Digital | Don’t undervalue traditional skills of your staff - Museums Association

Digital | Don’t undervalue traditional skills of your staff

In the rush towards digital content, we must not lose sight of the unique skills of old-school curators
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Steven Franklin

Imagine that Casey Neistat, the legendary YouTuber and digital content creator, has just been employed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His task is to overhaul the institution’s digital content and how it engages with its audiences.

While the possibility of a veteran YouTuber being offered such a job over an experienced museum professional might at first seem far-fetched, such a concept might not now be as outlandish as it would have seemed 10, or even five, years ago.

If Neistat was given the job, he would bring an abundance of skills to the table: he presents, records and edits his own videos; is comfortable in creating podcasts; and knows how to perfectly frame and edit a picture.

Just imagine how he could use his skills within a museum setting. His Instagram stories would be polished, his YouTube videos engaging and his TikTok game on point. Such skills and experience have appeared in the descriptions of many jobs advertised recently. Given the current circumstances, this isn’t surprising.

But in taking this approach, we risk losing the unique skills possessed by museum professionals and curators. While they might not all be able to produce their own digital content yet, they remain the most well-equipped to tell object-based histories both within the museum and online.

Steven Franklin is the digital engagement officer at Egham Museum

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