Thoughts on Museum Success III: Numbers We Are Thankful For

Originally published in the Ackland’s Member E-Newsletter of 25 November 2014—the Thanksgiving editionthis is the third in a series of ruminations on how museums measure success.

In my considerations of how art museums should measure success, it is surely time to think about directly statistical criteria. But I don’t want to distract from the joys of Thanksgiving with extensive reflections on this, so let me just give you an appetizer of the kind of impressive numbers I’ll address in the next Member E-News in two weeks:

  • The Ackland is currently on track to see a 10% increase this academic year in the number of students and faculty incorporating visits to the Museum into their coursework, compared with last year’s record of 11,121which itself was a 10% increase over the year before.

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NEW! Sneak Peek: Glimpses into the Ackland’s Collections

Those of us working on digitally archiving the Ackland’s collections have wanted to share our progress for some time. We are in our last phases of production, and we have now:

• Produced over 12,000 master image files of artworks
• Joined those images with descriptive and technical information
• Loaded all completed records (approximately 6,000!) onto the Ackland’s website, for free and easy use by individuals worldwide!

Imagine looking through box after box and folder after folder of artwork every day for eight hours a day. It is both dazzling and tedious. You can’t perform these duties without having some images stick in your brain, so we will be contributing to the Ackland Art Museum blog on a regular basis to give you an idea of what’s going on behind the scenes.

DigiTeam_clrThere are three of us currently working under a grant contract to accomplish this project: Diane, a photographer who has been digitizing since Fall 2010, and Dana and Abby, two digital image technicians who joined the project in Fall 2013.

And we want to be clear: not one of us has ever had a formal Art History class. We are all simply art appreciators who will be sharing our favorites with you—and we definitely have some favorites! Each of us will be digging into our files to bring you glimpses of what we have the privilege of seeing every day.