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The Wikipedians take questions during the formal in-person conference session at AAM.

American Association of Museums[edit]

Description of participation[edit]

Five Wikipedians in Residence took part in the American Association of Museums conference, with the grant covering the participation of four: Liam Wyatt, Sarah Stierch, Àlex Hinojo, and Dominic McDevitt-Parks. This was the first time that five Wikipedians in Residence had come together for a single event. Because of the high-profile nature of the conference, and the level of sustained interest in our work from attendees, it was important that we had the involvement of so many highly experienced Wikipedians in Residence. In addition to the Wikipedians in Residence, we also had the support and involvement of David Donaldson, CTO of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, who moderated both the virtual and on-site sessions. His participation further legitimized the value and importance of Wikipedia within museums, and his insight proved invaluable during our presentations.

Participation included pre-conference preparation such as presentation creation, video meetings, administration, and general coordination, as well as four days of sessions, events, and presentations. Following the event, all participants followed up with contacts and compiled the results in a shared Google Doc.

Formal events[edit]

The Wikipedians prepare for the AAM Virtual Session.

There were three formal commitments associated with the conference. Dominic was not initially included in the Wikipedian in Residence panels due to a previous commitment, but in the end was able to attend and lead in the Marketplace of Ideas event. During the conference, however, all five Wikipedians in Residence participated in all three events. Dominic was able to contribute to the Question and Answer portion of both the virtual and on-site panel, and the four other Wikipedians in Residence assisted with Marketplace.

  • Wikipedia in the Museum: Lessons from Wikipedians in Residence: A formal on-site panel session.
To about 50 attendees, we shared the context of GLAM-WIKI and Wikipedians in Residence, types of outreach events, methods for connecting with the Wikimedia community, and resources for helping museums get started in a cooperation with Wikimedia. A lively Question and Answer session followed, with many interested museum professionals approaching us after the session.
  • Virtual Session: A separate, online panel and live chat with the same panel content.
The session was successful in bringing together interested cultural professionals and GLAM-Wikimedians from around the world in a virtual setting. Immediately prior to the session beginning, event organizers provided twenty-five free spots (usually a $120 cost) to Wikipedians who were currently on Twitter and eager to participate. In the second half of the presentation an extensive Question and Answer session resulted in many relevant discussion between the presenters and the participating Wikipedians. About fifty cultural professionals took part from all over the United States, Canada, and beyond. The recorded virtual session is now available for Wikipedians to access.
  • Marketplace of Ideas: An informal table presenting "What to do and What not to do" as a museum in Wikipedia.
Due to the high level of interest during this event, all of the Wikipedians in Residence chipped in to help Dominic share information with museum professionals. We discussed practical first steps in getting started with a Wikipedia collaboration and distributed information via the GLAM-Wiki One-Pager. We had a constant stream of interested cultural professionals, with a number of potential future cooperations growing out of the three hour event. We had so much interest that Sarah and Dominic stayed beyond the event's end time to further network.

Additional activities[edit]

Holding an impromptu meeting at the Minnesota Historical Society after the conference.
  • Informal mentions in sessions: Some sessions independently discussed the GLAM-Wiki initiative as a model project within broader topic areas, including global partnerships within children’s museums, transparency in the future of museum ethics and “going beyond digitization.”
  • MUSE awards: All Wikipedians attended the MUSE awards, which is a museum technology awards ceremony organized by the Media and Technology Committee. QRpedia had been nominated for an award but did not win. Attendees took advantage of the opportunity to network with many museum professionals, from technologists to museum directors.
  • Minnesota Historical Society: In the days following the conference, Liam Wyatt and Alex Hinojo coordinated with contacts at the Minnesota Historical Society and local Wikipedians to organize a staff lunch and learn. The group facilitated the beginnings of a collaboration with the creators of MNopedia, a local wiki that compiles content about Minnesota which is released as cc by-sa. Local Wikipedians will now be continuing to work with the organization in an on-going partnership.


