It’s 2012: Is the Web part of your strategic plan yet?

February 13, 2012, 5:59 AM eastern by Rob Landry

The Web is so much a part of our lives today that we are virtually swimming in it.  It’s an essential component of communication these days.  And yet, some museums still don’t see consider it an important part of their strategic plan. 

I recently reviewed the strategic plan of a rather large museum-that-will-remain-nameless, and there was not a single mention of the Web.  No mobile, no social media, no sharing of content… or ideas. 

This isn’t an isolated incident.  In my experience, I’ve come across some institutions that aren’t thinking beyond the walls of their physical spaces.

I’m not yet sure why that’s that case.  Perhaps it’s cultural.  Many museum executives haven’t felt the need to use much technology in their personal day-to-day routine, and that this may carry over into how they perceive the importance of digital communications.

I can say one thing for sure – if your museum isn’t using interactive technology – Web, mobile, social – to connect with your audience, you’re putting your institution at a distinct disadvantage.  Audience demographics are changing. They are becoming more tech-savvy, and they bring technological expectations to bear when visiting your institution, its Web site (and mobile Web site) and any mobile apps you may (or may not) have created to enhance the visitor experience.

To be fair, many museums are doing an excellent job pushing the envelope in the interactive space.  The Walker Art Center’s new Web site, launched in December, is first-rate.  Rob Stein, CIO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, has been instrumental in pushing forth innovative initiatives like, a toolset for developing mobile tours.  And Nancy Proctor, head of mobile at the Smithsonian, has gathered a large number of useful mobile resources at 

So make sure your museum is using the Web as a focused, effective medium for outreach, for connecting with – and growing – your audience.

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