Since the Exquisite Data Symposium, WCMA has continued existing digital initiatives and begun some new projects while planning how the proposals from the Symposium can be integrated into the museum's and the college's strategic planning.
The primary goal of the Digital Project, to expand access to the collection through digital resources, tools, and training, remains central to our work. Our expanded collections access has given museum staff additional insight into our own collections data as well, helping us identify areas for targeted data work.
We recognize that data is not neutral, and our work now is part of the difficult and ongoing process to amend our content, data structures, and approaches to teaching and learning with data to promote equity. Throughout, we seek to work collaboratively and give agency to students, our community, and other audiences, recognizing our role as stewards and curators rather than gatekeepers.
Our efforts primarily fall into three areas:
Adapting data architecture and data pipelines to allow more collaboration with people outside the museum. Our initial work gathered our data and put it into user-friendly formats; now we seek ways to incorporate the feedback from that work back into our data and data structures. Currently, we are working with student interns on data development projects that will be incorporated into the collection. In addition to creating data, the interns provide feedback on how to make this process accessible to other students.
Providing digital resources that highlight under-recognized parts of the collection, especially art that is not represented well through standard catalog entries. This has included work on museum metadata and digital finding aids, but also work like creating 3d models of objects that rarely go on display.
Teaching the techniques and principles of digital analysis and data science in a novice-friendly way, lowering the technological and educational barriers to participating in meaningful critique of museums, art, and cultural knowledge. This includes support for data visualization assignments, helping faculty identify tools for digital exhibitions and digital storytelling, and identifying data-development opportunities that are appropriate in scale for classes.