02 October 2007

The Memory Book: Museum gathers content online

The Smithsonian Institution's museum dedicated to black history and culture, National Museum of African American History and Culture launched last month with an interactive website, "The Memory Book" - long before its building opens.

Blogging technology allow visitors to help produce content for future exhibits at the museum, with long essays, short vignettes of memories or recorded oral histories.

According to Lonnie Bunch, the museum's founding director, museum staff monitor the site for historical accuracy, and technical filters apparently block racist or inappropriate comments. Bunch regards the site as a "virtual museum" and a new source of research for curators and scholars.

Apart from the interesting use of social-networking technologies, I was intrigued by the navigation system: the first time I have ever seen an interactive 'link-web' diagram used as a navigation device throughout a website:

Link-web diagram from NMAAHC website

It's one of those applications of web technology that I classify as "Cool, but not very practical".

More information:
Memory Book Overview
Sydney Morning Herald article

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