The American Association of Museums (AAM) is the largest museum conference in the United States, serving thousands of museum professionals from around the world through over 150 sessions and workshops on major themes in museum theory and best practice. The AAM Annual Meeting is considered to be the largest gathering of museum professionals in the world, attracting more than 4,500 attendees from the US and abroad. Our participation at AAM offered us an unprecedented chance to connect with the institutional decision makers, including the curators, the exhibit designers, and the museum directors, many of which are women. At one point it was stated that museum conferences tend to present an "opposite gender gap." For this reason, the AAM conference offered us a chance to reach out to this underrepresented group, in addition to gaining credibility within the museum field itself.

The AAM conference was a watershed moment for GLAM-Wikimedia collaboration. Many no longer needed to be convinced of Wikimedia’s relevance within their institution. Instead, many were eager and ready to take the next step toward connecting with the Wikimedia community. As the conference went on, it was abundantly clear that museum professionals were ready to more fully engage with the Wikimedia community. The most important result of our participation in the American Association of Museums was clearly witnessing the museum field embrace Wikipedia as a serious tool for furthering their missions.

Robert Connolly, a museum professional who attended the panel, wrote a blog post that illustrates the shifting perception of Wikipedia in museums, titled "Wikipedia, Museums, Trade and More."

The GLAM initiative is a prime example of how Wikipedia and user-generated content continues to move front and center as a mainline information resource. Today, those wringing their hands over user-generated content with the dire warnings of the Cult of the Amateur hold as much weight as those who argue if we had been meant to fly we would have been born with wings. End of story. -Robert Connolly

Impact on Wikimedia mission goals[edit]

  • Increased Reach: The large size of the conference allowed us to share the relevance of Wikipedia within cultural institutions broadly and effectively. This reach was increased exponentially by our opportunity to present in the virtual session as well.
  • Increased Quality: Engaging museum professionals in Wikipedia partnerships will increase the amount of expertise and hard-to-find resources that are contributed to the encyclopedia. This is a key deliverable of the GLAM movement overall.
  • Increased Credibility: Our participation at AAM increased the GLAM-Wiki initiative's credibility significantly within the eyes of the museum field. We now have a whole new series of advocates for Wikipedia as a resource that should be more wholly incorporated into the museum experience, and beyond.
  • Increased and Diversified Participation: Museum professionals are not only experts, but are predominately women. We often say that the museum field is a "reverse gender gap." For this reason, engaging museum professionals in contributing to Wikipedia naturally increases diverse participation.


The presentation given by the attendees at AAM, both in the in-person and virtual session.
  • Increased awareness of GLAM-Wiki US portal: Page view stats indicate a spike on May 1st (56 views) during the virtual session and on May 2nd (140 views) during the on-site panel.
  • Increase in museum contacts and potential partnerships: Dozens of names were acquired and added to a private GLAM Contacts List, many of whom are interested in starting partnerships. Names of partner museums will be disclosed when projects are more formalized.
  • Increased use of glam@wikimedia.org email and the public glam@lists.wikimedia.org list serv: A number of individuals subscribed to the public list or reached out to us through the GLAM OTRS email system following the sessions.
  • Awareness of potential GLAM-Wiki US support network: Reached out to a number of leaders in museum field to gauge interest in a consortium of institutions that support GLAM-Wiki.
Specific networking outcomes[edit]
  • Online outreach and dialogue between 50 museum professionals and Wikipedians in the virtual session.
  • In-person outreach to over 50 museum professionals in the on-site panel.
  • One-on-one advisement and networking with dozens of museum professionals at the Marketplace of Ideas.
  • Networking with museum technology leaders at the MUSE awards and at other events.

Lessons learned[edit]

The GLAM-Wiki team goes over Q&As in preparation for the presentations.

