides flexibility for the future, affording opportunities for the web CMS to drive other areas of the museum’s digital estate, such as on-site screens and future in-gallery interactives. We’ll discuss how the collection is now available as a digital resource to power narrative stories on the site and act as a future resource for other digital projects.

Under-the-hood the new website pulls information from a web content GraphQL API, an Elasticsearch-backed GraphQL collections API, as well as other 3rd party integrations such as ticketing. It does all this while making the creative process as simple as possible for museum staff for both adding and updating collections metadata and editorial content.

We’ll discuss how exceptional project management, creative thinking, and high-quality technical skills from everyone involved fostered an environment of experimentation in keeping with MIT’s ethos. This collaboration was formed and maintained throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it serves as an excelle

Proposal ID: 11074

Current Futures for Online Collections


A collecting museum cannot deliver on its mission today without an online collection. This argument begins with the first curator’s indecipherable scrawl in a leather-bound ledger, traces the handed-down human poetics of collection data, and ends at digital transformation. Along the way, the online collection allows objects to circulate through cultural networks, while safely stored away. Museums must preserve not just physical objects, but their stories and context as well—the traces of objects and ideas in contact with people over time and through space. The online collection is where such traces are saved and shared. Moreover, it’s where new paths are made possible: the online collection allows new context to be generated, in new places, by new people with new perspectives, at the same time and in the future. The digital is where the object-focused museum becomes the people-centered museum.

Two online collection projects in 2022 showcase new thinking and point in an important new direction. Both are built on, a new shared data standard for describing museum objects. Getty’s new online collection showcases as a foundational infrastructure, and uses it to power an online collection rich with connections, data visualization and context. Likewise, the Yale University Art Gallery drives its new online collection with For both museums, offers opportunities for connection and collaboration across collections. At Yale, the new LUX initiative will put this idea to the test, as the Gallery’s collection will be connected with other Yale collections in a massive shared discovery platform, all powered by We’ve heard for years about the theoretical potential of linked open data and the power of connected knowledge. These projects put theory into practice.

This session presents a unique opportunity to consider the big-picture opportunities of connected knowledge, along with the project practicalities that come with

Proposal ID: 11083

Hammer Channel: an open source bring-your-own-DAMS video archive


Hammer Channel presents over 1,000 recordings of programs, performances, and artist interviews from the last decade, and is a repository for more than 100 videos produced each year by the museum. The website presents the videos with features that encourage engagement with the content, such as full, searchable transcripts for every video, and a clipping tool that allows users to create and share their favorite moments.

Most videos in the archive are recordings of public programs held at the Hammer since 2005. They comprise a broad range of lectures and conversations featuring renowned artists, authors, musicians, scholars, and experts from a variety of fields. Compiling this wide-ranging collection together for the first time, the website offers primary resources germane to modern and contemporary art history, politics, social justice, architecture, ecology, economics, and the cultural history of Los Angeles. The conversations and topics recorded capture the zeitgeist of their moment, serving as a document of their time to future viewers.

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Hammer Channel proves a new model for museums that want to organize, catalogue, and provide public access to large bodies of video content. The Hammer worked with digital agency, Cogapp, to architect an open-source solution. The project gives other institutions the opportunity to adopt a ‘bring-your-own DAMS’ solution to build their own video archive. 

We\’ll describe how the project was conceived and delivered, with particular focus on the features available and the opportunity for institutions to create their own video archive. 

Key questions we will address with our audience: 

Why a video archive? 
What is the mission of the archive?
How does it work? 
How was the design developed? 
What features are included? 
How can I use the open-source code to make a video archive for my institution? 

The archive preserves valuable content from the past in a public

Proposal ID: 11090