Reviewed April 2014
Jennifer Graham, Exhibitions Assistant
International Quilt Study Center & Museum
Museopunks bills itself as the home of the podcast for progressive museums. Two museum professionals, Suse Cairns of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia and Jeffrey Inscho of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania lead a monthly informal discussion, tackling what they call the prominent issues and big ideas facing museums in the modern age.
Each hour-long podcast is—given the medium—appropriately informal and conversational. The hosts set the stage for their discussions by conversing casually, updating the audience about the miscellaneous goings-on in the world of museums, technology, and the Internet more broadly speaking. Focused topics of conversation range from the future of museum digital and technology departments to what constitutes innovative curation, along with timely topics addressing current issues faced by today’s museums and museum staff.
The podcast is consistently engaging and informative, with many episodes expanding upon sessions and panels from the Museum Computer Network’s 2013 conference held in Montreal, Quebec.
Museum professionals have an established history of using listservs, conferences, publications, and blogs to facilitate communication and dissemination of information. The podcast format as a platform for peer-to-peer conversation is less common. Museopunks burst on the scene in 2013, and has rocketed to the fore of the field, garnering interviews and facilitating conversations with museum innovation thought leaders such as Elizabeth Merritt of the Center for the Future of Museums and the Smithsonian Institution’s Michael Edson, Director of Web and New Media Strategy and Nancy Proctor, Head of Mobile Strategy and Initiatives.
The online home of the podcast serves as a multimedia launching point, with a variety of audio delivery methods including streaming, MP3 download, and iTunes and RSS subscriptions. Each option is easy to find. The iTunes subscription option grabs the most attention, with more than one large, purple button on a mainly black, white, and gray page, offering the link to subscribe.
Past episodes, show notes with links to content mentioned in the conversation and guests’ contact information are all one click away. This is just one example of the well-considered, mobile-friendly design of the site. While subscription options are available they are not required and all content on the site is published with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0).
Hosts Suse Cairns and Jeffrey Inscho would likely appeal most to fellow museum geeks and others responsible for media, digital, and technology projects. The content leans strongly toward innovation and pushing the technology envelope. Emerging museum professionals and policy and mission-focused staff would benefit from the conversations and ideas shared by the team at Museopunks.