By the sacred grove, where the waters flow
We will come and go, in the forest
–“In the Forest,” Van Morrison

Okay, okay…maybe the work for the 2013 Horizon Report>Museum Edition does not take place in a sacred grove. And the only waters flowing here are endless glasses of water trying to stay cool in the summer’s heat. Nonetheless the 2013 Advisory Board is coming and going in the forest of the day-to-day work that ultimately leads to this year’s Horizon Report.

I love this time of year because I find the whole process invigorating. Even if you aren’t a part of this year’s board you might want to follow along and treat this as a kind of totally self-contained Zen exercise. (Think of it as an intellectual Ardha-Matsyendrasana (spine twisting) pose)

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Open your calendar.
  • Block out two hours.
  • When the time arrives–go somewhere where you won’t be disturbed–and then spend the whole two hours blissfully letting yourself review Press Clippings about new technologies.
  • Don’t try to read everything Just pick a couple of articles. See what Advisory Board Members have commented on.
  • Breathe deeply. Think deeply. What technologies interest you? Which are of absolutely no interest? Which seem mission critical to museums? Which seem like bright shiny objects distracting museums?
  • Rest.
  • Block out another two hours.
  • When the time arrives–go somewhere where you won’t be disturbed–and then spend the whole two hours blissfully letting yourself consider the four areas of research. (You are ahead of the game, you’ve already thought about RQ1 in your first exercise)
  • Consider the list of Horizon Topics
  • Take a break. Grab a glass or wine, or a cocktail.
  • Breathe deeply. Think deeply.
  • What topics are missing? (RQ2)
  • What trends do you expect to have a significant impact on the ways in which approach museum education and interpretation? (RQ3)
  • What do you see as the key challenges related to education and interpretation that museums will face during the next five years? (RQ4)
  • One more deep breath.

You’ve done it. You have come and gone through the forest. Except for being able to comment on the wiki and vote on technologies, you’ve done all the same work the advisory board is doing.

If you do this exercise, I would love to hear back from you. Gotta go, it’s almost time for my next two hour block.

About The Author

Holly Witchey is an art historian and museum consultant with more than 25 years of experience working in museums. She teaches ethics and convergence issues online in the JHU M.A. in Museum Studies program, as well as museum studies and Renaissance art history in the classroom at Case Western Reserve University where she is adjunct faculty in the Department of Art History. Dr. Witchey is the Editor and Co-PI of the New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report: Museum Edition and lead blogger for MIDEA (http://midea.nmc.org/), a non-profit organization with the goal to provide, timely, succinct and practical knowledge about emerging technologies that museums can use to advance their missions. Her musings on Renaissance topics can be found at Quattrocentrist (http://quattrocentrist.wordpress.com/). Previously, Dr. Witchey served as director of new media at the Cleveland Museum of Art and prior to that was associate curator of European art at the San Diego Museum of Art. Dr. Witchey has a Ph.D. in European Painting and Sculpture.

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