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2017 Digital Provenance Conference

2017 Digital Provenance Conference - November 6, 2017

Carnegie Museum of Art
Free and open to the public

Get ot Pittsburgh a day early and join our colleagues for a day of discussion of the role of museums in understanding, researching, disseminating, and digitally publishing museum collections. The symposium will showcase innovative approaches to problems around the representation of events in digital collections, and discuss standardization, collaboration, and communication across the cultural heritage field.


Full-Day Registration: http://tickets.carnegiemuseums.org/cmoa/CMASE_CMAFREE_AFEDPS113

Afternoon Panel Discussions: http://tickets.carnegiemuseums.org/cmoa/CMASE_CMAFREE_AFEDPSH113



9:30a Welcome & Keynote

  • Jo Ellen Parker, President, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Morning: Visualizing object histories

If possible, these sessions will also be live-streamed on the internet.

Digital, event-based art history can be constructed from two types of data collections. “Pools” are special exhibition, auction, or collection catalogues that freeze a set of objects at a specific moment and place (horizontal with respect to time); “trails” such as provenance or biography, capture change and motion (vertical with respect to time). The morning session looks at pools and trails, with the goal of building connections between them.


9:45-10:45 Pools: multiple subjects, single time and place



11:00-12:00 Trails: individual subjects tracked over time and space


Afternoon: collections, digital humanities, and institutional change

The afternoon session will be open to the public. We expect approximately 100 participants, and will hold this in the CMOA Theater. If possible, these sessions will also be live-streamed on the internet.

1:00 Panel: the data-driven museum

“The data-driven museum” calls to mind visitor surveys, Google analytics, and marketing plans. What would happen if museum collections were subjected to comparable data-driven approaches and analyses? At CMOA, informal experiments have ranged from the silly (a Van Gogh painting has been moving at an average speed of 221 feet per hour since 1890) to the practical (easy ways for visitors to plan tours based on personal preferences) to the philosophical (comparing dates of object creation and acquisition to determine how “contemporary” CMOA’s collecting has been since 1896). How might collection data demonstrate the cultural value of original objects and museums, provide useful insights about collection growth, composition, and history, or generate new interpretive strategies for visitors onsite and online?


2:00 Panel: museum collections in the world of data

Right now, museum collection data plays a small role in digital humanities, which has been dominated by literary and historical inquiries. We believe that digital art history and related object-based disciplines such as material culture will require robust museum data to succeed in the future. What kinds of data about museum collections would be relevant to digital humanists? What kinds of data buried within museum collections could open new avenues of inquiry? And, how can museums develop and share their collection data to facilitate widest possible use? How are museums viewed in the larger humanities landscape, and what is their role in the future of art history?



3:30 Provocation: Thinking Collections

Before November 2016, facts were boring. Now they are alternative, or controversial, or rare. Museums are loaded with potential facts embedded in objects, archives, files, histories, and data. As museums struggle to define their roles in 21st-century life and digital culture, their potential as authoritative sources of reliable facts should not be overlooked. If museums are to self-identify as storehouses of facts as well as storehouses of objects, then development, management, and dissemination of digital collection data is crucial for the future.


3:45 Discussion: Event-driven Art History

What does the 21st-century museum collection look like, and how should museums position themselves to be effective stewards of their collections, advocates for the arts, full participants in the cultural community, and players in the digital world? How do we balance the many roles a museum plays, and what does it mean to be a community resource in a digitally connected world?

5:00pm Gallery 2 Reception


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