Overall the planning, preparation, and implementation of GLAM-Wiki outreach at the American Association of Museums went very smoothly, considering the uniqueness of the grant request and the importance of the event. Each of the circumstances that did not go as smoothly were due to the administration of the AAM conference organizers and could not have been helped by the Wikimedia attendees. This included tight schedules with hearing about scholarship application results and issues with the registration fees that were appropriate for our attendees. In the end, Lori Phillips was able to sort out any discrepancies, and all it took was patience when dealing with the conference organizers. Another component that caused confusion was a mysterious transfer fee when disbursing grant funds to one of the attendees. It's important to know of any fees that may be incurred ahead of time so that they can be incorporated into the request.

Many things went well with the coordination of this outreach and the grant request. The group of participants were in clear communication over the course of the nine months leading up to the conference, and shared Google Docs and other forms of communication to ensure that everyone was on the same page. All participants shared all of their travel receipts with the grant request organizer, Lori Phillips, as they came in. This made it much easier to sort the receipts at the end of the conference.

When it came to the content for the presentation, Lori maintained a schedule for each participant to submit their portion of the talk, with time to compile them in a cohesive way. Lori facilitated the overall message of the talks and ensured that each presenter was not covering identical content. In the end, the presentation was broad in scope but specific enough in details, offering each Wikipedian in Residence as an expert on a particular aspect of GLAM-Wiki cooperations. Prior to the conference, the group had a video meeting using Google Hangout, allowing everyone to go over the content and became more comfortable with the overall presentation. We also met for an hour on-site at the conference, brainstorming our own Q&A's that may come up during the sessions. This proved invaluable, as it allowed us to fine-tune our messaging and agree on important points that we wanted to be sure we hit. We adapted the answers we discussed previously to those questions we received live during our virtual and in-person session. This allowed us to be even more effective with our time on stage.

Detail of expenditures[edit]

Participant Receipt # Date Actual cost Description Total
Sarah Stierch 1 1/29/12 356 United flight 356
2 - 225 Registration (student/early bird) 225
12 - 189 Hotel 1 night[1] 189
- - - Per diem [2] 292
Liam Wyatt 3 1/31/12 2088 Flight (Minus $1000 AAM scholarship.) 1088
4 1/31/12 1295 Hotel (x nights) (Only five days covered by grant.) 1048
5 3/18/12 335 Registration (International/presenter) 335
- - 180 Bank transfer fee / Remaining funds ($136) to cover cost. [3] 136
- - - Per diem 292
Àlex Hinojo
6 3/17/12 1259 Flight (Minus $500 AAM scholarship.) 759
7 3/17/12 335 Registration (International/presenter) 335
- - - Per diem 292
Dominic McDevitt-Parks 8 2/9/12 160 Flight: Southwest 160
9 2/2/12 150 Flight: US Air 150
10 2/22/12 856 Hotel 856
11 1/30/12 225 Registration (Student/early bird) 225
- - - Per diem 292
Grand total $7030
[1] Sarah roomed with Lori Phillips for most nights, but one extra night was covered by grant funds.

[2] Minneapolis rates (x75%): Meals & Incidentals core days: 53/day for 4 days | Meals & Incidentals first/last days of travel: 40/day for 2 days.
[3] The transfer of Liam's funds between Wikimedia and the bank had an unanticipated fee of $180. We are still trying to obtain a receipt or some level of understanding about this fee. In the meantime, the $136 left over budget will be repaid to Liam if this can be sorted. If it cannot be sorted by June 1, 2012, I will return the remaining funds to Wikimedia.

All costs are in USD.

Amount underspent/left-over (please specify currency)[edit]

A detailed budget of anticipated and actual costs can be found here.

As described on the Grant talk page, we had some updates in our anticipated budget. However, in the end this led to an even $7,030 as requested in the grant. There was no cost under- or over-spent. This is because Àlex received a $500 AAM scholarship that was not reflected in the original grant request. Rather than return this money directly to Wikimedia, we're proposing that it be used to remedy a number of discrepancies in the original budget, each of which is laid out in detail on the Grant talk page and on the Google Doc (link above).